Utah government officials attempting to keep track of bighorn sheep populations came across an art installation, an ominous cult object, or a joke by a Stanley Kubrick fan, depending on the size and shape of your tin foil hat. Department of Public Safety surveyors discovered a massive metal monolith deep in the Utah desert earlier this week. 

The over 10-foot-tall structure was first spotted by a helicopter pilot helping to count said sheep. The man-made (?) object was planted in the rock and its metallic sides made it stand out significantly against the backdrop of orange rock. 

The state's Aero Bureau of DPS shared a photo of the strange object to their Instagram, in a post that has since gone viral. 

 

Helicopter pilot Bret Hutchings called it one of the strangest things he'd ever encountered, in an interview with local news station KSLTV. He shared his memory of the shocking moment that one of the bighorn-tracking biologists spotted the monolith from the air. 

“One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” Hutchings told the station. “He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘What?’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there—we’ve got to go look at it!’”

Hutchings believes it's probably an art project or the work of fans of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Twitter users seemed to agree with the latter.