The high-tech balloon developed by the CAS Institute of Atmospheric Physics.
(ECNS) -- A giant air balloon drifting in the sky and carrying meteorological research equipment is not a security risk or source of air pollution, according to a statement by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which owns the balloon.
Control of the balloon was lost on the afternoon of Sept. 25 after strong wind broke its mooring rope while it was being used for meteorological research in Jinan, East China's Shandong Province. By Wednesday night, it had not been found.
The equipment on the balloon will not cause air pollution or explode, the statement said, adding that the research data is not related to any secrets. In addition, the balloon poses no threat to people on the ground because it will descend slowly.
The giant balloon, in the shape of a whale, is about two meters long and one meter wide, an employee with the institute surnamed Chen told media on Sept. 27.
A notice released on Sina Weibo said people who provide clues regarding the balloon's location could be given a 4,000 yuan (1) reward.
The local meteorological bureau applied for aviation management approval to use the balloon, the statement said.
Zhang Mingying, a senior engineer with the Beijing Meteorological Bureau, told Chinese media it is a captive balloon, which are normally used for air and environmental monitoring. It is charged with helium, and the cost and maintenance of such a balloon is not expensive.
The flying of captive balloons must be approved by related departments, and their flight area is limited, Zhang said, adding that it is not a risk to airplanes.