back to article Mystery object falls from sky, area sealed off by military: 'Weather balloon', say officials

Simply nobody will be giving any credence to officials in America who have stated that a mystery object which fell from the sky this week - after which the surrounding area was evacuated and sealed off for some time by police and military personnel - was just a "weather balloon". Reportedly, large numbers of government …

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  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. web_bod

    Watch the news clip - it looks pretty weather ballooney too me, the payload looks a bit battered though.

    I guess "package", "wires" and "strange noises" flagged it as a possible bomb.

    1. AndyS

      I reckon they just used the standard US Air Force Aircraft Identification Chart:

      http://www.openminds.tv/wp-content/uploads/US-Air-Force-UFO-Chart.jpg

      1. Wzrd1

        Strange that one weather balloon or swamp gas sample wasn't included, the SR-71.

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      Yup balloon or something vaguely innocent but secret, say perhaps a darpa test balloon with a gsm or other radio for troops. I doubt it was ET :-) Although I'm sure if it was darpa they would love you to think it's ET.

      1. Wzrd1

        Doubt a device meant for the troops was dropped over the USA, where a war is not going on.

        Yet...

        The left-right thing is rather tense.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: flagged it as a possible bomb.

      No accouterments required. If a bag is sitting by itself in any public location for more than 5 minutes it is assumed to be a bomb. No proof required.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: flagged it as a possible bomb.

        Probably a military comms package being tested on a balloon. Maybe with an exotic power supply.

        1. Wzrd1

          Re: flagged it as a possible bomb.

          Every military comms device I've seen tested was dangled from a helicopter. Less chance of losing it, greater control, as helicopters don't float away.

          Of course, my experience is limited by a small sample size of a dozen classified devices being tested.

    4. Wzrd1

      They *do* send up a lot of weather balloons to measure high altitude things. When one comes down unexpectedly in a populated area, shades of a Japanese bomb from WWII come to mind, as a family was erased by one during WWII.

      Think even worse with a radiothermic generator, one really gets the hot and bothered look.

      But, many will assume an NSA balloon that replaces the dozens of satellites that blanket the globe or something even crazier.

    5. Ralph B

      Watch the news clip

      From what I saw, it looks like the results of a pretty typical UPS or FedEx delivery.

  3. rcorrect
    Alien

    Icon related.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    "One person told authorities it was making a strange noise."

    The way things are going this just means the person calling hasn't heard that noise on TV yet. Not in the library of Skywalker Sounds.

    1. Grave
      Alien

      "One person told authorities it was making a strange noise."

      lost in translation: "we come in peace"....

    2. NomNomNom

      It was whispering pleasantries

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        No, it was muffled "Exterminate! Exterminate!"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Let me out you bast*rds, let me out!

    4. Wzrd1

      I seem to recall some sonde units having an audio beeper to help locate the things.

      Remember sonde units? They hang from weather balloons that monitor all manner of weather data.

      Though, I'd not be surprised to see an NSA scrotum sniffer added on...

  5. Roger Stenning
    Black Helicopters

    Any mention...

    ..of Project Scoop was, of course, treated with extreme prejudice - I mean, contempt...

  6. HuwLewis

    One of our Playmonauts is missing?

    Has LOHAN gone AWOL? We should be told...

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: One of our Playmonauts is missing?

      Good point - are they sure the Playmonaut crashed into the Channel - or was his advanced craft beamed aboard an alien mothership where he spent the last few months bringing about galactic peace in the Kirk manner by canoodling with interstellar vixens; or was he probed into insanity by multitentacled horrors from beyond*?

      * for all our sakes let's hope it's the former.

      1. oolor
        Black Helicopters

        Re: One of our Playmonauts is missing?

        Surely a more terrestrial explanation can suffice:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA-240

  7. Thesheep
    Facepalm

    Hey need better copywriters...

    The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO. Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus

    1. StooMonster

      Re: Hey need better copywriters...

      Ignited by ball lightning?

  8. ChrisInBelgium
    Joke

    mmm

    I somehow have this urge to make strangely shaped mounds of mashed potatoes...

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: mmm

      Unfortunately the mashed potatoes won't work. this time the aliens want to hold their landing powwow at the Gherkin.

      1. toxicdragon

        Re: mmm

        Just remember a sponge for the blancmange

        1. toxicdragon

          Re: mmm

          spoon.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: mmm

        Even better, I now have a strange desire to eat at McDonalds and I always ask for extra gherkins.

    2. beast666
      Happy

      Re: mmm

      They peel them with their little knives...

      1. Andus McCoatover
        Happy

        Re: mmm - They peel them with their little knives...

        Bet very few got that smashing quote...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: mmm - They peel them with their little knives...

          I did ... though I think someone would need to do a mash-up to explain it to todays "youf"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Re: mmm

        Then boil them for 20 of their minutes.

        Then smash them all to bits.

        That reminds me that I was recently trying to explain to the members of my family my memories of a "missing" Smash advert that I couldn't find on YouTube or anywhere else. They go on holiday "They never have any good food on the Planet Zarg" or somesuch and they get the Smash confiscated at customs. The didn't believe me until I actually managed to find it somewhere. Those ads were so awesome. :D

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: mmm

          Is this the one?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLYNoejZcv0

          Kind of thinking it's over-rated...

          1. Andus McCoatover
            Windows

            Re: mmm

            Over-rated! God 'struth, man it was in 625-line, and colour at that! Luxury!!

            In view of the recent announcement that the Japanese have launched a playm...robot into space, the advert. was waaay ahead of its time.

          2. RAMChYLD
            Boffin

            Re: mmm

            Wait, Cadbury made mashed potatoes? I thought they only made chocolate!

            The stuff I missed out :(

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: mmm

      I have this urge to make mashed potato sculptures of Monica Bellucci.

  9. Anonymaus Cowark

    a ballon with an attached camera would explain the wires and the styrofoam (so the electronics won't get too cold)

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Byz

    it's...

    The new Google street view vehicle :o

    1. Parax

      Re: it's...

      Project Loon?

      1. Parax

        Re: it's...

        It's more likely a Space Data Corporation balloon .

        Surprised link had not already been made since it's mentioned here.

        1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Re: it's...

          Quite likely. But if they are testing a device for extending military communications, shouldn't they anticipate its occasional falling into 'enemy' hands.

          Over friendly territory, a sign requesting return to the appropriate authorities when found should be sufficient. No quarantines or evacuations required. If these things are ever used during a conflict, occasionally one will fall on the wrong side of the front line. If security is such a major issue, these things would be useless.

  11. Parax

    Was there a playmonaut aboard?

    'Strange Noises' isn't really a descriptive term, was it a locator beep, or a whirring fan mashed up with styrofoam?

    1. Annihilator

      Strange noise, perhaps meaning a gradually increasing:

      Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...splat

      ?

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Alien

        Feet of shining screw projected, when suddenly...

        The lid fell off.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Alien

          Re: Feet of shining screw projected, when suddenly...

          "Feet of shining screw projected, when suddenly... The lid fell off."

          The chances of it being anything like that are... pretty low.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The chances

            ....but still, they come!

  12. Marco Fontani

    Russel! Hey, Russel?

    They've found your teapot.

  13. Robert E A Harvey
    WTF?

    released from Where?

    Do they really expect me to believe there is a place called Wallop's Island?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: released from Where?

      Yes, been there and had a walk in the forest and found - a lighthouse!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: released from Where?

        I think I've worked out what the mysterious flashing lights which are eminating from the woods, are.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. TheDysk
      Happy

      Re: released from Where?

      "Do they really expect me to believe there is a place called Wallop's Island?"

      http://goo.gl/maps/qZTs3

      Right next door to 'Ballast Narrows' and just up from 'Womans Bay'.

      And not to mention 'Bogues Bay'. oops! sorry shouldn't have metioned that.

    4. AndrueC Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: released from Where?

      Do they really expect me to believe there is a place called Wallop's Island?

      It's well known to fishermen. They often find a load of cod there :)

    5. Qwelak
      Happy

      Re: released from Where?

      Why not, in Britain we have the towns of Upper, Lower and Middle Wallop. Not as good as North Piddle though

  14. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Norfolk is a big time military town. There's a decent chance that it legitimately was a weather balloon but may have been carrying a sensitive payload. (Weather balloons being used to lift all sorts of stuff into the air.) Alternately it could just be a crashed drone, which they would obviously be wanting to keep wraps on.

    *shrug*

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah come on, Occam's Razor people, there are about a thousand things it is more likely to be than a UFO, weather balloon, satellite, some kind of classified test aircraft, literally anything.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Even an alien spacecraft.

      2. Fink-Nottle

        If Occam was alive today ...

        he'd be the first to point out that until an object is actually identified it remains, by definition, an unidentified flying object.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Facepalm

          Re: If Occam was alive today ...

          Oh God, there's always one anally retentive arsehole who comes out with this. Are you a Linux user by any chance?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If Occam was alive today ...

            Personally I find people who assume UFO means Alien Spacecraft instead of Unidentified Flying Object are easily influenced and a little gullible... Are you an Apple user?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              FAIL

              Re: If Occam was alive today ...

              It's not assuming it means the same thing it's just not being an anally retentive knobhead who ignores common parlance so he can have an excuse to correct people. It's like how when you say 'Coke' you generally mean 'Coca Cola' and not Pepsi, even though technically you could mean both. Do you correct people on that one? You must be the life and soul of the party!

              I should've known the Linux comment would've got me downvotes though, this site is nothing if not predictable.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: If Occam was alive today ...

                I should've known the Linux comment would've got me downvotes though ...

                Funny, I thought you were being downvoted for calling the kettle black!

                1. Fink-Nottle

                  Re: If Occam was alive today ...

                  > I should've known the Linux comment would've got me downvotes though ...

                  You made a stupid, ill considered comment and were corrected. While I understand it's human nature to be defensive in such situations, I believe you were down voted for resorting to childish and unwarranted name-calling (c.f. house rules). I would remind you that incivility and personal remarks are seldom productive, and suggest you move on.

              2. NumptyScrub
                Trollface

                Re: If Occam was alive today ...

                quote: "It's not assuming it means the same thing it's just not being an anally retentive knobhead who ignores common parlance so he can have an excuse to correct people. It's like how when you say 'Coke' you generally mean 'Coca Cola' and not Pepsi, even though technically you could mean both. Do you correct people on that one? You must be the life and soul of the party!"

                Ad-hominem attacks should never be used if you are trying to assert you have a valid point, they do tend to immediately polarise the audience. Also, the generic term is "cola" not "coke", if you ask for Coke(TM) in a bar or restaraunt which serves Pepsi(TM), they are trained to specifically tell you that "I'm afraid we do not have Coke, we only serve Pepsi sir (or madam)". You need to ask for "cola" if you are happy with any brand of brown sugary effervescent beverage.

                And the reason for that is lawyers. Not Linux users, not spotty geeks living in their mums basement, but the suited up and well paid masters of all pedantry. Seriously, us geeks have nothing on the legal system when it comes to the practise of pedantry. :)

                1. Anony-mouse
                  Thumb Up

                  Re: If Occam was alive today ...

                  That was a nice polite answer your gave him, upvote for being nice.

                  If I had answered him I would have probably just called him an idiot. ;)

              3. John 110
                Thumb Down

                Re: If Occam was alive today ...

                Have a downvote for being whiny.

                And being the only person on the planet who doesn't refer to any brown sweet fizzy drink as "Coke"

              4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: If Occam was alive today ...

                > behaves like a monkey in heat

                > throws random insult

                > gets downvoted

                "this site is nothing if not predictable"

                I hope summer is over soon.

              5. Vic

                Re: If Occam was alive today ...

                It's like how when you say 'Coke' you generally mean 'Coca Cola' and not Pepsi, even though technically you could mean both

                Not so. "Coke" is a Registered Trademark of the Coca-Cola Company (it even says so on their advertising), and does not mean Pepsi, which has its own Registered Trademarks.

                I should've known the Linux comment would've got me downvotes though

                Indeed you should. Bigotry of all kinds tends to be downvoted here, and I for one am glad of that.

                Vic.

            2. HelpfulJohn
              Pint

              Re: If Occam was alive today ...

              I have seen UFO's, some decades ago in another country. I still have no idea what they were and there is no way to find out.

              I have seen *temporary* UFO's that I watched for a while until they resolved into landing aeroplanes coming at me head-on, not something I was used to seeing at the time. And others that were soon identified as bats, very large birds or even moths that were far closer than they at first seemed.

              I have also seen very large numbers of *Identified* "flying" objects, objects that were in the air, like aeroplanes, choppers, birds, grit, dust, feathers, balloons of all shapes and sizes, clouds, puffs of dust and smoke and the odd falling human with air-braking technologies. I have even seen Venus, Jupiter, aurorae and meteors, maybe even the occasional meteorite-to-be.

              So far as I am aware I have never seen anything alien apart from the meteoroids and the planets. But there are still those UFO's. I truly doubt any were alien spacecraft, but I have no proof they were not. I also have no proof they were not the chariot of Apollo but I'm fairly sure they were *not* that, either.

              Still, I *have* seen UFO's.

              I use MacOS, Windows, Unices and mainframes as the mood takes me or the task demands.

              I would really like to meet an observing team from an alien species with a superior technology. Maybe *they* could fix W8?

              (I still deserve one.)

          2. TkH11

            Re: If Occam was alive today ...

            If you ask the question if someone is a Linux user, then you're evidently not a serious nor highly skilled IT professional. How do I know? Been in the biz for a long time and used many operating systems and languages.

          3. HelpfulJohn
            Pint

            Re: If Occam was alive today ...

            Uhhhnn... it wasn't actually "flying". More like just lying around making noises and bothering folk.

            So "UFO" is a bad description. Perhaps just "UO"?

            I don't know about USAlien kit but UKlander weather balloons sometimes carried bits that measured stuff and made whirring, clicky clock-like sounds. Mechanical, wind-up instruments. Dunno if they still do in this age of electronic everything but they used to. These and other, quieter thingys were packed in styrofoam boxes and dangled from balloons the size of houses lofted by hydrogen.

            Those were easily identified as they had labels on them asking for the kit to be returned to the UKlander weather guys but they might have been thought of as Unexpected Dropping Objects, UDhttp://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/pint_32.pngO's, just before they hit the surface.

            Beer 'cos it's sticky, warm and Saturday and I think I deserve one.

            1. Vic

              Re: If Occam was alive today ...

              > it wasn't actually "flying". More like just lying around making noises

              That's not important.

              The technical description for many forms of aircraft is stil "flying machine", even when they're parked up on the ground.

              So it is with a Flying Object - it's still a Flying Object, even if it's not currently an object in flight.

              Vic.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If Occam was alive today ...

          @FinkNottle

          > he'd be the first to point out that until an object is actually identified it remains, by definition, an unidentified flying object.

          I'd like to add that by the time they identify it, it will be an "identified *non*-flying object". (Except for a few short moments if someone drops it while carrying it to the super-secret warehouse where these super-secret things are kept) [*]

          [*] I've seen the Indiana Jones films - it's all true I tell you.

        3. Annihilator
          Happy

          Re: If Occam was alive today ...

          "he'd be the first to point out that until an object is actually identified it remains, by definition, an unidentified flying object."

          Or in this case, it was an unidentified flying object, then became an unidentified falling object and is now an identified fallen object.

        4. C 18
          Meh

          Re: If Occam was alive today ...

          Therefore in this case it would appear that the story is about an 'Identified Lying Object'...

          1. C 18
            Coat

            Re: If Occam was alive today ...

            Oh look!

            If you take the 'fun' out of an UNidentified Flying Object...

            You get an 'Identified Lying Object'...

            I'll get me own goat...

        5. Johan Bastiaansen
          Angel

          Re: If Occam was alive today ...

          Except that in this case, it's an unidentified crashed object, isn't it?

          Or an unidentified formerly flying object.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If Occam was alive today ...

          > until an object is actually identified it remains, by definition, an unidentified flying object.

          Since it was found crashed on the ground, I posit that it should be classified as an unidentified non-flying object.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: If Occam was alive today ...

            UGWONWOS: An "unidentified ground-wallowing object (not walrus or seal)"

      3. Mephistro Silver badge
        Joke

        (@ murph)

        "there are about a thousand things it is more likely to be than a UFO"

        FYI, UFO means Unidentified Flying Object. This means that it's still an UFO for most of the public.

        At some moment in the future, the military will produce an statement making public the true nature of said object, e.g. "a weather balloon". That will automatically transform the artefact in a WIFO, that is, a Wrongly Identified Flying Object, as nobody ever believes a word of the official version in this kind of incidents.

        A tracking device for anal probes? A wide angular lens spy camera , able to spy on a whole city and it's inhabitants simultaneously? An automatic interstellar probe from Alpha Centaury? A party balloon from a high level government official? We'll never know for sure. But the truth is out there! :0)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Facepalm

          Re: (@ murph)

          Oh God...not again.

          Mephistro are you a Linu...

    2. oswdt

      Drone from China

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Drone from Pakistan...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          drone from google. Google skyview, now only can you explore the streets you can now fly through the sky!

          It's all part of the master plan to create a virtual 3d clone of our world for when the machines take over.

        2. lawndart

          wonders:

          Drone from Arbitrary?

    3. Don Jefe

      Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval base in the world is there. Norfolk is basically a military city. Odd things happen there all the time.

  15. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Thats some people with a slightly different obsession for the next 66 years.

    NT.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "One person told authorities

    it was making a strange

    noise."

    Who gave you this quote, E.J. Thribb (aged 17 1/2)?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I just assumed it was a very bad haiku.

      Have a thumbs up for mentioning one of my favourite poets though.

  17. Another User
    Black Helicopters

    Ridiculous

    It was apparently attached to a balloon. It was broken. How on earth did these guys think that this was something suspicious?

    One TV crew seems to make fun of the entire situation: ... some type of alien life form ...she wasn't off a rocker ... phone lines were even cut off... neighbourhood held hostage by this white box... a weather monitoring device.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It does actually look like polystyrene / Styrofoam.

    Sadly I don't think it's ALIENS this time Mr Rimmer.

    1. Alien8n Silver badge
      Alien

      It's cheap an effective. Not everything floating in space is made with an infinite budget*

      * Actually we tend to use the secret slave labour camps in China for those things, we've been outsourcing all our alien space tech to Foxconn for years, it's cheaper than running a factory on Alpha Centauri...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lame excuse

    That old chestnut again lol....You would think that in the 66 years since Roswell they would have come up with a new and better excuse!

  20. Great Bu

    Top Men

    Apparently the object is being investigated by Top Men.

    Who ?

    Top.

    Men.

  21. RISC OS

    Probably

    Some kid sending her barbie doll into space with a camera so that she have her 15 minutes of fame... so many kids doing this these days...once the first person gets sued by yanks becuase it falls on someone head and kills them this kind of thing will stop.

    1. daveake

      Re: Probably

      A foam box landing by parachute at 10mph is going to have trouble killing anyone. Even an American-sized foam box like that one. In the UK our flights are typically much, much smaller.

      In the UK there are around 50 amateur flights per year listed on the UKHAS site, and maybe the same again that don't appear there. The UK met office fly about 2000 per year, and they haven't managed to kill anyone either (worst they managed was breaking a greenhouse window).

      1. RISC OS
        FAIL

        Re: Probably

        You thinking only works if the parachute works, and that also nothing heavy falls off

        1. Tom 35 Silver badge

          It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses an Eye

          I'm not going to worry too much about a falling Styrofoam box.

          Much more danger of bits falling off buildings.

          Even hail and I'm not worried about that.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unidentified falling object

    We came looking for intelligent life.... oops we made a mistake.

    This will probably be some new surveillance drone spying on the masses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unidentified falling object

      "We came looking for intelligent life.... oops we made a mistake."

      A huge mistake - we went to somewhere called Norfolk.

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My theory.

    My theory.

    It was a weather balloon.

    With a classified military payload.

    They are probably experimenting with balloon-based radio for field communications to take the strain off of the overloaded sat system - it's not easy maintaining contact with troops in urban sprawl. Or it could be some new spy device - a balloon carrying a gyro-stabilised camera array. Balloons do tend to get blown around - it may have just escaped the test area and failed to respond to a 'emergency vent gas' command. So it blows around a bit, eventually makes landing when the gas leaks out, and in go the Men in Black to collect it.

    As for the robot... if you're making a balloon that needs to run for days or weeks, and don't have the space or weight budget for solar, how are you going to power it? I imagine an RTG could be made quite compact if you left all the shielding off.

    1. Mephistro Silver badge

      Re: My theory.

      " I imagine an RTG could be made quite compact if you left all the shielding off."

      I don't think that an unshielded RTG fits well with advanced electronics, not for long periods, anyway.

    2. Alan J. Wylie

      Project Genetrix

      is *so* 1950's

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Genetrix

      http://www.nrojr.gov/teamrecon/res_his-ConsidRisk.html

      http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app4/ws-119l.html

      http://steveblank.com/2010/01/28/balloon-wars/

  25. Michael 28

    Weather balloon

    Looks a bit big for a standard radiosonde... and Norfolk is a big naval base, despite downsizing.

    BTW... anyone see any r/l NCIS in those clips?

    1. Michael 28
      Happy

      Re: Weather balloon

      Also,:::: anyone order a Victoria sponge online from Shanghai?????

      http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2013/07/authorities-ground-shanghai-cake-drone/

  26. Adrian Jones

    From the WVEC article:

    "Authorities are investigating how it came down in the neighborhood."

    Gravity would be my first suggestion.

  27. Arachnoid

    Risk?

    On a serious not it could have had low level radioactive equipment on board.

  28. Zot

    There's a procedure for collecting satellite falls.

    And it goes something like, 'SHIIIT! There's thousands of these bloody things and we have no idea which one's have nuclear power cells. Seal off the area and send in the robots.'

    The truth may be scarier than aliens.

  29. NomNomNom

    My Theory

    Crab people

  30. john 103

    XKCD

    Obligatory XKCD reference here:

    Ah fugit -go look it up yourselves.

  31. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ
    Alien

    let me

    Let me be the first to to welcome our new balloon dropping overlords.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DONT PANIC

    Our Government will send over one of those vans that has a 'go home illegal immigrant' message on it - that's sure to get rid of the problem and, if it doesn't, Cameron and Co will tax it into oblivion.

  33. JDX Gold badge

    What is with the

    weird line

    breaks?

  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. xyz

    Thing that gets me is...

    if this happened on Tuesday why aren't the local Norfolk rags reporting anything. Stories about a fat chihuahua getting a home etc , but no news of anything to do with evacuations, robots and governemnt agents who found a weather balloon in town. Zip, nada. Not even a report about someone saying something happened in town that didn't happen. Odd

  36. nexsphil

    I actually like the "weather balloon" explanation

    Given the history of that extremely flaky explanation, it says clearly to those interested "alien/military shit", while allowing those disturbed by such things to stay with "weather balloon".

    After all, it can't escape the attention of any thinking person that a military exclusion zone is not required to recover a poxy weather balloon.

    1. Vic

      Re: I actually like the "weather balloon" explanation

      > a military exclusion zone is not required to recover a poxy weather balloon.

      It depends what's suspended beneath it.

      The recent LOHAN/SPEARS test turned up in the NOTAMs as a "weather balloon".

      Vic.

  37. Jim O'Reilly

    Alien balloon

    This weather balloon is clearly a close relative of the one at Roswell. Reporters need to check if it actually said "Take me to your Leader", and if the truck took it to the White House.

    Congress should ask NSA for a transcript of all the conversations at the site.

    The people need to know, so that the proper shrine will be set up at the site!

    There is a reality show planned for Fox TV already.

  38. Richard Joseph
    FAIL

    At some Space exploration unit on the homeworld of Alpha Centauri...

    .....Auric, you misplaced the decimal point when you photo-formed that hydro-plastic casing! You sent the intelligence gathering device to Earth with a case an order-of-magnitude too thin, and now it lies broken, having collided with what the Earthlings call a 'power-line'!!!

    Auric, you're only slightly less incompetent than those guy who buried Earth's 'Beagle' in the Mars desert....

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: At some Space exploration unit on the homeworld of Alpha Centauri...

      The sentence:

      Be designated undercover agent for 10'000 rotations in an area called the "UK" where protein uptake is fraught with danger, chemicals and heavy metals, weather patterns are anxiety-inducing and locals are on a level with the standard inhabitance of the cantinas found on common sand planets.

      Being in a particularly sadistic mood this rotation, we statuate that you shall man a one-person late-night kebab joint a bit south of something called "Thames".

      Thus it has been decided etc. etc. etc.

  39. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Public safety

    We need to keep the public from running out to inspect any bowl of petunias falling from the sky or they could be struck by the inevitable sperm whale.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey Batman....

    Do you REALLY believe those are pictures of what fell out of the sky? Give a reporter a picture and a 50, a few hints ("NASA", "Wallops Island") and you have your coverup story.

    Evacuate whole neighborhoods for a pile of crumbled Styrofoam, and you believe it? (how to paralyze America: just fly over dropping chunks of Styrofoam, and everyone flees for the hills).

    Nay, what really fell out of the sky was

  41. loneranger
    Alien

    It's a UFO

    Trust your government. They always tell the truth.

  42. Arachnoid

    D Notice

    Its a plant I tell you a plant.........no not the horticultural type the type of thing that someone does to distract you.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a theory

    Maybe someone built a high altitude radiation monitoring setup, one possible approach is multiple thin plastic tubes filled with the Penning mixture and electrodes, shared HVPS and counting electronics.

    The whole thing would be encased in foam which could end up quite large and disk shaped (!)

    Yes, the whining noise could have been a failing fan, locating speaker.

    A good way to tell a balloon is coming down is the continuous green light and/or beeping noises.

    AC/DC 6EQUJ5

  44. DanceMan
    Alien

    And if it had been an alien, first contact could have been:

    "Take me to your leader."

    And the reply, "Brzzzzztt"

    1. Montreal Sean

      "Don't taze me bro!"

  45. Sporkinum

    The Space Children..

    I just happened to watch this episode last night.

    http://mst3k.wikia.com/wiki/The_Space_Children

  46. Pav

    It's Thor's Hammer

  47. silent_count
    Alien

    The Truth is Out There

    The undeniable evidence:

    1) UFO lands in Virginia.

    2) I haven't seen a post from amanfrommars for a couple of days.

    There's only plausible explanation is that his rellies have come to visit.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: The Truth is Out There

      He did show up yesterday (Thursday) with much improved syntax and new, typically Southern US, colloquialisms. Perhaps the UFO was his sky-crane and it simply ran out of fuel over land instead of in the bay.

  48. Doug 3

    gov testing portable Beableboard clusters

    yes, a Beowolf cluster of Beagleboards but they used Boeing battery design and it caught fire. Ever hear the sound of melting plastic straws falling through the air? Seem the witness hadn't.

  49. JustWondering
    Happy

    Out of fuel?

    If beings were smart enough to travel across the universe(s), one would think they would be intelligent enough to give this festering pustule we live on a miss.

  50. This post has been deleted by its author

  51. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    I'm curious about the "unidentified government vehicle"

    They really don't know which government owns it?

  52. MatsSvensson

    Hopefully that jolly fat bastard will never bother us a again now.

    Thank you USA, good job!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Michael Moore was in the saucer?

  53. Feldagast

    Google balloon?

    http://phys.org/news/2013-08-google-balloons-internet-access-world.html

  54. AceRimmer1980

    ' initial contact with the landed object was handled using a robot'

    Klaatu, Barada Nikto..

  55. TkH11

    It's too big to be a standard weather balloon instrumentation pack. Meteorologists do use packages made from the same white expanded polystyrene (styrofoam to you yanks) to contain instruments but they are normally a lot smaller. Typically in a weather balloon there is a GPS receiver, RF transmitter, battery, sensors for measuring temperature, air pressure, humidity. The whole lot fits in to a small lightweight polystyrene box. The key design goal being to keep the price of the thing down (because most of them are never found, returned back to the organisation that released it), they'll often have an address tag with a return address in case it is found. The one in the video is far too big and complex in shape to be a standard weather balloon with a standard instrumentation pack, could contain additional sensors for some other purpose.

  56. Sebastian Brosig
    Boffin

    No one would have believed in the early years years of the twenty-first century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable.

  57. Emilio Desalvo
    Coat

    We want the opinion of an EXPERT!

    Interview the Playmonaut!

  58. jixer08

    Possibly related?

    http://www.usnews.com/news/newsgram/articles/2013/08/02/coast-guard-rescues-pilot-at-sea-following-mid-air-collision

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