What balloons can do today

What is behind the alleged Chinese spy balloon currently flying over the United States? There may be some parallels to the balloons used for research today.

A shot of the alleged spy balloon over the town of Billings, Montana.

Larry Mayer / AP

A balloon has been hovering high above the United States for a few days. The American Department of Defense is alarmed. Because it assumes that it is a spy balloon from China. What exactly the balloon is supposed to spy on is unclear. In the satellite age, it seems rather anachronistic to rely on a surveillance method that had its heyday during the First World War. Like the New York Times reported, China has since denied that it is a spy balloon. Rather, the balloon is used for civilian research and has gone off course.

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