The mysterious Area 51 is located approximately 100 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada. The facility is a detached part of Edwards Air force Base and part of the Nevada Test and Training Range. Over the years the isolated location has also been known as Homey Airport, Groom Lake, Dreamland, Paradise Ranch, Home Base, and Watertown. Due to the secretive operations that have alleged taken place here it’s not surprising that Area 51 is located in a remote portion of the southwestern state. A government document released in 2013 revealed that the mysterious and storied military compound occupies a six by ten mile rectangular shaped area near the northeastern corner of the much larger test site.
4. Historical Military Role
Military activity began in Area 51, then known as Groom Lake, during World War II when it was home to an airfield and used for exercises such as bombing practice. When the CIA acquired the property in 1955 it became home base for the development of the Lockheed U-2 spy plane. In 1979 Area 51 was placed under the jurisdiction of the Air Force Flight Test Center in conjunction with Edwards Air force Base. Throughout its lifetime Area 51 has been the site of extensive military training, aircraft development, and high level security exercises. Among the fighter planes tested at the base include the A-12 as well as Lockheed’s D-21 drone and Have Blue stealth fighter jet prototype.
3. Suspected Alien Contact In Mass Media
According to modern American folklore and an array of conspiracy theorists Area 51 is home to the remnants of a downed Unidentified Flying Object (UFO), along with a deceased member of its alien crew. Because of the top secret military activities known to have taken place in Area 51 as well as the facility’s classified status long standing rumors still persist involving the human-alien contact having taken place in this remote part of the Nevada desert. One of the most notable connections between Area 51 and aliens from outer space involves a 1947 event that took place in nearby Roswell, New Mexico. Although military officials reported that one of their weather balloons had crashed in this location accounts from various civilian witnesses claim that they saw something a great deal more mysterious fall from the sky. Many members of the local population were steadfastly convinced that they saw a flying disc, or UFO, and not an ordinary weather balloon crash into the Roswell ranch.
2. Cover-Up Allegations
In 1952 in order to investigate claims of UFO sightings and other unexplained phenomena the US Air force established Project Blue Book which operated until 1970. Over twelve and a half thousand UFO sightings and reports were collected by this organization. In the end, however, military experts determined that the vast majority of these eyewitness accounts could easily be explained as natural occurrences rather than the result of some kind of alien intervention. Over the years a number of conspiracy theories have continued to flourish surrounding Area 51 and its connection to alien life forms. Some conspiracy theorists steadfastly believe that the military is in possession of the remnants of a downed flying saucer as well as the preserved remains of an alien life form.
1. Environmental Threats and Security Status
Due to its status as part of a strategic American air force base Area 51 operates under strict security measures. Signs posted around the location warn that deadly force may be used against any and all trespassers lacking the proper authorization to wander the grounds. The restricted air space above Area 51 has been termed the “Groom Box” and measures 23 by 25 miles. Recently problems due to environmental contamination and the presence of hazardous chemicals such as dioxin, dibenzofuran, and trichloroethylene have surfaced regarding the working conditions at Area 51. Many former workers at Area 51 have suffered from serious long term health conditions and have launched law suits against the Air force. Legal actions involving poisoning and toxic contamination at Area 51 have been unsuccessful due to the government’s resistance to releasing information regarding the top secret activities which have taken place at the site. In the 1990s, U.S. President Bill Clinton even acted to exempt Area 51 from environmental disclosure laws.