An enigmatic, nearly 12-foot tall metal pillar found protruding from the ground in a cove of red rock Wednesday in the middle of the Utah desert has befuddled officials.
A team of biologists counting bighorn sheep came across the mysterious metal object in an undisclosed section of southeastern Utah.
They circled it before landing for closer inspection. What they found is something out of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” a metal monolith installed in an area of red rock with no obvious indication of who put it there, when or why.
“We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it,” pilot Bret Hutchings told KSL. “I’m assuming it’s some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big (2001: A Space Odyssey) fan.”
The pillar is in such a remote location that if people were to visit it, they would likely become stranded and need to be rescued, officials said.
“It is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you’re from,” officials said in a statement.
The Bureau of Land Management will decide if further investigation is needed.
It’s not the first time an art project has been found in a Utah park. Earlier this year, rangers at Zion National Park were investigating who removed six blue painted squares on rock formations.