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 4451 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 four books.


  1. That would be the Ivanpah solar power project. Not near Tonapah, south of Vegas near state line.

  2. it’s a heliostat farm… a bunch of mirrors that track the suns position & shine it onto a tower which takes the heat of the sun rays to boil water driving steam turbines. these have sprung up everywhere the sun shines a lot, a great power source.

    • DEFINITELY not! I’ll admit this was my initial thoughts, but the big clue that it isn’t this is the sqaure shape of the boundary. Centre-pivot irrigation always have circular boundaries. And then the next clue is the high -reflections. Plants wouldn’t give that.

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