Internet spots UFO in SpaceX explosion footage

Don't panic. Aliens aren't sending unidentified flying objects to trash our expensive rockets.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Enlarge Image

This is the flying object that has UFO enthusiasts all excited.

Video screenshot, red circle by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Sometimes real life isn't exciting enough on its own and people feel the need to embellish it with aliens. Some UFO enthusiasts saw footage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket exploding during a test-firing last week and kicked things up to sci-fi status with the sighting of a mysterious flying object.

The best footage of the rocket explosion comes from nonprofit video production company US Launch Report, which captured the video with a zoom lens from a safe distance away. The video has been viewed on YouTube nearly 5 million times since it was published on September 1. UFO speculation runs rampant in the video's comments.

The flying object is real. If you slow the video down, you can see a dark object flying across the screen starting at the right-hand side and moving toward the rocket where it sits on the platform. Then, the Falcon 9 explodes. Strictly speaking, the mystery object is indeed a UFO. It's unidentified. It's flying. It's an object.

59 Weird Objects Seen on Mars, Explained

See all photos

Some of the more extreme online theories suggest the object was the work of aliens or perhaps a drone attack. Here's a list of things that are much more likely: A bird. A fly. A frisbee. A far-off plane. The spirit of Elvis Presley incarnate. OK, maybe not that last one.

Personally, I'm on Team Bird and so is Mike Wagner, a producer with US Launch Report. Wagner tweeted this message on Sunday: "#SpaceX anomaly, apparently all the UFO folks have never seen a bird."

It's a good exercise to rewatch the video and count just how many "UFOs" appear both before and after the explosion. I counted more than 50 flying objects, most of which are very clearly birds in the distance, and some of which appear to be insects zooming around closer to the camera. That makes the UFO attack theory about as plausible as this chupacabra sighting.

(Via BGR)