Area 51: one of the most secretive places on the planet. From conspiracy theories to UFO sightings, here are 11 secrets about Nevada’s mysterious military base.
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Voiceover by Rodney Tompkins:
11: It’s a U.S. Air Force Facility
Area 51 is a part of a US Air Force facility in Nevada that serves as a center for research, development, and testing aircrafts. The origin of Area 51’s name is unclear, but it is commonly thought to come from the grid reference given by the Atomic Energy Commission. The air force base itself is only 6 by 10 miles, but it is encompassed by a restricted air space nearly 25 miles squared centered on the Groom Lake salt flat.
10: It’s Part of a Larger Nuclear Test Site
Area 51 is part of the Nevada Test Site used extensively from 1951 to 1992 for nuclear tests. The region surrounding the Indian Springs was recognized as a potential site for testing.
9: The U.S. Government Denied its Existence
Until quite recently, Area 51 did not even officially exist. For decades Area 51 received no official recognition until the site was finally declassified in 1997, but the projects undertaken there remained a secret. It took a Freedom of Information Act request years to finally get some real information. The CIA officially recognized Area 51’s existence in 2013, and released 355 documents that confirmed
8: Exemption from Environmental Regulations
A group of civilian contractors had once tried to sue the Environmental protection Agency in 1994 over the high levels of dioxin, dibenzofuran, and trichloroethylene found in their bodies after inhaling toxic chemicals burned at Area 51. They suffered skin and liver damage, and some even stopped living from the toxic exposure. But in 1995, President Bill Clinton signed an order exempting the entire area from certain environmental regulations. A similar act
7: Paradise Ranch
Area 51 was once given the nickname “Paradise Ranch” in order to entice employees. Located in the middle of a barren scorching desert, it would only be normal for some government officials to not want to be employed in Area 51. The area is full of dust and sand, and miles away from any town or city, and employees were required to actually live there. So in order to entice these people, the management jokingly nicknamed the place “Paradise Ranch”
6: Extreme Secrecy
Area 51 is known for the extreme measures it takes in maintaining the secrecy of all operations held in its facilities. Confidentiality is pressed upon everyone, and all employees are required to swear an oath of secrecy. It is said that the buildings located within the complex are mostly windowless so that each group has zero idea about the specifics of what others are doing. Contractors and military personnel are ferried to and from the facility by a fleet of passenger aircrafts operating from a private terminal at McCarran Airtport.
5: Alien Conspiracy Theories
The enormous secrecy surrounding Area 51 has led to a large number of conspiracy theories about the activities going on behind the gates of the military base. The most common accusation is that the US government is harboring aliens and alien technology there. The area has been identified by assorted conspiracy theorists as a place where researchers study captured UFOs and alien life forms. This includes the “alien craft” that supposedly crashed in Roswell in 1947. That year, the Army Air Field at Roswell
4: Alleged Former Employees have “Confirmed” the Alien Theories
In 1989, a man named Bob Lazar added fuel to the Area 51 alien stories when he claimed to be a physicist who used to work in the secret facility, having witnessed at least 9 alien spacecrafts that the military were trying to reverse engineer. In a 1996 documentary film titled Dreamland, a 71 year old former mechanical engineer claims to
1: Spy Planes and Stealth Bombers
Of all the Area 51 facts, the most interesting is that the origins of Area 51’s association with alien life forms might actually stem from decidedly terrestrial roots. In the 50s and 60s, with relations with the Soviet Union worsening, Groom Lake was made the test site for CIA’s Project Aquatone, and later the OXCART program. These were high altitude reconnaissance plane development programs that eventually lead to the production