What Is Area 51?

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Area 51 is a top-secret military facility located in Nevada, USA. It has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories and speculation due to its classified nature. The exact purpose of Area 51 remains unknown to the public, but it is believed to be used for the development and testing of experimental aircraft and technology. The site has been associated with alleged UFO sightings and extraterrestrial activity, fueling its mysterious reputation. Access to Area 51 is heavily restricted, and it is closely monitored by the US government. Its secrecy has made it a popular topic of interest among conspiracy theorists and enthusiasts.

Have you ever visited Las Vegas, Nevada? Many people are attracted to the vibrant lights of the city. However, some are more intrigued by the mysterious secrets hidden in the deserts surrounding the city. In these desolate areas, all you can see for miles are empty roads and vast ranches. It seems like there is nothing but dirt and sand in every direction.

However, appearances can be deceiving. Somewhere in the desert, there is an unmarked dirt road covered in dust. This road leads to a place known as Groom Lake. But before you reach this landmark, you will come across intimidating warning signs that indicate the end of your journey on this road.

What lies beyond these warning signs? Surveillance cameras, security guards, and several more miles of road. They all lead to one of the most enigmatic places in the United States: Area 51.

For more than half a century, no other place in America has been surrounded by as many myths and legends as Area 51. Does it really exist? Is it a clandestine military base? Does it house the bodies and spaceships of extraterrestrial beings that have visited the U.S.?

The answers to these questions are yes, yes, and no, respectively. Area 51 is indeed a covert military facility that remains operational to this day. However, contrary to numerous urban legends, it has nothing to do with aliens or UFOs.

Nevertheless, it is understandable how these myths originated. Area 51 was established in 1955 as part of the extensive Nevada Test and Training Range complex. It was constructed in a valley surrounded by mountains that are off-limits to the general public. It is also located adjacent to Groom Lake, a large dry lake bed that serves as a perfect runway for large aircraft.

Area 51 was created to function as a testing facility for a highly classified aircraft. This aircraft is now known as the U-2 Spy Plane. It was capable of conducting special reconnaissance missions at altitudes of 60,000 feet or higher, much higher than other airplanes of that time, which typically flew between 10,000 and 20,000 feet.

Soon, people began spotting the U-2 Spy Plane at these high altitudes. Many individuals, including commercial and military pilots, were naturally perplexed. The development of the plane was shrouded in secrecy, and sightings were rare. Those who observed the plane from a distance could easily mistake it for an otherworldly vehicle!

These sightings contributed to the growth of UFO and alien myths. In fact, many of these stories seemed to have credible sources. After all, why would commercial and military pilots fabricate false tales? The government did not discourage these rumors. It preferred to divert the public’s attention to something fictional, such as aliens and UFOs, rather than revealing the true nature of the activities taking place at Area 51.

An intriguing tourist industry centered around aliens emerged around Area 51. Nevada even renamed the highway leading to Area 51 (State Route 375) the Extraterrestrial Highway. UFO and alien enthusiasts regularly drive down this highway, hoping to catch a glimpse of strange creatures or spacecraft in the sky.

It is unlikely that these individuals will have the opportunity to witness extraterrestrial beings or unidentified flying objects (UFOs). However, they may catch a glimpse of various other aircraft undergoing testing at Area 51. In addition to the U-2 Spy Plane, numerous other aircraft have been tested at this location, including the A-12 “Blackbird,” the F-117 Stealth Fighter, and the B-2 Stealth Bomber.

As for the current activities at Area 51, it remains a highly classified testing facility, shrouded in secrecy. The government strictly prohibits public access to the area, with the closest point that can be reached by car still leaving individuals approximately 15 miles away. Furthermore, the airspace above the base is restricted, forming a rectangular zone with an area of 575 miles. And all of this is just within the confines of Area 51.

Encompassing a vast expanse of land north of Las Vegas, the Nevada Test and Training Range stretches across 5,200 square miles. Within this area, the Nevada Test Site covers over 1,600 square miles. Some parts of this region remain contaminated with radiation from past nuclear bomb testing.

So, how did Area 51 acquire its name? It originated from old maps of the Nevada Test Site, where the area surrounding Groom Lake was designated as Area 51. When the U-2 Spy Plane project was initiated, the area was referred to as Paradise Ranch in an effort to attract workers to the project. Today, Area 51 seems to be commonly known as the National Classified Test Facility.

In 2013, the U.S. government released a significant amount of information regarding the history of Area 51. However, despite this disclosure, conspiracy theories about the facility continue to circulate. What are your thoughts on Area 51? Do you believe it is simply a top-secret military base? Or do you think it may have connections to extraterrestrial life? While the latter theory may seem unlikely, it still holds sway with many individuals.

Try It Out

If you are interested in exploring Area 51, be sure to engage in the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • If you wish to conduct your own research on Area 51, compile a list of questions that you still have and ask an adult to assist you in your investigation. Ensure that you rely only on trustworthy sources, as much of the available information is based on conspiracy theories. Afterward, discuss what you have learned.
  • What do you believe is truly occurring at Area 51 at present? Could new highly classified military aircraft be under development? Or is it possible that a new interplanetary vehicle is in the early stages of testing? Could aliens be landing at Area 51 to collaborate with humans on advancing technology? Write a short story about your speculations regarding the activities of the individuals and/or extraterrestrial beings at Area 51 today. Use your imagination and have fun!
  • Area 51 remains in operation to this day and continues to expand. How do we know this? Through satellite imagery! Watch the online video titled “Area 51 Aerial Time Lapse Shows How the Secretive Location Has Grown” to observe a time-lapse depiction of the expansion that has occurred at Area 51 over the past several decades. What do you believe is currently taking place there? Discuss this with a friend or family member.

Wonder Sources

  • https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/8/130816-area-51-space-ufos-nevada-cia-declassified/ (accessed 10 Sept. 2020)
  • http://science.howstuffworks.com/space/aliens-ufos/area-51.htm (accessed 10 Sept. 2020)
  • https://www.britannica.com/place/Area-51 (accessed 10 Sept. 2020)

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