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.
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.
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.