Former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin sparked a firestorm of conspiracy theory on August 4th when he replied to a tweet from UFO Sightings Daily that asked about his opinion on extraterrestrial life and if he’d ever witnessed a UFO.
“I have not seen one in space or on the ground but thought I saw something organic/alien like floating out of the payload bay,” replied Melvin. “[Randy Bresnik] and I called the ground to ask what it could be and it was ice that had broken off of the Freon hoses. Translucent, curved, organic looking.”
I have not seen one in space or on the ground but thought I saw something organic/alien like floating out of the payload bay. @AstroKomrade and I called the ground to ask what it could be and it was ice that had broken off of the Freon hoses.Translucent, curved, organic looking👽
— Leland Melvin (@Astro_Flow) August 4, 2018
“Is it possible they lied and called it ice to calm you down and make u [sic] focus on the shuttle?” asked UFO Sightings Daily in response.
“Hmmm. Don’t think so but you never know,” said Melvin.
This exchange in particular has prompted conspiracy theorists to accuse NASA of yet another cover-up.
Hmmm. Don’t think so but you never know. 🚀
— Leland Melvin (@Astro_Flow) August 7, 2018
NASA has long been a target of conspiracy theorists, who have accused the space agency of hiding evidence of everything from alien spacecraft in our solar system to life on Mars.
Further confusing the issue is the fact that UFOs are indeed something the government takes seriously, as seen in the recent UFO disclosure from the Department of Defense prompted by To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science.
Because of this, Melvin’s tweet has been given a level of importance that might otherwise be lacking in what could have been interpreted as an astronaut poking fun at UFO enthusiasts on Twitter.
“I think Leland is winding up alien fans, and as suggested it was probably an ice formation he saw,” Nigel Watson, author of UFOs of the First World War, told the Daily Mail. “Fortunately, he didn’t test this explanation by going too close to it, otherwise it might have shot upwards to cling to his face and we all know what happens next.”
However, in this climate of disclosure, Melvin’s comments have people comparing him to former astronauts and known UFO believers Edgar Mitchell and Gordon Cooper.
Thanks for your honesty, Mr. Melvin. You join the esteemed Gordon Cooper, and Edgar Mitchell in your quest of finding the truth through unprecedented exploration, and having the courage to share it with the rest of us. And guess what? We really CAN handle it. Thanks again.
— Janie DeVos (@JanieDeVos) August 10, 2018
Melvin has since ceased responding to further inquiries on the Twitter thread.