Credit: Unsplash

It is likely an art installation reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the film begins with a group of proto-humans stumbling upon an alien monolith on a rocky mountain. This monolith’s influence was implied to be what taught the proto-humans about the use of tools and forced their evolution. It was a distinctive, memorable piece of pop culture, which is why a group of public safety officers couldn’t help but stop and stare when they saw a similar sight.

Last Wednesday, a helicopter piloted by several officers of the Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau was aiding the Wildlife Resources department in an ongoing count of indigenous animals. As they were flying over the wilderness, however, one of the pilots, Bret Hutchings, heard a commotion from the back of the helicopter. When he asked what the problem was, one of the other officers pointed to a strange object sticking out of the red rock: a metal monolith standing about 12 feet tall.

“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 told CNN affiliate KSL. “We just happened to fly directly over the top of it.”

None of the officers have been able to determine where exactly the monolith came from, but have theorized that it’s likely an art installation placed by a local resident. In order to prevent a flood of onlookers, the exact location of the monolith has not been divulged.

“It is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you’re from,” the Utah Department of Public Safety said in a public statement on Monday.

The Utah Department of Public Safety is currently waiting for a decision from the Bureau of Land Management on whether or not the monolith’s presence warrants an investigation.