The above video is undeniably unnerving. Claiming to be a recording of a live feed from the International Space Station July 9, it shows an unidentified object seemingly purposefully entering Earth’s atmosphere, before it abruptly stops and the feed cuts off. UFO conspiracy theorists everywhere are insisting that the video is further proof NASA is hiding aliens from the world and that it cut off the feed to preserve secrecy. But is that true? Probably not, and here’s why.
There are a couple of explanations for the dot that make a bit more sense than aliens finally revealing themselves to the human race. The first you’ve likely already guessed: It’s an asteroid or a large piece of space debris. Despite the image we have of space being a pristine silent world, Earth is a magnet for galactic crap both natural and man-made, with half a million pieces of debris circling the Earth. Something big enough for a camera to see is hardly unusual.
Some might argue its flight was a little too controlled and deliberate. But America is hardly the only nation in space. In fact, there’s a likely candidate for this particular image: Tiangong-1, China’s first space station. Interestingly, Western observers believe Tiangong-1 is coming down, either in a controlled descent that China hasn’t announced, or because Chinese authorities have lost control of their station.
Still, there is the question of why, precisely, the dot stops just before the feed cuts to a white screen. It’s undeniably a bit creepy to watch the dot come to a point and freeze as if somebody had pumped the brakes. But there’s also a perfectly rational explanation: NASA lost the feed. It’s difficult to stream video from space in the first place. Even a short distance from Earth means you’ll have a pile of time delays in video feeds, and the signal has to get through a messy environment full of radiation, noise, and other radio and video signals. NASA loses the feed quite often, just as a consequence of physics. And if you pay attention, it’s clear that’s what happened. Pay attention to Earth as the dot moves, and notice the pixels are constantly shifting. But when the dot freezes, everything else does too, a sure sign of a lost signal.
With apologies to UFO fans, it looks like this one is a simple technical error. But keep the faith, because we’ve proven aliens must exist. We just need to find them.