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Google claims responsibility for 2012 Kentucky UFO sighting

The strange unidentified aerial object over Kentucky. (Credit: Allen Epling)
The strange unidentified aerial object over Kentucky. (Credit: Allen Epling)

Amateur astronomer Allen Epling captured photos and video of a strange cigar-shaped UFO in the sky above Pike County, Kentucky in October 2012. And witnesses in multiple states reportedly saw the same, or a similar, aerial object. The sighting garnered widespread media attention. Weeks later, local media reported that the UFO was simply a toy solar balloon.

Many questioned the assertion that this UFO was a mere solar balloon, and people were left wondering about the object’s true identity. But apparently Google’s Rich DeVaul knows what it was. Wired reports, “Sitting in a conference room in Mountain View, California, he beams proudly as he runs a YouTube clip of one of the newscasts. The mysterious craft was his doing. Or, at least, the work of his Google team. The people in Pike County were witnessing a test of Project Loon, a breathtakingly ambitious plan to bring the Internet to a huge swath of as-yet-unconnected humanity—via thousands of solar-powered, high-pressure balloons floating some 60,000 feet above Earth.”

Google describes:

Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. They are carried around the Earth by winds and they can be steered by rising or descending to an altitude with winds moving in the desired direction. People connect to the balloon network using a special Internet antenna attached to their building. The signal bounces from balloon to balloon, then to the global Internet back on Earth.

Although Project Loon was just unveiled on June 15, 2013 at a press conference in Christchurch, New Zealand, the project has reportedly been in development for two years. So it is conceivable that what Allen Epling saw over Kentucky in 2012 was a Project Loon balloon. Google asserts that the Kentucky UFO remained aloft for eleven days, then wound up in Canada.

Epling himself acknowledged that the aerial object he observed could have been a balloon. But he also described the UFO as being stationary, hovering for two hours in the sky. Whether Project Loon balloons have the ability to hover in the same location for hours is unclear. Google does explain, however, that “Unlike weather balloons, Loon balloons are superpressure, which enable them to stay aloft for 100+ days at a time. This is far longer than typical weather balloons, which last for a matter of hours. Loon balloons are also unique in that they are steerable and entirely solar powered.”

Jason McClellan

Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.

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  1. Very strange, coming out a year later! On google news and web search! But it does look inflated. Google could of said nothing.

  2. The Google Glasses must have affected the Loon guy’s vision. The Loon balloons are spherical, the solar balloon is cylindrical; Loons have a payload package hanging underneath it, solar balloons don’t. The Project Loon guys must have started a new project called Google Crack.

  3. I would very much like to see some photos of the Google balloon and payload close up, to see how it compares to images from the ground.

  4. Considering Jet streams and thermal winds, I don’t see any way a balloon such as Google’s alleged “LOON” could remain stationary for 2 hours, and then simply fade from sight altogether.

    But one has to assume stranger things have happened, and the “LOON” could conceivably have moved very slow so as to appear immobile. However on the other hand, keeping it within a telescope lens with any consistency would mean it’d have to be fairly still.

    In the end, as one poster aptly put, we need comparison imagery from Google’s balloon project, both on the ground and in practical use. I do have to wonder at that altitude if Google secured the necessary permission to have such a large object in air traffic areas. If they did, then someone knew what people were seeing. And if someone knew, then why didn’t someone answer the question and put it to rest?

    All very curious and I don’t mind saying still somewhat suspect. More information is needed from Google about their project.

  5. Scientists and engineers have been using balloon server transceiver antennas for years. Nothing new. Smart scientists even use them as home antenna.

  6. Makes plenty of since…..Its a project by Google so Google can manipulate any results you Google about it.
    OK…its at 60,00 -100,00 ft and an airliner cruses around 30,00 – 38,000….that thing must be the size of a football field if it could be seen with the naked eye…
    I thought if you launched something that big and that high you would have to contact the FAA or some agency to get approval….all those agencies were asked at the time of the spotting, if they knew anything about it. Nobody knew anything.

    however that does sound like Government intelligence…..0%

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