No. Kelly Did Not Capture A UFO!
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly's photo from space got UFO rumor mills furiously working last week. Conspiracy theorists claimed existence of lights of alien origin in the image. It turns out that the lights are parts of the International Space Station (ISS).
Kelly had posted an image taken over India on his 233rd day aboard the ISS, unaware it would become central of a week-long UFO rumor-mongering. The image shows a brightly lit India and a mysterious horizontal structure with lights that has been interpreted as a UFO.
"Scott Kelly likes to send out photos of the view from the windows of the space station...and they look cool. This one however has a cigar shaped glowing UFO with a metallic body in it. The UFO is about 25 meters long and 150-200 meters away. It looks like Scott was trying to hint at the existence of aliens," said a post on the blog UFO Sightings Daily.
Not everyone is convinced. Forbes carried a report stating that the most mundane explanation is part of the ISS that was captured in the foreground of the image and mistaken for an alien object. In most photos sent from the ISS, the space station is seen in the foreground, given its massive size. In the current photo however, a large chunk of the space station is bathed in shadow and the 'alien object' is seen as a distant UFO with lights.
"It probably isn't clear, but the little grey cylinder that kind of looks like an unlabeled tuna can is the HDEV*, or High-Definition Earth Viewing system, installed aboard the ESA's Columbus module," the report claimed.
ISS engineer Sam Treadgold later stated that the component is not the HDEV but UHF antenna on the Destiny Lab.