Growing awareness that there are balloons everywhere in the sky - Liberty

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Growing awareness that there are balloons everywhere in the sky

 

His NASA scientist in Antarctica prepared one of the 20 balloon launches for the 2013 science mission. NASA

The US would need many missiles for fighter jets to shoot down all radar warning balloons in US airspace.

There are always "thousands of balloons" in the sky, including those used by U.S. government agencies, the military, independent researchers, and hobbyists, according to high-balloon maker Kaymont. Consolidation Industries President Paul Fetkowitz said:

Fetkowitz and other experts explain some of the origins of what the fleet shot down over the United States, calling it a "high-altitude, slow-moving, low-radar cross-section object." States and Canada.

Since February 4, when the United States shot down a sizeable Chinese surveillance balloon reportedly flying about 12 miles high as it crossed the North American continent, federal officials have turned on radar and atmospheric tracking equipment. I turned it on. I've been trying so hard to be stronger and closer. Scrutinize the country's airspace. Balloon experts say the upgrade could create a paralyzing wave of false alarms.

A fighter jet fired at an object the size of a small car over Alaska on Friday. Pentagon officials said it was most likely a balloon. Over the territory, they attacked a cylindrical object smaller than Chinese surveillance equipment. An octagonal structure with hanging strings crashed into Lake Huron on Sunday.

According to Kirby, these three objects posed a threat to civil aviation but did not transmit communication signals.

"This is shocking," said Terry Deschler, emeritus professor of atmospheric science at the University of Wyoming, of the recent decline and intensification of tracking activity.

"I haven't heard of balloons in years," he said. "Now we are looking for flying objects.



A super-pressure balloon was seen with a telescope over Antarctica in 2008. Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility

Fetkowitz said he was concerned Washington officials were unaware of how crowded American skies were with high-flying balloons. He spoke of military and civilian activities.

The Japan Meteorological Agency alone launches about 60,000 high-flying balloons each year. They rise into the stratosphere, a layer of the planet's atmosphere that extends to a height of about 30 miles. The balloon used by the weather station is designed to rise to an altitude of 20 miles, far higher than any of the four objects he has detected in the last ten days.

Fetkowitz noted that Alaska, where a U.S. fighter shot down an unidentified flying object on Friday, has more balloon launch sites than any other state.

Fetkowitz said the Bureau of Meteorology's balloons collect data that protects jetliners from danger, allowing experts to predict the likelihood of storms. "Life safety is everything," he added.

Then there is NASA, which operates the program out of Palestine, Texas. Over the years, NASA has launched more than 1,700 large balloons over several months on scientific missions. Balloons fly up to 22 miles high, weigh up to 4 tons, and are about the size of 3 small cars. Some are equipped with sensors that check the ozone layer's state, protecting living things from the sun's ultraviolet rays.

A balloon industry expert said DARPA, the secret defense agency responsible for developing advanced technology, is experimenting with a new class of long-range balloons that will serve as communications relays on the battlefield. But agency spokesman Randolph Atkins said neither he nor his boss knew of such a project.

The United States is not the only country that frequently uses balloons. Many of the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization's 193 member countries and territories regularly fly stratospheric balloons in large numbers. Some of them are designed for long-term missions collecting data from around the world.

"There's no end," Fetkowicz said of the various balloons and programs.

Fetkowitz said the weather balloons launched by the National Weather Service were designed to detonate at their highest point into small pieces, not endangering wildlife below. But some weren't inflated enough to fly high enough to explode and could have been blown aimlessly by the wind, he added.

"A balloon launched in Denver may land in New Jersey," he said.

The use of balloons for scientific, commercial, and military purposes has faced criticism in the past. For years, environmentalists have stated that exploding balloons are falling to Earth, endangering natural landscapes, mainly marine life.



The wreckage of a science balloon washed up on a Chesapeake Bay beach in 2016. Marilynn Deane Mendell

"This is a big scandal," said Marilyn Mendel, a public relations consultant who criticized stray balloons' environmental impact for years. As an example, she cited a piece of a balloon she found on the beach in 2016. "The strings on these balloons are huge and long," she said. "This is an international issue."

Caymont Industries' Fetkowicz said the criticism prevented balloon users from speaking up and interacting with the public. "Many scientists have their heads down," he said, but they know they are "doing the right thing" for public safety.

The silence of balloon experts may explain why the owner of the crashed object is not known to have come forward publicly to discuss or complain about the incident, except in China. No. No, you can't.

Not all balloons are used strictly for scientific or commercial purposes. A strange thing happened, said Fetkowitz. That was when a customer used one of the company's balloons to lift a device that played Pink Floyd's album The Dark Side of the Moon out loud.

"We vetted our customers," he added. "We kicked people out. We don't want to work with people who want to send guns."

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