Balloons Bursting Our Boundaries

North America experiences high traffic with unwanted aircrafts.


Courtesy of Broadcast Media

In the last months, several mysterious aircrafts have been spotted flying over North America.

Mason Beister, Multimedia Division

China has had some serious boundary issues recently, especially when talking about the United States. Most people are already aware of the Chinese “weather balloon” that crossed into American airspace in late January. After observing the so-called “weather balloon”, it was discovered to be a surveillance balloon. 

The U.S. is not the only victim of these Chinese spy balloons; however, we are not going to take the intrusions lightly. The first balloon entered U.S. airspace over Alaska on January 28th. It remained in U.S. territory until February 4th when it was shot down by a U.S. fighter jet just off the coast of South Carolina. A couple of days before it was shot down, it was moving over the continental U.S. until it decided it was time to pick up the pace. The balloon seemed to have been moving at its maximum speed toward the east coast prior to being shot down. Upon further inspection of the balloon, it was discovered that it had multiple antennas that likely had capabilities for collecting communications and other sensitive information. The balloon had small motors and multiple propellers for mobility purposes and had a payload that weighed over a couple of thousand pounds. Final pieces of debris from the balloon are being taken to the FBI laboratory in Virginia for further research. 

Three more unidentified objects were shot down from February 10th to the 12th. Another high-altitude object was shot down off the coast of Alaska on February 10th, the next day, an unidentified flying object was spotted in Canadian airspace and downed. The U.S. military also grounded another UFO spotted in the Great Lakes region on February 12th. It is currently unknown whether or not the other objects are related to China or other attempts at surveillance. Due to weather conditions and lack of debris, the search for the downed UFOs was called off so we may never know exactly what they were. 

All of these foreign objects in American airspace in such a short period of time is concerning and a major issue for our national security. It is frightening that a simple weather balloon can drift into U.S. territory uncontested. However, I do believe that if there was an aircraft approaching the U.S. with bad intentions, the military would take care of it swiftly. It was slightly confusing that we didn’t shoot down the balloon sooner. However, after realizing that we waited until it was over the ocean, it made sense. The issue with waiting for it to be over the ocean is that it may show weakness and the balloon may have received whatever information it was seeking. As for the objects following the balloon, I think it is great that we took care of them before they got anywhere important. For future instances, I think it is in the country’s best interest to shoot down anything that is not clear for a flyover, especially when it is clearly for surveillance purposes.

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