AREA 51 is a top-secret, highly-classified desert air base which is believed by many to hold extra-terrestrial secrets.
The base was at the midst of a social media frenzy in 2019 when over two million people responded to a satirical Facebook event to “storm” Area 51. But just where is it?
Where is Area 51?
It is near Rachel, a small town popular with tourists, on the so-called Extra Terrestrial Highway , Nevada route 375.
It is officially known as Homey Airport – but the now-famous name Area 51 came from CIA documents that referred to it by that codename.
The name Area 51 refers to a map location, whilst the physical geographical landmark that corresponds to this location is Groom Lake.
Groom Lake is a salt flat used for a runway and, it is said, for bombing range practise.
The dry lake lies in Tikaboo Valley, surrounded by mountain peaks.
One of these peaks, Tikaboo Peak, around 26 miles from Area 51, is a vantage point many use to catch a glimpse of the top secret airbase.
The first airstrip at Area 51 was made in 1941, and was used for top-secret tests of the United States Air Force reconnaissance aircraft, the Lockheed U-2, in 1955.
There are now five airstrips, which border part of the US Department of Energy nuclear Nevada Test Site – used from the 1950s to the 1990s – and also border the Nevada Test and Training Range.
How big is Area 51?
The entire range at Area 51 occupies more than 2.9 million acres of land.
A decision was made to use Area 51 as a secret airbase in 1955, and a then-massive 5,000-foot long runway was made on the lake on May 4.
A few months later a volley-ball court and movie theatre were just a couple of amenities that were enjoyed there.
Area 51 also had a control tower, paved runway, three hangars, and accomodation for up to 150 people within four years, by 1959.
A new 8,500 ft runway was added in 1960, plus more hangars, two more unpaved runways, and more accommodation.
Within ten years, by 1964, the site was highly developed, and chefs from Las Vegas restaurants were employed to cook on request of staff any time of day and night.
Today, Area 51 now has runways of up to 12,000 ft (2.3 miles) long, and has been the testing site for numerous USA war machines.
It is thought the large number of reported alien sightings were because aircraft were being tested at the site that could fly higher than any in the public awareness at the time.
Can you visit Area 51?
No, you can't get anywhere near Area 51, and even the airspace above it is out of bounds.
The approximate 1,500 people thought to work there now are transported on Government-owned Janet Airlines , which flies from an airport in Las Vegas.
More than two million people said they were “attending” the hoax event, which called for people to storm the location between 3am and 6am on September 20.
Roberts said he did not think anyone would take it seriously – but as the event gained traction, the Airforce had to warn people not to go to the site.
In the end, only 75 people actually made the effort to show up at the gates to the military base – and left after “heated warnings” from police officers.
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Whilst people are not allowed to go to Area 51, there are some who think that aliens have been to the site.
In 1989, Bob Lazar claimed he worked at Area 51 where tests on aliens and their spacecrafts were carried out in massive underground workstations connected by an underground railway.
However, no record of Lazar being employed by either the Government or military was ever confirmed.
Area 51 has also been called 'Dreamland', 'Watertown', 'Yuletide', and 'Paradise ranch'.
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