Has the International Space Station inadvertently caught sight of an "Interstellar" Space Station hovering nearby? Or is a blurry streak that UFO hunters have found in new NASA footage filmed out the window of the space station merely a window reflection? Let the most likely explanation win.
On Sept. 11, YouTube user danielofdoriaa posted footage from the ISS's live camera feed, which streams over the Web. In his annotated footage, he points out a faint, elongated white shape with a neat row of faint white dots next to it set against the blackness of space just below the curve of the Earth. It is an "amazing UFO mothership letting out an orb fleet on ISS live feed," the YouTuber explains in the video title.
That would be amazing indeed. However, ufologist Marc D'Antonio, chief photo and video analyst for an international organization called the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), has analyzed thousands of ISS photos and videos alleged to contain UFOs, and he says the faint white marks in this one are a common sight: They're reflections off of the window of the ISS.
"Basically when you're looking at any object, if there's a window between you and the object, the window is always suspect. Your first move in trying to identify the object is to try to eliminate that it's a reflection," D'Antonio told Life's Little Mysteries. [7 Things Most Often Mistaken for UFOs]
By his reckoning, this video doesn't make it past that first elimination round. For one thing, the object in question is in a different plane of focus from Earth, he said. A camera set to focus on maximum distance would capture both the Earth and any other faraway object in the same focal plane. This implies the white blur is actually not far away, but instead nearby: a reflection hitting the camera from the window inches in front of it.
Second, the fact that this object raised no alarm bells with the ISS crew or ground control suggests they've seen it all before. "It was simply assumed by the ground control folks that this was a reflection in the window, because most of them are," D'Antonio said.
And third, the use of a low-light camera positioned a few inches back from the window is a setup ripe for "picking up even the most subtle reflections on the window," he said.
So, after perusing countless similar photos and videos that end up having the same mundane explanation, what's the point of looking at yet another? D'Antonio believes in the possibility that UFOs have visited Earth, hence his involvement with MUFON. But in his search for evidence, he aims to separate the sheep from the goats.
"I think it's important to go through these, and to put aside the ones that we can say are very highly likely not the real thing. We need to let ET create the real thing for us," D'Antonio said. "I'm not a debunker, I'm just very hard on the data."