Elon Musk‘s space exploration company – SpaceX – launched its Falcon Heavy rocket on Friday night… and launched UFO debates in parts of America, as shocked citizens tried to work out what they were seeing in the sky. For many it looked like an alien spacecraft.
South African born and bred entrepreneur, Musk, took to Twitter to joke that it was a “nuclear alien UFO from North Korea”.
In reality, the Falcon Heavy is actually on a mission to take 10 satellites into space. It launched last night from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, from the same NASA pad as the Saturn V Apollo 11 moon rocket, according to Musk.
“It was 50% higher thrust with five F-1 engines at 7.5M lb-F. I love that rocket so much!” he tweeted. The max thrust at lift-off was apparently 5.1 million pounds or 2300 metric tons.
When one twitter user thanked Musk for “the hilarious alien debate that ensued between my family once we saw your rocket in the sky tonight”, the South African expat responded: “It was definitely aliens.”
Others joked it looked more like a UTI than a UFO. Others argued it looked more like “space sperm”.
Witnesses in California and Arizona said it appeared to be a ‘blue whale’ in the sky, and one joked: “It’s just Elon trying on the new Iron Man suit.”
There was also a debate over why the trail was glowing so long after the rocket had left. Apparently it was “forward-scattering” (rather than reflecting) the sun light from below the horizon.
Even famous TV show The X-Files chipped in to say: “We’re sending our top people to investigate the aliens…”
Last last night, Musk tweeted: “If you liked tonight’s launch, you will really like Falcon Heavy next month: 3 rocket cores & 3X thrust. 2 cores return to base doing synchronized aerobatics. 3rd lands on droneship…”
Nuclear alien UFO from North Korea pic.twitter.com/GUIHpKkkp5
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 23, 2017
— Casey (@cthorm) December 23, 2017
Literally hoped I was seeing a space sperm pic.twitter.com/MxwPx8kxQ3
— Dumi (@Its_Dumi) December 23, 2017
— Hayley (@datacurator) December 23, 2017
— The X-Files (@thexfiles) December 23, 2017
Falcon Heavy at the Cape pic.twitter.com/hizfDVsU7X
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2017