There has long been speculation that world governments have been conducting secretive experiments in the upper atmosphere with technologies the public has no knowledge of. While many of these projects are tested publicly, some believe their true purposes might be obscured from the general population. Many military experiments hide in plain sight, such as top-secret Air Force research projects like HAARP which has been accused of being behind the contrail phenomenon worldwide. Now, a mysterious space plane the Air Force is continuing to test above our heads has some conspiracy watchers crying foul.

The top-secret, solar-powered space plane is known as X-37B and is fully autonomous. The mysterious robotic craft launched in May 2015 and has now crossed a milestone after spending the last five hundred days orbiting the Earth, testing NASA’s experimental electric propulsion systems - that much we know.

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While the tests of the X-37B are in plain sight, the space plane‘s true purpose remains a mystery.

What we don’t know is exactly what the other experimental technologies about the X-37B might be. The secrecy behind the plane’s purpose has sparked a flurry of conspiracy theories about anything from testing high-altitude bombs to causing earthquakes.

The solar-powered plane is designed to launch and land autonomously.

NASA and the U.S. Air Force, meanwhile, have publicly disclosed that the X-37B is testing so-called “advanced materials.” Miria Finckenor, materials researcher at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, stated in a NASA press release that the X-37B provides an opportunity for NASA and the USAF to test these materials in actual outer space conditions:

By exposing materials to space and returning the samples to Earth, we gain valuable data about how the materials hold up in the environment in which they will have to operate. Spacecraft designers can use this information to choose the best material for specific applications, such as thermal protection or antennas or any other space hardware.

Just what exactly “any other space hardware” might be is unknown. The Pentagon has strongly denied that the X-37B is testing new space weapons. However, the U.S. Air Force announced earlier this year a plan to alter the upper atmosphere using plasma bombs, while also testing so-called “super jet” technology above Australia.

While NASA admits that the X-37B is testing advanced materials, just what those materials might be is unknown.

Could these unexplained events be related to this new autonomous space plane? As usual, we might never know what the true intentions behind top-secret military testing might be.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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