What is that thing on the ground?

HicSvntDracones

New Member
I'm sure you have seen this before, but I have a different take on it.
I was looking at the PlanetLab photos of Area 51 from January 2022, not on purpose, just happened across a YouTube video about it, but something struck me as weird. So, what we are seeing is a
jet on the Apron at Area-51, which sat there for about a month. It is in a temporary aircraft shelter, without the canvas covering the roof. Except people claim the front has the covering, which makes zero sense..but explains the shadow I have included 2 images that show what these structures usually look like. People claim it is like the first one, with the brown canvas only on the front...
However, this is Area 51... I don't think they are just going to leave a test aircraft on the apron, uncovered long enough for earth imaging satellites to have at it... The shadows just don't look right, especially on the left side of the wing, and almost suggest a more substantial structure over it, and the structure/scaffolding should show shadows off to the right of the structure, like the main building, but doesn't... and I am actually wondering if it might be a type of camouflage for these temporary shelters to hide what is actually inside of it. It could just be a roof shape made to look like an aircraft or to severely alter the shape. I am fascinated with new types of camo specifically for Earth Imaging Satellites, and just wanted to toss this out there, see if anyone has come across something similar, or if everyone thinks we are actually seeing a real plane, or the actual shape of a real plane.
 

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Ann K

Senior Member.
It's illuminated from just left of center rear, so the shadows look right to me.
I have included 2 images that show what these structures usually look like. People claim it is like the first one, with the brown canvas only on the front...
I think those people are correct, although the framework looks somewhat more squared off than the dome. As for what "makes sense" about covering it partway or leaving it there for a month, I'm not going to speculate. :)
 

HicSvntDracones

New Member
Yeah, I am probably just seeing stuff, hence why I am asking :) However, looking at the shadow of the temp shelter front, it is domed.. follow the taxi line from the nose of the aircraft to the end of the shadow from the front of the enclosure, a little past the main shadow, you can see the shadow of the actual domed scaffolding/piping or whatever you call it. That is what confused me the most, because it is domed, but it looks rectangular. Again, could just be the angles and stuff, this is imagery from a 3U CubeSat.. so 10cm by 10 cm by 30 cm. Pretty impressive, but also has limitations I'm prob not taking into account due to just how impressive an image it is.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
it looks like one of those inflatable painting booths. although why the booth would be clear on top and not closed in in the back, i have no idea.

edit add. i guess there could be a clear piece down the back..but still i'd think a clear roof would bake your paint too fast as youre applying it (not that i've ever painted a car or plane)
1670362420601.png
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
As an optical engineer, I am pretty interested in how they were able to create 0.5m resolution with a 10cm cube satellite (DOVE) that has "only" a resolution of 3m (the diffraction limit of 10cm diameter optics is 3m resolution at that distance). Cannot find it on the website.
 
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FatPhil

Senior Member.
I was looking at the PlanetLab photos of Area 51 from January 2022, not on purpose, just happened across a YouTube video about it, but something struck me as weird.
Please include links to the video you are referring to, and the sources of these images.
People claim it is like the first one, with the brown canvas only on the front...
Which people? Where? If it's important enough to mention what people are saying, please don't paraphrase, include exact quotes, and include a URL to them so that we can verify and contextualise.
Sorry if it sounds fussy, but it's the best way to make sure everyone is on the same page, and that things are on permanent record.

Like Ravi, I want to know more about the sources of those images, as he says that resolution is impossible with those tiny cubesats. Someone, somewhere, has introduced non-facts into the information flow, and others unwittingly passed them on. It might be unimportant, but more clarity cannot harm us.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
We came upon this development after doing our regular scans of Planet Labs' low-resolution imagery of various locales of interest across the globe. Area 51 is always a popular spot when it comes to publicly available satellite imagery. When glancing at daily 3-meter resolution images of the base we noticed the appearance of a roughly delta-shaped blob on the north apron of the large southern hangar. The first shot that contained this object was dated January 26th, 2022.

The blob remained there in Planet Labs' low-resolution imagery through the 28th. A high-resolution Planet Labs image, dated January 29th, 2022, told a much richer story — that the blob was actually an exotic delta-shaped aircraft under an unenclosed skeleton-like structure just sitting in the middle of the apron.

It has been officially disclosed that an NGAD demonstrator has been in flight testing for some time and has shown great promise, although the nature of this program remains widely misunderstood in the press.

That is just one secretive program that we know exists and generally matches the description, but there are many others underway we do not know any firm details about. Area 51 has multiple programs of varying sophistication and maturity underway at any given time.

Note that the seemingly highest-resolution image is described as an "enhanced crop"; it is unclear if the enhancement added detail not in evidence.
 

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Mendel

Senior Member.
Except people claim the front has the covering, which makes zero sense..
building a camping tent, the fabric covering shapes the flexible tent poles—the tent could not be built without the fabric. In this case, the fabric of the frong may be needed to a) reinforce the frame, b) lend visibility, i.e. show from afar that this taxiway is blocked.

I'm wondering why the "tent" was erected at all, though. Regulations?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
A paint-job that would be sensitive to UV, but not care about heat? You don't want to skunk your skunkworks craft.
i was thinking if you painted in the very early morning you wouldnt get dry time issues when applying, and they do use heat lamps to bake cars in autoshop painting. ??
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
A paint-job that would be sensitive to UV, but not care about heat? You don't want to skunk your skunkworks craft.
i don't follow?
1) uv-sensitive paint on an aircraft strikes me as counterproductive
2) the tent has an open top that does not protect against uv
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
However, looking at the shadow of the temp shelter front, it is domed.. follow the taxi line from the nose of the aircraft to the end of the shadow from the front of the enclosure, a little past the main shadow, you can see the shadow of the actual domed scaffolding/piping or whatever you call it. That is what confused me the most, because it is domed, but it looks rectangular.
most retractable tunnels have a cap in the front so that you can then hang a tarp as a door.
1670465330120.png
Screenshot 2022-12-07 204505.png

1670464620835.png



what i dont get (and doesnt matter at all) is the odd interruption of pattern on the back end.
Screenshot 2022-12-07 204043.png
maybe the "poles" just broke and shifted. or if its originally one of those "contagious disease" tunnels like in the movie ET or Outbreak, it has an odd end to attach it to the "lab" building. :)
 
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Ravi

Senior Member.
oh! i get it. each hoop is progressively smaller so they can tuck into each other with you retract it. cool
No they don't, it is all perfectly rectangular. Check images on google. They just fold up as a harmonica.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
i don't follow?
1) uv-sensitive paint on an aircraft strikes me as counterproductive
2) the tent has an open top that does not protect against uv

1) a paint-job that's sensitive *while curing* (which is why I worded it as "a paint job", not just "paint", so the action that's just been done, but I accept, it wasn't particularly clear).
2) that's not what I perceive from the photo, I see ribs, and varying light levels, as if some membrane was atop those ribs.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
that's not what I perceive from the photo, I see ribs, and varying light levels, as if some membrane was atop those ribs.
can you find an example for a hangar tent with such a membrane?

Edit: after looking into UV curing of paint, maybe they were testing to see how well sunlight could cure UV-sensitive paint?
 
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FatPhil

Senior Member.
can you find an example for a hangar tent with such a membrane?

That depends on what properties "such" a membrane would need to have. There are certainly ones that can be painted with futuristic aircraft designs, and at the moment we don't even know if that's what we're actually looking at - they might be trolling us.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
can you find an example for a hangar tent
why does it need to be a hangar tent? i'm thinking based on it being clear that maybe they originally bought it as a breezeway between buildings and are just repurposing it temporarily. how long was the tent [how many days] on the runway?
 

SpOoKy777

Member
A clamshell type tent maybe, that would explain the uneven end part...:

tent1.JPG
tent2.JPG


With the relatively low image resolution, the "membrane" could be just shadows from the tent frames/struts and some bloom from reflection of the frame...

Edit: Why it's not covered is hard to say, but as these are movable structures, there is a chance of capturing it while it is put together, with the canvas bunched up in the front part yet to be rolled out.

My bet would be just a temporary hangar, not an uncommon sight for maintenance on an airfield:

tent3.JPG


Though, surprisingly there are paint booth tents for military airplanes...:

https://www.losbergerdeboer.com/me/...aircraft-paint-booth-shelter-french-airforce/

But I'd assume they have a proper solid hangar for things like that...I can't come up with a reason to paint a plane on the airfield...


As for Op's idea:

"...and I am actually wondering if it might be a type of camouflage for these temporary shelters to
hide what is actually inside of it. It could just be a roof shape made to look like an aircraft or to severely alter the shape."

Just park it under a non-see through roof and it's not visible at all! ;)
Altering the shape doesn't make much sense...from a military secrecy standpoint, either you don't want your aircraft be visible at all or you don't care because it's irrelevant if it's seen...
 
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SpOoKy777

Member
because you need wicked ventilation to not intoxicate the entire building with fumes. and you get paint overspray all over everything.
Exactly for that reason you'd do that in a proper hangar equipped with ventilation and prepped to deal with the overspray...
And not in a tent structure on a desert airfield...which would need the same ventilation by the way (see link I've posted above), you can't just paint in an open tent while the dusty desert breeze goes through ;)

Edit...examples of paint booths I'd expect they have on site somewhere:
pb1.JPG
aircraft-spray-booth-2.jpg
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Edit...examples of paint booths I'd expect they have on site somewhere:
when you said "there" i thought you meant the "there" in your pic. a mobile tent can be shared by facilities that dont have designed hangars for painting, i meant. ie. its cheaper then building a building with proper ventilation.

add: yea so if we believe this story, which is believeable enough, they built a paint booth inside a hangar, although i guess it could till be a portable that was dragged outside later, but i think you might as well leave it in the hangar.

Article:
So, believe it or not, Area 51 is a lot like any other structure that’s occupied by humans. At the end of the day the AC has to work, the windows need to be cleaned, the floors need to be swept, and new equipment has to be installed. The military does some things really well but not everything and that means they need to call in outside contractors from time to time, even at Area 51. In this particular case, it was a paint booth. My friend, let’s call him Fred, was contracted to bring in a paint booth and set it up for the good people of Area 51.
...
At no point, under any circumstances, were Fred and/or his team to leave the hangar.
 
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SpOoKy777

Member
when you said "there" i thought you meant the "there" in your pic. a mobile tent can be shared by facilities that dont have designed hangars for painting, i meant. ie. its cheaper then building a building with proper ventilation.
Oh, sorry...english is my second language, sometimes I get things mixed up...I was referring to Area 51, not the image...
And sure, a mobile tent is definitely cheaper and might stand in if there is no dedicated structure nearby...nevertheless I'd bet an installation of the size of Area 51 is equipped with a proper plane paint booth...I might be wrong...

add: yea so if we believe this story, which is believeable enough, they built a paint booth inside a hangar, although i guess it could till be a portable that was dragged outside later, but i think you might as well leave it in the hangar.


Article:
So, believe it or not, Area 51 is a lot like any other structure that’s occupied by humans. At the end of the day the AC has to work, the windows need to be cleaned, the floors need to be swept, and new equipment has to be installed. The military does some things really well but not everything and that means they need to call in outside contractors from time to time, even at Area 51. In this particular case, it was a paint booth. My friend, let’s call him Fred, was contracted to bring in a paint booth and set it up for the good people of Area 51.
...
At no point, under any circumstances, were Fred and/or his team to leave the hangar.
Source: https://padgettechnologies.com/story-area-51/
It doesn't say which type of paint booth those guys were setting up...doesn't necessarily need to be plane related...just something they needed temporarily or for a special purpose that is beyond the on-site capabilities...
 
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