TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A scientist with the NASA Scientific Balloon Program in Palestine, discussed the suspected Chinese spy balloon spotted flying over the U.S with KETK on Friday.
Ross Hayes’ job is to check the stratosphere and surface weather conditions to determine if it’s safe for NASA to launch and land their weather balloons from Palestine. For his work with NASA he’s traveled all around the world, including Antarctica, to launch weather balloons.
According to Hays, the Chinese balloon must have been launched from somewhere in interior China. An area of high pressure in the north Atlantic has moved the balloon across Russia, over Canada and down into where it was first spotted in Montana, Hayes said.
He thinks that the current weather conditions mean the unpropelled balloon might end up coming back west towards the Pacific as opposed to heading east like the wind would normally carry it at this time of year.
According to Hayes, hand-launched weather balloons launched by NASA normally pop after a reaching a certain altitude but balloons the size of the Chinese wont pop on their own.
Hayes said that, according to NORAD, the balloon is bigger than three buses, making it 100 times larger than a normal weather balloon. According to Hayes, the balloon appears to be carrying equipment that could be some kind of relay for data and not some kind of bomb.
The United States government currently is tracking the balloons journey across the country, according to AP.