The airspace over the U.S. has been abuzz with activity following incursions from strange unidentified objects over the past two weeks—and President Joe Biden says they’re likely coming from private companies.
- On February 4, a U.S. Air Force fighter jet shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon that was caught floating across the continent from Montana to South Carolina, being recovered in the Atlantic Ocean.
- The U.S. then faced at least three additional incursions between February 10 and February 12, with three unidentified objects being shot down over Alaska, the Yukon, and Lake Huron—in addition to multiple airspaces being shut down by the Air Force.
- Following recovery efforts, the president addressed the issue in a Thursday press conference.
- He couldn’t affirm what these objects were but says the most likely possibility is that they originate from “private companies, recreation or research institutions” doing scientific research.
Why It’s Important
The space economy is one of the most innovative and expanding industries in the world, with the World Economic Forum calculating that it is currently worth $469 billion. The innovation and growth of private companies like SpaceX have spurred startups and firms to jump into the market, attempting to profit from science missions, commercial ventures, and space tourism.
The possibility that the four unidentified objects belong to private companies isn’t unlikely. However, there have been suggestions that they belong to China, the U.S., or represent an unknown alien civilization incursion into American airspace, in addition to several other countries that have reported similar objects.
The White House and the Pentagon have denied rejecting any possibilities regarding who these objects belong to, as no nations or corporations have taken credit for them to date.
“On the one hand, the administration is saying we don’t yet know what these last three objects are, and we don’t want to characterize until we recover them. But on the other hand, it wasn’t a threat. Both of those things can’t be true,” says Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)