Edgar Mitchell is one of 12 people to have walked on the moon, so when the former NASA astronaut said in an interview with Britain's Kerrang Radio that he had "been briefed ... in certain committees and certain research programs" about aliens visiting the Earth, the story spread quickly to tabloids, conspiracy theory websites and video-sharing sites like YouTube. But now the story has spread into more legitimate media, and NASA is trying to contain it.

Mitchell, as it turns out, has been talking about this stuff for at least ten years, but this time around seems to have tapped into something of a thirst for conspiracy yarns. That's probably thanks to sky-high cynicism about the U.S. federal government and abetted by the growth in Web publishing and online social networking — heck, maybe the new X-Files movie even has something to do with it.

In any case, even the Reuters financial wire has now been drawn into covering Mitchell's allegations, as has the Discovery Channel. Mitchell told the latter an admiral confirmed at least some of his information following a meeting with the intelligence committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. NASA has even deigned to issue a denial.<//p>

Which means you'll have to take in this story at some point, so it might as well be in the two-minute video above.

[LiveLeak, Reuters]