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UFO or not?

From UFO to Balloon: Did the US Air Force Waste a $400,000 Missile on a $100 Amateur Balloon?

An illustration of fighter jets chasing a UFO. Depositphotos.

On February 10th, an F22 fighter jet shot down an unidentified flying object (UFO) that was hovering over US airspace. However, it has recently been revealed that the object was likely an amateur balloon worth no more than $100. This incident came just days after the US Air Force shot down a Chinese spy balloon. The missile used to shoot down the amateur balloon cost over $400,000, leading to questions about the decision-making process of the US Air Force.

Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) have captured people’s imaginations since time immemorial. While many sightings are often dismissed as misidentified objects or hoaxes, some incidents remain unexplained. With the advancements in technology and the growing number of reported sightings, the study of UFOs has gained momentum in recent years. However, the potential dangers that UFOs might pose to airspace cannot be ignored. In some cases, UFOs have been reported to fly dangerously close to aircraft, which could result in collisions or other accidents.

Therefore, it is important to continue the study of UFOs and the potential risks they might pose to ensure air travel safety. With the growing interest in the subject, there have been significant developments in the study of UFOs, including increased research and technological advancements that aid in detecting and analyzing these mysterious objects.

Watch out for what you shoot at

With the above said, it is also important to know how to deal with the UFO phenomenon, which in the last few weeks has become a much talked-about-issue around the globe after the United States Government ordered the downing of several UFOs above the county’s airspace. Shooting at things we know nothing about is probably not a good idea. Not because UFOs are aliens, and we should worry because of an alien invasion, but because by shooting down UFOs we have not clearly identified can come at a great price, financially. Here is why.

On February 10, the United States detected a “high-altitude airborne object” over Alaskan airspace, days after a Chinese balloon crossed much of the North American mainland. Two F-22 fighters were dispatched to track down the mystery object. Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft joined the formation as the UFO crossed the international border into Canada. It quickly sparked calls between President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand. With authorized use of force, a US F-22 used an AIM-9X Sidewinder missile—worth $439,000—to shoot down the cylindrical object over the Canadian Yukon Territory on February 11.

A $100 balloon?

Now, it turns out that the F-22 might have shot down an amateur balloon worth no more than $100. In a blog post, the Northern Illinois Bottle Cap Balloon (NIBBB) Brigade showed that the last electronic check-in for its K9YO-15 Pico balloon was recorded at 12:48 a.m. on February 11 and over that same area where the F-22 engaged the alleged UFO. A spokesman for NORAD, the joint US-Canadian military organization, said they understand the FBI has spoken with the balloon club and they have no new information to provide. The blog of the Northern Illinois Bottle Cap Balloon (NIBBB) Brigade is offline as of writing.

Balloons, like the K9YO-15, are inexpensive; they cost around 100 US dollars. After the balloons are released, they expand as they rise, inflating until the Mylar wrap is pressurized. They stop ascending at altitudes where the density of the air is equal to the density of the balloon. Taking down such a balloon would be no easy task. In fact, Pico balloons are a tough thing to shoot down due to their extremely small size. As revealed by NIBBB, all the balloon lifts are a circuit board the size of a business card and two small, tissue-paper-thin solar cells.

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