Space conspiracy theorists are accusing NASA of cutting a live stream from the International Space Station just as an unidentified object comes into view.
Theories began swirling on YouTube earlier this week after YouTube user Streepcap1 posted a video of the stream on July 9.
In the clip, a bright object is seen slowly falling into view, before the screen flashes that the there are technical problems with the feed. While Streepcap1 notes that the object may not be alien life, the user points out that the feed stopping is strange.
“This could well be a meteor or the like,” Streetcap1 says in the caption. “What made it interesting was the camera cut off when the UFO seemed to stop.”
So, just what is NASA hiding? NASA spokesman Daniel Huot told CNET, that the live feed was not deliberately cut. Huot said cameras mounted on the International Space Station are controlled automatically.
"The station regularly passes out of range of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellites used to send and receive video, voice and telemetry from the station," Huot told CNET. "For video, whenever we lose signal the cameras will show a blue screen or a preset video slate."
But people on social media aren't buying NASA's insistence that the feed wasn't deliberately cut. On Twitter, some noted that cutting the live stream was very "suspicious," while others just want to see the aliens NASA may or may not know about.
It didn’t take long for UFO enthusiasts to pounce.
Steve Kitcoff @SoloVoc
As "mysterious" UFO enters atmosphere NASA cuts live feed. For those of us who don't have blinders on alien races are here in abundance.
Clyde Lewis @ClydeLewis
Another UFO -- another feed cut --Another reason to question why NASA always has a problem with the neighbors.
The clip, which has been viewed more than 775,000 times, was picked up by such earthly news outlets as the Daily Mail, the Huffington Post and Fox News.
“SHOCK ALIEN CLAIM: ‘NASA cuts the ISS live feed moments after UFO appears,'” blared the headline in the U.K. Express.
Others suggested that the object may have been the Chinese space cargo Tiangong-1, which some astronomers fear “could secretly be hurtling towards Earth.”
“Did NASA shut down the ISS live feed for sinister reasons?” London’s Mirror newspaper asked.
Nonsense, says NASA.
“We have never seen UFOs in the popular sense,” a NASA spokesperson told Popular Mechanics. “The feed in question is the High Definition Earth Viewing experiment. Anytime the ISS has a signal, that feed is sending down video.”
And anytime the ISS loses that signal, the stream goes dark.
“The feed is not switched manually,” the NASA spokesperson added. “It’s all done automatically. There’s nobody at a control board. We used a space-based data relay network. It gives us a very good coverage area, but you do lose signal occasionally — anywhere from a couple of seconds to a couple of minutes. It varies from day to day.”
But that hasn’t stopped UFO hunters from accusing NASA of covering up evidence of alien life on the ISS live stream. In fact, such accusations happen pretty frequently.
In April, the same claim was made when a diamond-shaped UFO appeared to hover near the space station.
“As the UFO came closer and began to come into focus, the screen turned blue,” Scott C. Waring wrote on UFOSightingsDaily.com. “NASA always turns the screen blue if they see a UFO, in an attempt … failed attempt mind you, to hide it from the public.”
The same website has published recent reports of a UFO flying above New York City’s Freedom Tower and drone footage of a pack of possible mermaids off the California coast.