YouTube Screenshot

UFO Hunters Think They've Uncovered an Alien Conspiracy in Old NASA Footage

Not this again.

SCIENCE AF STAFF
24 NOV 2017
 

UFO enthusiasts are freaking out about a mysterious white object that has been spotted in old NASA footage. And despite the lack of evidence, alien aficionados are convinced they have discovered an unearthly object.

 

The video in question was taken by an astronaut on board the Endeavor space shuttle way back in May 2011. The clip takes place moments after launch and shows the extra fuel tank falling back to Earth.

While the footage was uploaded to the internet years ago, UFO hunters only recently noticed a white object flying by in the background.

A video from the YouTube channel UFO Today slows down the footage to give viewers a closer look. Towards the end of the video they conjecture, "Is this some sort of White Knight Satellite?"

For those of you too busy to follow UFO conspiracy theories, the White Knight satellite is a reference to an extra-terrestrial satellite that has supposedly been orbiting Earth for 13,000 years. And because humans are incapable of handling the truth, NASA has been covering up its existence and origin for decades.

This isn't the first time the elusive alien satellite has been "spotted." UFO hunters thought they found the Black Knight satellite in a 1998 NASA photo.

Black Knight Satellite croppedNASA/Wikipedia

But according to NASA, the mysterious alien satellite is just a thermal blanket that was lost during an EVA mission. Swing and a miss.

So is there any truth to this most recent claim?

 

Probably not.

Former NASA employee James Oberg has been debunking UFO conspiracy theories for years. In his search through countless alien spaceship sightings, he has identified three outer space phenomena that often trick the human eye.

"Our sensory system is functioning absolutely perfectly for Earth conditions," Oberg told Atlas Obscura.

"But we're still a local civilization. Moving beyond our neighborhood has been visually confusing."

Oberg explains most UFO sightings are likely super-high plumes, camera lens flares or space dandruff that our brains misinterpret as foreign objects.

Super-high plumes are swarms of particles that are emitted from the thrust of a rocket as it hurtles through space. From Earth, these plumes look like skinny streaks in the sky, kind of like an outer space version of the chemtrails conspiracy - and just as crazy. To UFO enthusiasts, these streaks look just like alien objects with shooting fire behind them.

On the other hand, lens flares appear like white spots that dance in front of the camera. UFO hunters claim these white spots are rogue satellites or alien space crafts. But Oberg says if these spots really are space shuttles, they would be zooming by so quickly they would only appear for a few seconds in the footage, kind of like two high-speed trains heading in different directions.

 

Oberg says if these objects remain in the frame, they are most likely bits and pieces from the shuttle itself. He calls these objects "space dandruff."

This seems the most plausible explanation for the mysterious object seen in the Endeavor footage. The object, which looks like a white sheet, seems to disappear and reappear several times in the footage. But far from being a work of alien magic, Oberg calls this "twilight shadowing."

A shuttle that is hurtling into space lacks a shadow because it does not have a surface to reflect itself on, like the ground or a wall. Because of this, Oberg says objects tend to disappear when they float into the invisible shadow of the shuttle.

"You can see things floating out of it and floating into sunlight," said Oberg. 

"They look like stuff that's coming up from beneath the clouds, or from beyond the edge of the Earth."

The description almost perfectly matches the UFO Today video.

No one from NASA has yet commented on the mysterious object. But if and when they do, it's likely they will have a much more scientific explanation than the White Knight conspiracy theory.