The sixth man to walk on the surface of the moon has made the astonishing claim that aliens came to Earth to stop a nuclear war between America and Russia.
Edgar Mitchell, a veteran of the Apollo 14 mission in 1971, told Mirror Online that top-ranking military sources spotted UFOs during weapons tests.
The astronaut has been outspoken about his belief in aliens ever since he landed on the surface of the moon, becoming one of the most prominent figures in the worldwide UFO community.
He told us military insiders had seen strange crafts flying over missile bases and the famous White Sands facility, where the world's first ever nuclear bomb was detonated in 1945.
Mitchell grew up in New Mexico near both the bomb testing zone and Roswell, where believers think one of the world's most famous UFO encounters took place. Edgar Mitchell: The sixth man to walk on the moon
"You don't know the area like I do, " he said in an interview with Mirror Online.
"White Sands was a testing ground for atomic weapons - and that's what the extraterrestrials were interested in.
"They wanted to know about our military capabilities.
"My own experience talking to people has made it clear the ETs had been attempting to keep us from going to war and help create peace on Earth." NASAApollo 14: Captain Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell's crew mate, stands on the moon
Mitchell also suggested he had heard similar stories from people who manned missile bases during the most tense parts of the 20th century.
"I have spoken to many Air Force officers who worked at these silos during the Cold War, " he continued.
"They told me UFOs were frequently seen overhead and often disabled their missiles.
"Other officers from bases on the Pacific coast told me their [test] missiles were frequently shot down by alien spacecraft.
"There was a lot of activity in those days."
NASA/ RR AuctionLunar: Edgar Mitchell on an moon walk in 1971
We asked Nick Pope, a former Ministry of Defence UFO researcher, whether he believed Mitchell's claims.
"Edgar Mitchell is an honourable and truthful man, who I've had the privilege of meeting, " he said.
"But so far as I'm aware, most of his information on this issue comes not from things he's experienced himself, but from things he's been told by others.
"Clearly, because of who he is, he's had access to government, military and intelligence community personnel at the highest level, but because - quite understandably - he won't name his sources, we can't be certain these people were being straight with him, or indeed that they were privy to any classified information about UFOs."
White Sands National Monument in New Mexico
Pope said the "idea that peace-loving extraterrestrials are here to warn humanity about our destructive ways" is popular with those who take a New Age view of the UFO phenomenon.
"It's a nice thought, but if I'm being sceptical, I'd point out that it's almost exactly the plot of the classic 1951 sci-fi movie The Day the Earth Stood Still, " he continued.
"There have certainly been some intriguing UFO sightings around nuclear facilities, and around military bases more generally, but an alternative explanation is that some of these sightings are attributable to espionage activity involving secret spy planes or drones.