The saucer, pictured here, was the Genesis sample return capsule, part of a human-made robot Genesis spaceship launched in 2001 by NASA itself to study the Sun.
"Flying saucer" photo released by NASA as it revisits old project's demise NASA has reiterated its confirmation that a flying saucer crash-landed in the Utah desert in 2004 after being tracked on radar and pursued by multiple helicopters, but alas, it's not what ufologists might think.
While NASA's photo of the day sheds light on a "flying saucer's" crash-landing in a Utah desert from back in 2004, it's important to note that "no space aliens were involved" in this close encounter.
The spacecraft crashed after its parachute failed to open and took an unexpected "hard landing".
The first instalment of the mission was a success with Genesis collecting valuable data on the sun, solar particles and Earth's magnetic field.
As the return capsule was making its way back to Earth, its parachutes failed to open as planned, causing the unexpectedly hard landing, NASA said.
Despite coming down to Earth much more violently than expected, numerous samples the return capsule carried remained in good enough condition to study. This included unprecedented details about the composition of the Sun and the elemental differences between the star and the inner planets, as well as providing insights into the abundance of certain elements throughout our solar system.
The space agency says these results preserved from the Genesis have helped provide new details behind how the sun and the planets of our solar system originally formed.
Within three years, a series of papers were published on the Genesis findings. A fragment created by people robot who has been near the Sun and returned to Earth.