What’s this weird thing in the desert near Tonopah, Nevada?

Every now and then, we receive interesting heads-up about things (reports, images, docs, etc) that might be loosely (or not) related to the standard topics we discuss at The Aviationist.

The following images may be among those weird things. They were taken by a passenger on a commercial flight, near Tonopah, Nevada towards the end of last year.

Since Tonopah was the base used to test the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter jet and is not far from Nellis Air Force Base, anything that pops up over there it’s at least intriguing (even if most probably not related to any “Black Project”).

Light energy collector or what?

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About David Cenciotti 4469 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. It’s a solar energy farm. Mirrors in a circular pattern reflect sunlight to a collector atop the towers in the center. The collector contains a salt mixture, which heats up and liquifies, then flows to the bottom of the tower. There, a turbine converts the heat to electricity.

  2. It is the Cresent Dunes Solar Energy Project. To power 75,000 houses when properly completed. Lots of them popping up in the Nevada and Mojave deserts now.

  3. Looks like solar power so they can “go green” and stay “off the grid”…. on par for this “administration”. Nothing else to see here.

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