When ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti started her approach to the International Space Station for the first time, nothing could have prepared her for what she was about to see.
As the peered out of the side window of the Soyuz spacecraft she witnessed something that only a few astronauts have ever glimpsed - the moment that the sun catches the solar panels on the ISS as night turns to day.
The result is an encompassing red glow that -- as you can see from this video -- is so powerful it bathes the Soyuz in a deep blood orange colour.
It's hard to imagine what that sight must have been like but in her first blog post, Cristoforetti does her best to put the moment into words saying:
"The enormous solar panels were inundated with a blaze of orange light, vivid, warm, almost alien. I could not help but exclaim something out loud, you can probably hear in the recordings of our docking."
One phrase there is interesting: 'Almost alien'.
So naturally Cristoforetti's comments have been taken literally with UFO Sightings Daily among others now reporting that the Italian astronaut had in fact witness an alien craft welcoming the astronaut to the ISS.
Of course the more likely reason is that she simply became overwhelmed at the sight and described it in the only way she could, as 'alien', as something that was not of this Earth.
To be honest the only thing we're curious about is seeing what she saw, whether it was aliens or not.Suggest a correction