An enormous metal sphere washed up on the shores of Japan in mid-February, baffling officials who have no idea what it is or where it came from.
The sphere is 4.9 feet in diameter and washed up on Enshuhama Beach near the city of Hamamatsu, where it was found by a runner, according to a report published Tuesday by local outlet NHK. Police and the local bomb squad investigated the mysterious object and confirmed via x-ray that it appears to be hollow.
Some officials believe that it may be some kind of buoy, but Shizuoka Prefectural Hamamatsu Civil Engineering Office’s coastal maintenance division head, Masaki Matsukawa, said that its true purpose remains unclear, Fox News reported.
“We have not been able to determine what kind of debris it is, but it has been confirmed that it is safe, so we will dispose of it in the same way as normal floating debris,” the official noted.
— NHK静岡放送局 (@nhk_shizuoka_) February 21, 2023
One local told NHK that he attempted to push the sphere when he came upon it.
“There was something like an iron ball on the beach for more than a month. I think it’s probably iron. I approached it and tried to push it with my hand, but it was heavy and didn’t move,” he noted.
Some folks online have hypothesized that the sphere is anything from aliens to a steel buoy used for harbor moorings. For now, its origin and purpose remain a mystery.