Written by: Liv Gilbert

Last weekend, the United States military shot down a balloon suspected to be part of a Chinese espionage operation. When the balloon was first discovered over the continental United States a few days before, the government of China stated that the balloon was a weather balloon that flew off course.

After the discovery of a potential second balloon above South America, a spokesperson from China’s “premier balloon authority” offered a new explanation for the balloon. In a video posted on Twitter, they said, “Everybody loves a memorable birthday party, and apparently somebody celebrated by building heavy-duty high-altitude balloons with cameras on them. We have learned that they used it to take a high-resolution infrared selfie of their party from 60,000 feet, and we apologize that it then floated over numerous military installations in the United States.”

Americans living in the path of the balloon had mixed responses to this new explanation on social media. Twitter user @balloon_enjoyer said, “This makes so much more sense! Going to buy one of these for my next birthday party!” However, user @under_where wrote, “Kind of skeptical about this whole birthday thing. Where are the candles? And what’s up with the telescope sticking out?”

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