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Earth imaging robot seen falling from Grant County sky

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Posted at 6:37 PM, Mar 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-01 23:19:09-05

GRANT COUNTY — An object attached to a parachute fell from the sky with a parachute on Wednesday.

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Was it a bird? A plane? A UFO?

According to the Grant County Sheriff's Office, it was an object owned by Near Space Labs out of New York City.

A Near Space Labs spokesperson confirmed to WRTV that the object is an autonomous zero-emission earth imaging robot called a Swifty.

They are used daily across the country to capture high-resolution imagery and geospatial data of the planet.

A Hendricks County man tells WRTV a Swifty balloon was launched near his home on Feb. 19. He saw people taking readings before the launch, which sounded like a hot air balloon.

Hendricks Co balloon

The man says the people left immediately after launching the balloon into the sky.

It is unknown if that is the same Swifty balloon that landed in Grant County.

Data from Swiftys are used by many types of businesses, including insurance, agriculture, utility companies and conservation groups.

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About High-Altitude Balloons