Area 51 and an alien© 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Krissy is Planet's wordsmith. She loves writing about rocket science and innovative technologies, among other Earth-shaking topics.

Where Aliens Attacked in the Independence Day Movie


Today is Independence Day, when in 1776 the Continental Congress declared the 13 American colonies were no longer subject to the monarch of Britain and were now free, united and independent states. It’s great to celebrate Independence Day and its significance, but why stop the fun there?

After all, Independence Day isn’t just a beloved historical day in American history… it’s also a 1996 blockbuster that grossed over $817 million in ticket sales and eventually led to this fandom Wiki (which also looks like it’s straight out of 1996).

In the film, aliens use Earth satellites to signal to each other, which allows them to coordinate an attack and destroy our planet by (spoiler alert!) blowing a lot of stuff up. There’s much turmoil over the course of the epic 2.5 hour movie. The aliens are vicious, the Statue of Liberty ends up face-down in the New York Harbor, and it seems all hope is lost! But then satellite technician David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) and Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) combine forces to upload a virus into the Earth’s satellites to infect the alien mothership and save the day. Would you expect anything less from the shining stars that are Jeff and Will?

In the extremely unlikely event that Earth satellites are hijacked for alien takeover, we’ll be ready. Brainy, Jeff Goldblum-ish characters are on staff at Planet, ready and willing to upload a virus should the day come. (Just kidding.)

David Levison uploads the virus that will doom the alien invaders // Credit: Giphy

Below, you’ll find Planet satellite imagery showing the cities and landmarks where some of the most notable, explosive scenes in the movie take place.

Happy Independence Day!

The White House and the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

© 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Empire State Building in New York City

© 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles, California

© 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

And last but not least: Area 51 in Nevada

We didn’t see it get blown up, but the Independence Day film opens with it, and it’s totally iconic.

© 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.


P.S. Aliens, if you’re reading this: Please don’t blow up the Earth. Just watch Independence Day. It will be just as satisfying. Probably more so. It is a classic.