Update 02/14/2023: The White House has since said there's no indication the recent takedowns involved aliens. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre laughed off the suggestion on February 13, saying: "I know there have been questions and concerns about this, but there is no — again, no indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity — [laughter] — with these recent takedowns. Again, there is no indication of aliens or [extra]terrestrial activity with these recent takedowns."
The US military has shot down a fourth flying object over North American airspace in just two weeks. It’s currently uncertain what the latest object to be down was, but authorities say they’re not ruling anything out at the moment — not even extraterrestrials.
The airborne object was picked up on radar above Montana on Saturday, February 11, before being shot down on Sunday by an air-to-air missile launched by F-16 fighter jets over Lake Huron, according to the Pentagon.
It was seen flying at an altitude of approximately 6,096 meters (20,000 feet) and was deemed to pose a “hazard to civil aviation.”
The latest flying object has been described as an “octagonal structure” and has strings attached to it. It’s been said that the fourth flying object is different from the previous balloon shot out of North American airspace last week, but authorities will not definitively characterize it until they have analyzed the debris.
The military launched a task force to recover and study the object in the hopes of determining its origin and purpose.
For now, however, it remains a mystery. Speaking at a press conference, General Glen VanHerck, head of NORAD and US Northern Command, was asked whether there was any chance the aircraft was an extraterrestrial. He replied: “I haven’t ruled out anything at this point,” according to the Associated Press.
“I believe this is the first time within United States or American airspace that NORAD or United States Northern Command has taken kinetic action against an airborne object,” he added.
The saga began on January 28 when a Chinese high-altitude balloon was spotted in North American airspace. By February 4, the balloon was shot down off the coast of South Carolina. While China said the balloon was used for meteorological purposes and had simply strayed off course, the US and Canada asserted that the balloon was for spying.
Since then, three more aerial objects have been downed after entering North American airspace. A flying object described as a type of airship was brought down over the remote northern coast of Alaska on Friday, while a smaller balloon was shot down over Canada’s Yukon on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed.
In another strange twist to the tale, China has now accused the US of “illegally” flying high-altitude balloons into its own airspace more than 10 times since January 2022. There are also reports that China is preparing to shoot down an unidentified “object” flying above waters near a Jianggezhuang Naval Base in Qingdao.
This strange sequence of events has caused relations between the US and China to sour with a planned state visit to China by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, the first by a senior US diplomat since 2018, now postponed.