In 2005, astronaut Leroy Chiao was commander of the International Space Station for six and a half months. During a spacewalk with cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov, the two were installing navigation antennas. They were 230 miles above Earth, traveling at over 17,000 miles per hour, when something unusual caught Chiao’s eye.
“I saw some lights that seemed to be in a line and it was almost like an upside-down check mark, and I saw them fly by and thought it was awfully strange,” Chiao told The Huffington Post.
Chiao’s fellow spacewalker, Sharipov, hadn’t seen the lights because he was facing the opposite direction.
This experience, recreated in the above video and image, launches “NASA’s Unexplained Files,” one of several programs presented as part of Science Channel’s week-long “Are We Alone?” series, beginning March 2.
A down-to-Earth explanation is offered for Chiao’s sighting: the bright lights of a fishing boat hundreds of miles below him. But is that the only possible interpretation of what the astronaut saw?
Astronaut Leroy Chiao contacted this writer to clarify the fishing boat theory about what he saw in 2005: “One minor point is that it wasn’t just one fishing boat, but a line of them strung out along the South American coast. That’s why it looked like five lights from the ISS.”
“I’m skeptical of claims that we’ve been visited by aliens from another planet or other dimension, but I don’t rule it out 100 percent. I have an open mind and I do believe there’s other life in the universe.
If there is life out there that’s so much more advanced than we are and they know either how to travel great distances in short amounts of time, or they’re able to come from a parallel universe into ours, why don’t they just come and show themselves?” Chiao told.