Spy Balloon

A bunch of balloons in front of a puffy white cloud with blue sky in the background.
Photo by Diya Pokharel on Unsplash

There has been a balloon floating over the US and Canada for the past week or so. Many are calling it a “Chinese Spy Balloon”. The Chinese are calling it a weather balloon. I’ve heard of weather balloons before. Spy balloons are a new one on me. Anyway, it was shot down today by US military jets.

I don’t have much to say about the Chinese possibly spying on us or the diplomatic kerfuffle that came from this incident. What I did find surprising, though, was the way they shot down the balloon. They used a sidewinder missile. To shoot down a balloon. That seems crazy to me.

What was the balloon made of? Was a missile the only thing that could have punctured it to let the helium out? I would’ve thought that a slingshot would be enough to pop a balloon. (I do understand that it was much too high to reach with a slingshot.) A missile just seems like overkill. Was the missile the only thing we could get high enough?

I guess I just don’t understand how popping a balloon turned into a whole military operation. Doesn’t the CIA have a drone or something that could have taken care of it?

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