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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

December 09, 2020

    (popularmechanics) - The U.S. Intelligence Community has known about the mysterious object for two years. What could it be?

    An unclassified image that’s reportedly been circulated among U.S. intelligence agencies shows what appears to be unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), the Pentagon’s term for unidentified flying objects. The object in the photo has been described by U.S. officials as silver and “cube-shaped,” according to a report from The Debrief, which first shared the image.
    The leaked photo dates back to 2018, when it materialized in an intelligence report from the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF), the Department of Defense’s (DoD) official unit that investigates UAP sightings.

    In August, the Pentagon approved the establishment of the task force as the first on-the-books government UFO program since a 2000s-era unit lost its funding in 2012. However, multiple sources confirmed with Popular Mechanics earlier this year that the unit remained active in secrecy after its shuttering. According to The Debrief, the UATPF has briefed government and military officials on UAP matters for the last two years; the newly surfaced image appeared in a report issued by the task force during that time.
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    The Debrief’s Tim McMillan, a contributor to Popular Mechanics, learned of the photo’s existence from a “defense official who has been verified as being in a position to have access to the UAPTF’s intelligence reports,” he writes. Three other government officials confirmed with McMillan that the photo, which was shared on a secure network used by the U.S. Intelligence Community, comes from a 2018 task force report.

    A military pilot reportedly encountered the object while flying over the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast of the U.S. in 2018 and captured it with their personal cell phone. It’s likely that a backseat weapons system operator on an F/A-18F Super Hornet took the photo of the object, which McMillan calls “inverted” and “bell-shaped,” and describes it having “ridges or other protrusions along its lateral edges, extending toward its base.”

    It’s possible the object may be a GPS dropsonde, a sensor on a parachute that provides info on the vertical profile of a storm. But as McMillan points out (and confirms with an atmospheric researcher), the actual dropsonde doesn’t appear in the photo—just the potential square-cone parachute. And there would obviously have to be an aircraft above the object to drop it, and no such craft is visible in the image.

    Is the object a research balloon? Probably not, two defense officials tell McMillan. “Pilots who encountered the object described that, unlike a balloon under similar conditions, the object was completely motionless and seemingly unaffected by ambient air currents,” he writes.


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