The former NASA astronaut who served onboard the Space Shuttle Atlantic, believes the “curved” and “organic” object drifted out of the shuttle’s payload.
But after informing the US space agency of his peculiar discovery, he was told to dismiss the possibility of it being extraterrestrial and instead NASA told him it was just ice.
UFO enthusiasts who have heard the astronaut’s story have now suggested NASA may have tried to cover up a genuine extraterrestrial discovery.
Mr Melvin shared his experience online when UFO expert Scott C Waring of UFO Sightings Daily questioned him whether he has ever seen a UFO in space.
The NASA astronaut tweeted: “I have never seen one in space or on the ground but thought I saw something organic/alien-like floating out of the payload bay.
“@AsroKomrade and I called the ground to ask what it could be and it was ice that had broken off of the Freon hoses.
“Translucent, curved, organic looking.”
But Mr Waring pressed on, suggesting NASA may have lied about the true nature of the mystery object in order to stop the news from getting out.
He wrote: “Hey thanks for answering. Wow.
“I think ethics would say that your opinion of it being organic is more reliable than the opinion of someone on ground control over 400 miles away.
“Is it possible they lied and called it ice to calm you down and make you focus on the shuttle?”
Mr Leland did not outright deny they bizarre theory, but said: “Hmmm. Don’t think so but you never know.”
The astronaut also told another Twitter user, @CourtenayTigers, he was ready to utter the iconic “Houston we have a problem” but thought against it.
He said: “I was about to say Houston we have a problem but know everyone spins-up when those words are uttered from a space vehicle. Godspeed.”
A NASA spokesman has since denied the existence of extraterrestrial life in the solar system.
Spokesman Allard Beutel told Fox News: “NASA is exploring the solar system and beyond to help us answer fundamental questions, including whether we are alone in the universe.
“From studying water on Mars, probing promising ‘ocean worlds’, such as Enceladus and Europa, to looking for biosignatures in the atmospheres of planets outside our solar system, NASA’s science missions are working together with a goal to find unmistakable signs of life beyond Earth.”
To date, Mr Melvin boasts being the only person drafted into the National Football League to have flown in space.
The astronaut has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and a Master’s degree in materials science engineering.
Between February 7 and February 20, 2008, he boarded the 24th space shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
Between November 16 and November 29, 2009, the astronaut took part in the 31st NASA mission to the ISS.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, UFO expert Nigel Watson suggested Mr Melvin may have been simply humorously entertaining UFO enthusiasts with his tweets.
He said: “I think Leland is winding up alien fans, and as suggested it was probably an ice formation he saw.
“Fortunately, he didn’t test this explanation by going too close to it, otherwise it might have shot upwards to cling to his face and we all know what happens next.”
Source : EXPRESS