A gardener on Google Earth discovered a picture of a US Air Force stealth aircraft during a mid-flight and the image went viral.
Although it is one of the most potent, stealthy, and destructive aircraft in the world, the B-2 was captured while crossing the fields of Missouri simply with an internet connection.
The roughly 52-meter-wide B-2 Spirit stealth bomber plane - costing nearly $ 2 billion - can sneak past enemy air defense systems leaving the same mark on radar that a small bird would leave, but it can also sneak past enemy air defense systems. Be seen in Google Earth as long as you have an Internet connection.
"It's quite funny, you have a stealth bomber flying over a farmer's house, in his field, it looks like he's a duster," said the host of My Garden Channel, a YouTube channel that is generally dedicated to gardening and grooming. of plants and has less than 200,000 subscribers
On Monday, the channel posted a video showing how viewers can use Google Earth to spot the stealth bomber themselves.
"I know it's not a plant video; it's a little different, a little different twist," says the presenter at the beginning of the video.
After the video was posted, the screenshot of the bomber flying over a field in Missouri went viral on Reddit. It received more than 109,000 upvotes and caught the attention of airmen.
The episode, published this week by the specialized site Task Purpose, simply shows that capturing a B-2 Spirit is difficult. Still, anything is possible with a sky full of satellites, an Internet connection, and a little luck.
Beyond the jokes of Internet users about the episode, the truth is that it should not be so strange to see such a bomber in the skies of Missouri. After all, the world's only B-2 aircraft base is at Whiteman Air Force Base, about 20 miles south of where the plane was seen flying on Google Earth.
Readers with good vision may have detected a red and blue blur in the B-2 image. According to NASA, that's because satellite images are different from typical photographs. While photographs are taken "when light is focused and captured on a light-sensitive surface," a satellite image "is created by combining measurements of the intensity of certain wavelengths of light, both visible and invisible to the eyes. Humans," NASA wrote online.
NASA explained that the most visible colors could be created by combining red, green, and blue, so satellites connect scaled images of red, green, and blue to get a full-color image of the world. However, Newsweek magazine noted that airplanes in flight could blur colors due to the speed with which they are moving.
"The B-2 was made to defeat the most advanced air defense systems in the world. In addition to its conventional navigation capabilities, it has autonomous systems that operate independently of any ground or space transmitter, "wrote William Langewiesche in a 2018 article for The Atlantic about a B-2 mission to bomb ISIS fighters in Libya.
But besides being deadly, it's also cozy. As cited by Task Purpose, the Spirit has a toilet, a microwave, some coolers for storing snacks, enough space for one of its two pilots to lie down and take a nap, and even "extremely comfortable" cockpit seats.
Still, the Atlantic writer questioned the US government's decision to use the B-2, each of which costs about $ 44 million annually to maintain. That makes it the most expensive plane to keep in the Air Force's inventory. It was used to bomb no more than a hundred men in the desert of a country that doesn't even have an air defense system.
"Bombing unarmed men camping in the desert of a non-country is a long way from launching an attack on a modern military adversary," Langewiesche wrote. "But the high cost of the mission was perhaps an appeal of bureaucratic, if not military logic - it is possible to lose money if it is not spent - or maybe the B-2s were looking to do some work."
Whatever the reason for using the B-2 aircraft over Libya, Task Purpose highlighted that concepts such as stealth and strategic bombing are returning to the fore as the Air Force prepares for a possible war with China or Russia. There is talk of an estimated $ 203 billion gesture in the development of the B-21 Raider, a new flying-wing strategic stealth bomber that looks a lot like the B-2 and is designed to replace the older aircraft.
"Designed to operate in tomorrow's high-level threat environment, the B-21 will play a critical role in ensuring the enduring capabilities of America's airpower," the Air Force wrote on its Raider website.
The Air Force is spending so much money on the B-21 because it wants to buy at least 100 of the bombers, according to information from the same source. In comparison, only 21 B-2s were built. One of them was destroyed in a non-fatal accident in 2008, and another was damaged in September after sliding off the track at Whiteman. The Air Force estimates that each B-21 will cost about $ 639 million in dollars.
So maybe one day, we'll also see images of B-21 in flight on Google Earth.