Mysteries surround what exactly was the downed US jet over Alaska

The question remains a day after the US government said it shoot down A high-altitude object the size of a small car along the coast of northeastern Alaska Friday afternoon.

Efforts to recover the object by the Navy, Coast Guard and FBI are underway, but officials had yet to identify its owner or purpose on Saturday.

Related: China’s ‘spy balloon’ awakens the world to a new era of warfare at the edge of space

The object was flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet, about the same height as a commercial aircraft, and was traveling at approximately 20-40 miles per hour before it was shot down. Officials say the object was flying over parts of Alaska and was headed for the North Pole before it was shot down. US radar first identified the object’s presence around 9:00 pm Alaska time on Thursday night. A US fighter jet finally shot it down at around 1:45 pm on Friday.

Joe Biden Easy told reporters On Friday afternoon, the president said the removal of the object was “successful” but did not provide further details.

At a White House press conference on Friday, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the US military had unloaded the object “with great care”. It deemed the object a threat to civil air traffic and ordered a temporary closure of Alaskan airspace.

Officials said the object was unmanned.

The destruction of the object in Alaska came after a tumultuous week of the Biden administration, which ordered the military to shoot down a high-altitude balloon from China over the Atlantic Ocean on February 4.

Authorities have yet to release a detailed description of the object that was moving over Alaska, other than its size, altitude and speed. Still, authorities have speculated on the nature of the object in various reports.

one official said ABC News The object was “cylindrical and silvery-grey”, giving it a floating “balloon-like” appearance with “no propulsion.” new york times The object shattered into pieces when it hit the frozen sea.

After the Chinese balloon was shot down, images showed what appeared to be debris of material when it was hoisted from the sea.

Pentagon Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters On Friday, officials said they had “discovered a significant amount of debris so far, which has proven useful in further understanding the balloon and its surveillance capabilities.”

From size comparisons by authorities, the object that was flying over Alaska appears to be much smaller than the Chinese spy balloon. The balloons identified were described as being the size of two or three buses, rather than small cars like the object over Alaska.

The Alaskan object was also flying at a lower altitude than the 60,000-foot Chinese balloon. This is much higher than the level of commercial aircraft.

Republican Senator Lisa Markowski from Alaska said: NBC News On Friday, she said she was concerned about the threat posed by objects in state airspace.

“Frankly, the front line of defense is Alaska,” Markowski said. “If you intrude into Alaskan airspace or Alaskan waters, you must act.

“We need to send a message and be clear and clear that we will not tolerate this.”

The appearance of a Chinese balloon over the United States has caused a rift in the tense and delicate relationship between Beijing and Washington. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken delayed It would have been the first visit to Beijing by a top American diplomat since 2018.

Blinken said the reconnaissance balloon was “an irresponsible act, a clear violation of U.S. sovereignty and international law, and undermines the purpose of this trip.”

Chinese officials have apologized, claiming the balloon was a “civilian airship” used for weather research that veered off course due to its limited autopilot capabilities and that the intrusion into U.S. airspace was unintentional. There is

Meanwhile, U.S. officials To tell The balloon was equipped with equipment that could intercept communications and determine its location.

A senior State Department official said Thursday that it was “apparently for information surveillance and inconsistent with the equipment on board for weather balloons.” “There were multiple antennas, including arrays that could likely collect communications and determine location.”

U.S. officials say the balloon was part of a fleet that has been used for intelligence gathering in more than 40 countries on five continents. They claim the balloons have intruded into U.S. airspace at least three times during Donald Trump’s presidency and twice during Biden’s presidency.

Despite the technology carried by balloons, the Pentagon said balloons would not give China intelligence-gathering capabilities beyond existing technologies such as satellites.