A monolith has arrived in Utah, cue 2001 Space Odyssey music?

Image credit | Sergey Nivens/bigstockphoto.com

The monolith that some helicopter pilots found in the Utah desert is causing amusement and bafflement in equal measure. What on Earth is it, we ask.

The Utah wildlife program was helping count bighorn sheep in the middle of nowhere (well, just West of there actually) when they came across this monolith. They flew over it, did that comedy double-take, yelled ‘go back, go back’ a lot, landed and found all 12 feet of it, minding its own business in the middle of what is basically a desert.

They were spooked enough by the monolith to agree that if one of them suddenly disappeared, then the others should run for it.

It looks convincing enough, apart from rivets that are visible, but the real question is ‘what is a monolith doing in the middle of the desert?’

The most popular theory at the moment seems to be that it was put there by an artist. One with a sense of humour and one that has little or no drive to be discovered. The place is so remote that the chances of finding the monolith were close to zero. So, someone was playing some long odds.

Another theory is that it was put there by (bored) super fans of the seminal film, 2001, a Space Odyssey and, of course, the news has relit that particular flame.

Perhaps it was put there by the same people who designed crop circles and had us fooled for many years, believing that they were either alien paintings or signals, or some freak of nature, created by magnetic currents in the earth.

There is, of course, the small but compelling possibility that the monolith was indeed put there by aliens. If so, it is comforting. They obviously have a sense of humour, which must be good. They decided not to put it on the White House lawn, which is probably also good and they obviously didn’t make it too spooky or spookily magnetic so that the pilots’ hair would go wild as they approached.

One amusing side note in this intriguing episode is the reaction of the Utah Land Management Service, a body obviously not open known for its exciting lifestyle, who said ‘it is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on public lands “no matter what planet you’re from.”

Let us hope we do not get too bogged down in bureaucratic red tape when aliens do arrive. It would be embarrassing to have to explain away a parking ticket to someone who has come all the way from Betelgeuse.

If this monolith is not planted there by aliens, and there is an outside chance that it isn’t, let’s be honest, you do have to wonder what signs and signals they might leave, to gently make us aware that ‘we are not alone’.

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