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Alien spotting: Eight space theories you won't believe other people believe

In an age of social media and renewed interest in space exploration, 2014 has been a good year for speculative alien and UFO spotting. Crave's Eric Mack has some of the year's craziest "evidence."

Who's that visiting the ISS? Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET/NASA

By now we can agree that we are living in an era of constant and ubiquitous surveillance. While that's not great if you value privacy, it's sure useful for those who like to keep an eye out for signs of E.T.

Not only does the NSA keep its eyes and ears on seemingly everyone, but we as a modern species are also surveilling beyond our own planet, from telescopes atop volcanoes and in space, from robots on Mars and circling a comet, and from aging probes roaming the fringes of our solar system.

As most of these efforts are publicly funded scientific missions, the resulting data and photographs are also available to the public, creating an unprecedented smorgasbord of images for UFOlogists and conspiracy theorists to pore over in search of evidence of alien visitation, ancient astronauts and the cover-ups that have kept them from school textbooks so far.

The past few years, we've been covering the amazing voyages of Rosetta, Curiosity and the astronauts aboard the International Space Station, among others. But we're constantly passing over the near-weekly emergence of a new theory or bit of "evidence" culled from the data sent back by these missions that we are not the lone intelligent beings to have spent time in this solar system.

That's because we've yet to see anything very convincing (although this " jelly doughnut" sure was entertaining), but that doesn't mean it isn't fascinating to look into what other folks out there believe. I've pulled together the eight most interesting or bizarre new theories and purported evidence of alien visitation from the sun to the ISS and Mars. And yes, there's even one about the secret alien base spaceship comet where the Philae lander is currently napping.

Check them all out in the gallery below.