NASA has shared new photos of a “flying saucer” that crash-landed in Utah 14 years ago.
The wreckage, which was left partially buried in the middle of the desert from its plunge to Earth, was a sample return capsule from the Genesis spaceship that launched in 2001.
NASA posted the photo Sunday as part of its “Astronomy Picture of the Day” gallery.
“A flying saucer from outer space crash-landed in the Utah desert after being tracked by radar and chased by helicopters,” the agency captioned the picture. “The year was 2004, and no space aliens were involved.”
The saucer landed near Granite Peak in a remote area of the Utah Test and Training Range.
Genesis had been circling the sun and collecting solar wind particles that are “usually deflected away by Earth’s magnetic field,” NASA said.
Many of the samples were able to be analyzed despite the crash landing.
“So far, Genesis-related discoveries include new details about the composition of the Sun and how the abundance of some types of elements differ across the Solar System,” NASA wrote. “These results have provided intriguing clues into details of how the Sun and planets formed billions of years ago.”
Genesis crashed due to a design error — the spacecraft’s parachute failed to deploy because of switches that were installed backward, Scientific American reported in 2004.
That sent the entire craft careening into the ground at more than 186 mph.