Objects shot down by the US not alien spacecraft, says White House
After a flurry of takedowns of mysterious objects in the U.S. airspace over the weekend, White House officials have now said that there was 'no evidence' that demonstrated that any of these objects were alien spacecraft, Space.com reported.
A fortnight ago, the U.S. Air Force took down what it claims was a surveillance balloon belonging to the People's Republic of China, a charge that the Asian nation has denied. China has claimed that the balloon was on a civilian mission and had drifted into U.S. airspace by accident. Following the incident, the U.S. Air Force has further shot down three additional objects but has not disclosed their origins.
Not an alien craft
The secrecy maintained by the U.S. military about the objects it has taken down over the weekend has now raised suspicions about their origins. This thought gathered more steam as China also reported a mysterious flying object near its port city in the north.
Although the Pentagon and the White House remain tight-lipped about the details of the likely origins of the spacecraft, they have cleared the possibility of them being non-terrestrial. During a media briefing on Monday, the White House press secretary also said that the objects downed recently differed from the spy balloon taken down earlier.
Unlike the spy balloon flying well above the jetliner zone at about 60,000 feet (18,000 m), the craft taken down on Friday cruised at 40,000 feet (12,000 m), posing a threat to civilian aircraft. This was a significant factor in why it was taken down.
All three objects were observed to gather basic information, and there were some commonalities among them. All of them were smaller than the spy balloon spotted earlier, and none were transmitting information, even though they might have been collecting intelligence data.
The objects could not maneuver themselves since they did not have propulsion capabilities, the White House added. More details about the objects may become available once the debris is recovered, which appears challenging since the craft landed either in the rugged terrain in remote areas or deep waters of Lake Huron.
While the object shot down on Friday was the size of a small car, the one taken down over Lake Huron was likely much smaller. The F-16 dispatched to shoot it down found it difficult to target it with its gun or radar-guided missile, CNN reported.
Instead, the AIM-9X Sidewinder was used due to its capability to see the heat contrast between the target and its surroundings. However, the first missile fired missed the mark. It remains unclear what happened to the missile, though.
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