A large, mysterious steel sphere has washed up on a Japanese beach, prompting mass speculation from locals and sleuthing netizens as to what the object may be.
After a passerby noticed the nearly 1.5-metre-wide sphere on Enshuhama Beach in the city of Hamamatsu this week, they reported the strange object to police.
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The Japanese television station NHK captured two police officers circling the sand-bound sphere in the initial inspection.
Authorities quickly sent a bomb squad to investigate the rusty, orangish sphere. After they blocked off a 200-metre radius around the ball, X-ray technology was used to scan the sphere and it was discovered to be hollow. The object also has two raised handles, meaning it had likely been hooked to something else.
Police are unsure what the ball is, though they have said it is not a threat. The sphere’s origin is unknown.
Local and internet sleuths alike have called the sphere everything from a “Godzilla egg” to a “dragon ball” from the popular anime of the same name. Others have speculated that the sphere may be a spy balloon or some form of espionage tech, as the U.S. shot down a large Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4. A number of other smaller objects have also been removed from airspace over Canada, Alaska and Lake Huron in recent weeks.
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The most likely explanation, however, seems to be that the sphere is a detached mooring buoy. Though usually floating, permanent objects, mooring buoys are used to secure vessels while in deep or shallow water.
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One unnamed local man told NHK that the sphere has been on the beach for some time now.
“That ball has been there for a month,” he said. “I tried to push it, but it wouldn’t budge.”
Regardless, social media users have had their fun speculating about the mysterious sphere.
Time will tell what the orb really is, as local authorities continue to investigate and study it.
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