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Area 51

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A warning sign found at the perimeter of the base. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 X51
FACTUAL ANALYSIS: Despite being officially recognized by the US military, Area 51 remains shrouded in secrecy and intrigue. While we do know that several former black projects have been developed and tested there, the full extent of the military's activities at the base over the decades remain a mystery.
Situated in the Nevada desert approximately 83 miles north-west of Las Vegas within the Nevada Test and Training Range, Area 51 (also sometimes referred to as 'Dreamland' in popular culture) is a notoriously secretive United States Air Force (USAF) facility that has become synonymous with stories of reverse-engineered alien technology and UFO-related black projects.

The US military refused to even acknowledge Area 51's existence until 2013 when a declassified CIA document was released via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that detailed its role in the development and testing of the U-2 spy plane.

Today, the facility is officially referred to as Homey Airport, but there is still a great deal we don't know about exactly what goes on there.
Base Layout

Area 51 covers an area of around 6 x 10 miles and is situated next to a salt flat known as Groom Lake. It is surrounded on all sides by an extensive no-fly zone covering nearly 625 square miles.

Aerial and satellite images show the base to consist of a series of hangars and outbuildings next to a large runway, though it is widely believed that the facility also extends some distance underground.

The perimeter of the restricted area surrounding the facility is heavily guarded, with armed personnel and surveillance cameras clearly visible to anyone who ventures near.

Signposts warning would-be trespassers that "use of deadly force is authorized" have become something of a tourist attraction, as has the road leading up to the perimeter.

While it is not uncommon for the guards to intervene, most visitors simply drive up to the gates, take photographs and then leave (despite the signs warning that "photography is prohibited".

UFO Sightings

Over the years the entire region around Area 51 has become synonymous with sightings of UFOs. Many of these objects have since turned out to be secretive and experimental aircraft undergoing test flights.

Sightings of black, triangular and diamond-shaped objects over Nevada in the 1980s, for example, were the result of test flights of the F-117 Nighthawk - the country's first stealth bomber.

Other UFO sightings connected to the region, meanwhile, have yet to be explained.

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