Eastern Ky. residents not satisfied with Google's answer to flying object

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by Michelle Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 21, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 21 at 6:24 PM

(WHAS11) -- It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a UFO. That's what many people in Eastern Kentucky thought when they spotted a mysterious object up in the air a few months ago. Then an unexpected giant stepped in: Google. They told Wired magazine that the object in the sky was actually a balloon.  It’s part of a new initiative they call Project Loon. The goal is to give wireless access to everyone.

“Project Loon is the idea that you could create a network of high altitude balloons that float about 20 kilometers up and through this network we can give internet to the entire world,” Chief Technical Architect Rich DeVaul, said.

It's an interesting concept where the Loons work together.

“The balloons communicate with specialized antennas on the ground. So this antenna here points up in the sky and talks with this balloon. Each one of these balloons talks to their neighboring balloons and then back down to the ground station which is connected to the local internet provider,” DeVaul, said.

Not everyone is on board with the balloon. Astronomer Allen Epling said he disagrees with Google, mainly because he compared photos of the Loon with the object he saw in October of 2012.

“It would be hard to find any similarity between this object and the one that Google sent. Yet they're claiming that these 2 objects are the same,” Epling, said.

He said the timeline isn't right either. On Google's Loon website they say test flys began in June of this year. He saw the object last October--others he's talked to say they saw it as far back as two years ago. 

WHAS11's Michelle Arnold has more in the video above.

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