Did the US Navy once shoot at Venus after mistaking it for a spy balloon?
After the Pentagon revealed that a sizeable Chinese spy balloon was spotted hovering over the northern US on Wednesday (31 January), they contemplated shooting the surveillance craft down. It turns out the US Navy experienced something similar decades ago - and did shoot at what they believed was a spy balloon. However, they were actually shooting at planet Venus. On Thursday (2 February), the US Naval Institute took to its official to recount the moment in time. In 1945, amid World War II, the USS New York (BB-34), a lead battleship, noticed a silver sphere floating above them in the sky, which they thought was a Japanese balloon bomb. The ship's captain ordered the crew to shoot it down, but none of the guns were able to strike it down. Before long, a navigator noticed they were shooting at the Morning and Evening Star. Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter People online were a bit shocked by the information, but didn't hesitate to make jokes. One person wrote: "Safety tip for the day. Don't attack Venus." "And thus began the Great American-Venusian War, all over a misunderstanding," another added. A third wrote: "To be fair, Venus didn't manage to score any hits either, so let's call it a draw." The US Pentagon had opted against shooting down the Chinese surveillance balloon that was over the country over concerns about debris. Brig Gen Pat Ryder, a spokesperson for the Pentagon, told NBC News that the US government is continuing to "closely" watch the "surveillance balloon." "Once the balloon was detected, the US government acted immediately to protect against the collection of sensitive information," he said. NBC further reported that the craft flew through the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, Canada, and Montana. Officials also noted that the craft was in the US air for a few days, and the military has "very high confidence" the craft is of Chinese origin. President Joe Biden also met with senior military officials on Wednesday to chat about ways to handle the suspected surveillance flight, NBC stated. The craft's exact whereabouts as of now are unknown. The Independent reached out to the Chinese embassy in Washington for comment. Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.