Something strange is happening in the US: local media are full of reports of unidentified flying objects that appear here and there over the territories of the States or at its borders. Combat fighters take to the air, and the versions sound very different: from an absurd accident with Chinese weather balloons to a covert alien invasion. “Parliamentary newspaper” studied the news from across the ocean and made the most realistic picture of what is happening.
A series of disturbing incidents began in late February. Then the US Air Force shot down “a domed object the size of two school buses” over the Atlantic Ocean, which had previously been drifting in the air currents over the state of Montana for several days. Responsibility for the “air guest” was assumed by China – in the Celestial Empire they said that US pilots were dealing with a meteorological probe that “has gone off course.”
On February 10, another similar object was shot down near Northern Alaska. On February 11, the third “lost probe” hit the sight of US fighters – it was found over the Canadian Yukon, about 160 kilometers from the US state border. Well, the last incident occurred on February 12 – this time, the operation to neutralize the “alien” unfolded over Lake Huron in Michigan.
What these objects are is still unknown. Only the first one was identified, and even then with a not very high degree of probability – that same ill-fated supposedly “meteorological probe”. In the wake of strange news, completely absurd versions began to leak into the media: for example, according to Reuters journalists, US Air Force General Glen VanHerk, answering a question from journalists whether unidentified vehicles could have extraterrestrial origin, said that “so far he cannot exclude anything” .
However, according to experts interviewed by the “Parliamentary newspaper”, the invasion of aliens can not be afraid yet. But you should not believe in the version about weather balloons either.
“What is a weather balloon anyway? – tried to explain the scientific director of Roshydromet Roman Vilfand. “This is a ball of a strong shell filled with some kind of light gas, for example, hydrogen or helium. The probe itself is fixed on the balloon, which captures various meteorological parameters, and then transmits using radio signals to a receiving device on the ground.
According to Vilfand, the probes, of course, do not fly strictly vertically – wind currents can indeed carry such a research ball for many kilometers from the launch site. However, all such devices have a very short lifespan – usually after two to three hours (a maximum of six, and then under almost unbelievable circumstances), the probe shell filled with light gas breaks, and communication with it disappears. At the same time, the first unidentified object, according to local media reports, drifted over the territory of the United States for several days. And the Alaskan guest of the Ministry of Defense was tracked for 24 hours before being shot down.
“Therefore, in my opinion, the version of weather balloons in this case is completely unrealistic,” concluded Roman Vilfand. – On the other hand, there is, of course, a lot of other meteorological equipment, from special Doppler radars to geostationary satellites. But I can’t imagine under what circumstances and how the same satellite could fly over America at such heights, and even for so long, I can’t.
• Zakharova called the US actions against the Chinese probe hysterical
The engineer-mathematician, corresponding member of the Petrovsky Academy of Sciences and specialist in orbital space systems is in solidarity with this opinion. Sergey Kuzikov. “Most likely, the Americans encountered the so-called free-flying balloons,” the expert noted. “Moreover, judging by the announced number of solar panels, which carry very serious equipment with high energy consumption.”
Such balloons, according to Sergei Kuzikov, are used for remote sensing of the earth. They are able to transmit all the collected information to the owners in real time via satellite communications and allow observation with an accuracy that is not possible with a similar spacecraft that rush over the surface of the planet at a speed of eight kilometers per second. Why is such precision needed? Well, for example, to “notice” places and areas not covered by air defense systems.
By the way, from the 50s to the 80s of the last century, automatic drifting balloons were launched many times by the United States itself – they flew over the territory of the USSR, performing aerial reconnaissance.
“Such probes can take photographs and videos of extremely inaccessible, and therefore extremely interesting, territories,” Kuzikov continued. – In general, high-altitude jet streams are arranged in such a way that when such an apparatus is launched from China, it has, in essence, one and only way – to America. But if we take a closer look at the situation with the “probes” shot down over Alaska, we will see that in the case of them, high-altitude currents made a so-called casting loop – and allowed the “probes” to fly over very interesting territories on the western coast of Canada. And then – to descend to low latitudes and drift over the territory of the United States, slowly and in detail scanning the continental regions inaccessible to study by orbiters.
Can such a probe pose a real threat? In theory, argues Sergei Kuzikov, maybe. Of course, we are not talking about the threat of high-altitude bombardment – for this, devices that do not have any control mechanisms and that drift at the will of the wind are a priori not intended. But we can recall, for example, the Fu-Go project of the Second World War, when in 1944-1945 Japan launched balloons with land mines with a tailwind towards the United States – however, out of nine thousand, a maximum of a thousand flew to the American coast, and officially recorded no more than three hundred arrivals – the imperial command even considered the possibility of using bioweapons in this way: stuffing bombs with fleas infected with typhus, cholera or plague. Here, greater accuracy is no longer needed – a large coverage area is needed, which a device flying at an altitude of a dozen or even more kilometers just allows to provide. But the Japanese did not have time to implement these plans.
“In general, this technology is far from new,” Kuzikov concluded. “In the USSR, there were even special high-altitude jet aircraft designed to intercept such balloons – for example, the M-17 Stratosphere, capable of flying and performing combat missions at an altitude of more than 21 kilometers.”
Let us recall that neither the American nor the Chinese authorities have commented on the situation with the three unidentified vehicles yet – in order to draw any conclusions, you first need to get their wreckage and carefully examine them.