It’s a bird! It's a plane! It’s… a spy balloon?

The Concordia Courier


By Indi Ebo | 2/24/2023

Over the last month, there have been multiple sightings of unidentified flying objects in our skies. The first sighting occurred on Jan. 28, north of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. The unidentified objects have drifted across the U.S., and our nation wants to know why. 

One of the sightings has been confirmed to be Chinese intelligence. Described as a “spy balloon” and flying over 60,000 feet in altitude, this massive balloon is comparable to the size of more than three school buses. The first balloon was brought to military officials' attention once it entered Alaska’s airspace. It then traveled through Canada, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. The balloon’s capabilities and main objectives are still unknown.  

The spy balloon was brought to President Joe Biden’s attention which resulted in the decision to terminate the balloon. The spy balloon was shot down on Feb. 4, six miles off the coast of South Carolina by a F-22 fighter jet. It landed in the Atlantic Ocean. This is only one of the four UFO’s downed by the U.S. military in the last few weeks. The other UFOs are not confirmed to be sent from China but also resemble some sort of spy aircraft. 

All of this commotion in the sky raises many questions as people turn their eyes heavenward and wonder, “What exactly is up there?”

Professor Mike Hoffert, who has been teaching astronomy here at Concordia for the past nine years gave some insight on the recent phenomena.“The spy balloon sightings across the globe really don't surprise me,” Hoffert said, “Nations throughout the world are continuously monitoring one another in various ways whether they are friend or foe. It is like playing a world wide chess game in which you are always gathering information on your opponent.” 

Hoffert added, “In recent years highly trained military fighter pilots have seen, monitored and recorded encounters with UFOs.” 

Strictly speaking, UFO stands for unidentified flying object. Though it’s easy to get imaginative and start thinking about E.T., Goot and Spock. 

According to White House press secretary Karine-Jean Pierre, who spoke in a briefing, “I know there have been questions and concerns about this, but there is no—again, no—indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns. I don’t think the American people need to worry about aliens, with respect to these craft. Period.”

Aliens and spaceships may have been ruled out of the equation regarding the recent UFOs in the sky, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. “There are some phenomena in our Earth's skies that no one can explain with the technology that mankind possesses,” Hoffert said. 

So next time you look up into the night sky, feel free to ponder the question, “Are we really alone in this universe?”   



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