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UTAH LAKE — It's said that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on our entire planet. Many believe it's nearly impossible that we're alone. But are aliens among us? A video shot on the surface of Utah Lake has some saying it shows extraterrestrials are here, and hatching a plan.
For humans, the lure of the unknown is irresistible. Stonehenge, the pyramids, Roswell, New Mexico: the unexplained calls to us.
Utah Lake covers more than a quarter of the Utah Valley, and it's been there far longer than we have — water's rested there for tens of thousands of years. It's an ancient lake, where the unknown could lurk just below the surface.
A video posted by Jason Nilson on YouTube has puzzled minds across the globe. It shows small spongy objects laid out in a circular pattern, which seem to have melted straight through the solid ice.
One mind has taken quite an interest in this video: the mind of Tatiana Svrckova Larsen, an adjunct professor at the University of Utah.
"I believe there's probably life other than ours," she said.
A voice in the video says they may be "alien eggs," an idea that spawned speculation across the Internet.
"I was really surprised after three years," Svrckova Larsen said.
She knows the secret behind these "alien eggs." It turns out, they're not the first wave of an extraterrestrial invasion. She knows the secret because she's an art teacher, and the "eggs" in the video were the result of an assignment she made in one of her classes.
"I encourage my students to take their art outside the traditional gallery spaces," Svrckova Larsen said.
Claire Lewis was a student of Svrckova Larsen back in 2013, when she was teaching at BYU.
"This is like kid's Play-Doh," Lewis said, while removing some leftover "eggs" she kept in a plastic bag. "I just got flour and salt and water."
Her assignment was to create a public art installation, which she made on the frozen surface of Utah Lake. She was to use repetition and incorporate "body residue," which she accomplished by pressing the "eggs" in the shape of her hand. The video showing her art was posted back in 2013, but didn't gain traction until recently.
"The point of the project was to make people think, which it did, so I guess that's all I really wanted," Lewis said.
She thinks the salt in her tiny pieces of dough began melting the ice. Three years after that cold winter day, Lewis was shocked to find her art took on a life of its own.
"I couldn't believe how many things people came up with. 'Like, look at this second in the video!'" she laughed, remembering a comment she read online. "'You can see an eyeball!'"
The truth is sure to disappoint some of the online speculators, but the art paid off for Lewis.
"I got an A," she said.
As for Svrckova Larsen, she's enjoyed reading about her student's alien eggs. And while we all love a good mystery, this experience has made her wonder.
"This example of people finding this piece, thinking it's alien, it makes me think some of the sightings might be also fake," she said. "People see things that are not actually what they think they are."