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International News: Mystery surrounds objects shot down by U.S. military

Posted: Monday, February 13, 2023. 7:58 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: What are the three “flying objects” shot out of the skies over North America in the last week, including one on Sunday?

Many have made guesses, according to the BBC, but no one is willing to talk, including the U.S. military, who say they are not sure about what these objects are or how they were able to stay aloft. One military commander said it could be a “gaseous type of balloon” or “some type of a propulsion system”, but was not ruling out the possibility of extra-terrestrials.

Whatever they were, the latest one was shot down on the order of President Joe Biden due to concerns it could have interfered with commercial air traffic. The latest, an unmanned “octagonal structure” with strings attached, was taken down on Sunday afternoon over Lake Huron, Michigan, near the Canadian border.

A suspected Chinese spy balloon was downed off the coast of South Carolina on 4 February after hovering for days over the U.S. Officials said it originated in China and had been used to monitor sensitive sites. China denied the object was used for spying and said it was a weather monitoring device that had blown astray. The incident – and the angry exchanges in its aftermath – ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Since that first incident, American fighter jets have shot down three further high-altitude objects in as many days. President Biden ordered an object to be shot down over northern Alaska on Friday; on Saturday, a similar object was shot down over the Yukon in north-western Canada.

Both the U.S. and Canada are still working to recover the remnants, but the search in Alaska has been hampered by Arctic conditions. “These objects did not closely resemble and were much smaller than, the [4 February] balloon and we will not definitively characterize them until we can recover the debris,” a White House National Security spokesperson said.

Detection of the most recent objects could result from widening the search from radars and sensors. “We have been more closely scrutinizing our airspace at these altitudes, including enhancing our radar,” said Melissa Dalton, an assistant secretary of defence.

An official told the Washington Post it was like a car buyer unticking boxes on a website to broaden the parameters of what can be searched.

Other countries are watching the response in the US closely, in case an object is discovered in their airspace. In the UK, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his government would do “whatever it takes” to keep the country safe.

 

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