4 things to know about the Chinese spy balloon

Doesn't look like a 'weather balloon'

The Chinese government has stuck by its claims that the balloon was not used for espionage but rather for meteorology research.

The Chinese government stated Friday that the balloon, which is said to be up to three buses long, is a "civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes" and that it "deviated far from its planned course" because of the wind. 

However, the U.S. government claimed it was a "high altitude surveillance balloon" disguised as a weather balloon. 

Experts in meteorology contend that they have never seen weather balloons that look or act anything like the balloon that was downed Saturday. 

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Jonathan Porter, the chief meteorologist at Accuweather, told Time that weather balloons don't travel long distances. 

"This has been traveling at a much longer distance than what would be these standard weather balloons. They go up over one particular place and up to about 50,000 feet in the atmosphere, and then that's it, they're done," Porter said. "They don't travel large distances, so I think that there's pretty significant differences between typical weather balloons and this reported balloon."

Alexandra Anderson-Frey, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Washington, told the outlet that weather balloons that are launched twice per day from the Weather Service offices are "just a little box that has a temperature sensor, relative humidity sensor, pressure sensor and then a little tiny transmitter."

"Based on the photos that have been going around, there's obviously a lot more equipment on this one," Anderson-Frey stated. 

The Department of Defense has warned about an additional Chinese spy balloon currently in Latin America.

"This is not the only [People's Republic of China] surveillance balloon operating in the Western Hemisphere," a senior DOD official said at a press briefing Saturday. 

"We assess that a balloon was observed transiting Central and South America, and that that is another PRC surveillance balloon. These balloons are all part of a PRC fleet of balloons developed to conduct surveillance operations, which have also violated the sovereignty of other countries," he added. 

The DOD official also indicated that "over the past several years, Chinese balloons have previously been spotted over countries across five continents, including in East Asia, South Asia, and Europe." 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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