Giant Mystery Ball Washes up on Beach. "Monster Movies Usually Start Like This"

Experts finally figured out it was a buoy.

Authorities in Japan were confused about a giant metal ball that washed up on a beach in Hamamatsu City, saying they have no idea what the sand-colored globe might be. Made of iron and five feet wide, officials were concerned it could be a weapon of some sort, and dispatched a bomb squad to examine the mysterious orb. After ruling out any suspicion it could be a bomb, authorities are no closer to understanding what the object actually is. Here's what we know so far, as just now, authorities uncovered what it is

Giant Hollow Ball Found On Beach

BBC News

According to Asahi TV, the ball was spotted by a local woman taking a walk by the shore earlier in the week. Covered in rust patches, the ball has been resting there for a while. A man who runs on the beach doesn't understand why the ball is suddenly getting so much attention. "It's been there for a month," he told public broadcaster NHK. "I tried to push it, but it wouldn't budge."

The Ball Has Been Moved

BBC News

Authorities X-rayed the ball and ruled out any possibility it could be a weapon. There is no evidence that the ball is linked to spy activities by China or North Korea. The ball has since been moved from the beach, with officials saying it will be "stored for a certain period of time" then "disposed of".

Relieved the Work Is Over

BBC News

Many locals are relieved the mystery ball has been removed. "I think everyone in Hamamatsu City was worried and curious about what it was about, but I'm relieved that the work is over," a local official said to Japanese media. The discovery of the iron ball follows recent events where suspected Chinese spy balloons have been spotted in the US and other parts of the world.

Is It a Stray Mine? No.

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There were concerns the ball could have been a stray mine, but experts say it doesn't seem likely.  "It could be confused for a World War 2 mine … but those would have spikes sticking out of them," says Prof Mark Inall, an oceanographer at the Scottish Association for Marine Science. Inall does have his own theories about what the ball could be…

Is It Just a Stray Buoy? Yes!

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Inall says he knew the ball was a buoy instantly. "It's very recognisable," he told the BBC. "We use (them) to keep instruments floating in the ocean." Inall's opinion is shared by many people online. "I can't believe officials from a country surrounded by ocean don't recognise a ball buoy," one person tweeted. "OMG! It's a steel mooring buoy people. I'm embarrassed to be Japanese," said another. Hamamatsu's local civil engineering office agrees, saying it "considers it to be a foreign-made buoy."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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