Approximately 12 miles northeast of Area 51 in Nevada is a mile-long runway with no official name, no visible aircraft, not much human activity and just a fence surrounding it. When a recent Google Earth image revealed the runway, requests for information from the local media were denied and many outside experts were surprised to learn of its existence. Persistence paid off and the Las Vegas Review-Journal has finally uncovered what’s going on at the mysterious Area 6.

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Google Earth image of Area 6

The location is in the Nevada National Security Site, formerly known as the Nevada Proving Grounds and sometimes referred to as Yucca Flats, where underground nuclear devices were tested in the 1950s. It’s known that four tests and six detonations took place in Area 6. It can be seen by tour buses checking out old bomb craters but the airspace above it is controlled. The land is now under the jurisdiction of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which had deflected requests for information from the Review-Journal.

Darwin Morgan, a spokesman for NNSA finally caved to the pressure and revealed that the mysterious Area 6 is used by the Defense Department and Homeland Security Department.

They come here to test their own sensors. We do a wide variety of work for others … supporting people with sensor development activities. It evolved from the nuclear testing program. We had to have very good sensors to collect data in a split second before they were obliterated.

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Closeup of buildings at Area 6

Obliterated ... that doesn’t sound good. A 7,500-page document from 2008 on nuclear safety at the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste project gave one of the few brief descriptions of Area 6.

The purpose of this facility is to construct, operate, and test a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Morgan confirmed that antennas were installed there to allow ground operators to control the flight of UAVs or drones. Tim Brown, an imagery analyst at, agreed that the runway is too small for jets but it and the hangars are sized about right to house MQ-9 Reapers, the type of drones used to perform reconnaissance in places like Libya, whose terrain the area resembles. These drones are covered with sensor arrays for aerial imaging, confirming Morgan’s admission that the base is used for sensor testing.

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MQ-9 Reaper

Are there any UFOs or alien bodies at Area 6? Morgan didn't say. You’ll have to wait until John Podesta is back in the White House to find out.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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