This File Photo Dated April 22, 1986 Shows An Aerial View From Over Arlington, Va Of The Pentagon, Headquarters Of The Us Department Of Defense. The 29-Acre Building Was Dedicated On January 15, 1943, Nearly 16 Months To The Day After The Groundbreaking. (Photo By USAf/Getty Images)

The Pentagon is testing surveillance balloons

By Matthew Brooks

The Pentagon is testing surveillance balloons to track people.

The purpose of the balloons is to curtail drug trafficking and threats to homeland security.

These unmanned balloons float 65,000 feet above the surface of the Earth.

The balloons float well above commercial flights, typically topping out at 38,000 feet. The altitude is still well below the line where outer space begins, at 328,000 feet, called the Kármán Line.

In a filing made for the Sierra Nevada Corporation, the company says the balloons can “provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats.”

The balloons carry sophisticated video equipment.

An expert in drone technology says the balloons are referred to as “combat TiVo” because surveillance footage can be rewound to see what happened, who was involved, and where they came from.

The expert, Arthur Holland Michel, is the co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College in New York. He said, “What this new technology proposes is to watch everything at once,” according to The Guardian.

The Pentagon is running the balloon tests over South Dakota and portions of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Illinois.

 

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