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    HomeWorldWhy Balloons Are Now in Public Eye — and Military Crosshairs

    Why Balloons Are Now in Public Eye — and Military Crosshairs

    Why Balloons Are Now in Public Eye — and Military Crosshairs

    (AP) — Wafting across the United States and into the attention of an alarmed national and global public, a giant Chinese balloon has changed Americans' awareness of all the stuff floating in the and how defense officials watch for it and respond.

    President Joe Biden said Thursday that the U.S. is updating its guidelines for monitoring and reacting to unknown aerial objects. That's after the discovery of a suspected Chinese spy balloon transiting the country triggered high-stakes drama, including the U.S. shootdowns of that balloon, and three smaller ones days later.

    Biden said Thursday that officials suspect the three subsequent balloons were ordinary ones. That could mean ones used for research, weather, recreational or commercial purposes. Officials have been unable to recover any of the remains of those three balloons, and late Friday the U.S. announced it had ended the search for the objects that were shot down near Deadhorse, Alaska, and over Lake Huron on Feb. 10 and 12.

    In all, the episodes opened the eyes of the public to two realities.

    One: is operating a military-linked aerial surveillance program that has targeted more than 40 countries, according to the Biden administration. China denies it.

    Two: There's a whole lot of other junk floating up there, too.

    A look at why there are so many balloons up there — launched for purposes of war, weather, science, business or…

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