What is Area 51?

Here's all you need to know about the mysterious facility over a million people are planning to raid.

    2019/07/18

NSFW    #area51 #aliens #stormarea51
GROOM LAKE, NEVADA — Over a million people have pledged to join a prank event to raid Area 51 in the wee hours of September 20.

Whether you're one of those planning to go, or just a very amused spectator — here's all you need to know about the ever-mysterious facility.

Area 51 is a remote U.S. Air Force military installation at Groom Lake in southern Nevada, about 80 miles from Las Vegas. The BBC reports that the facility is so named for its designation on 50's era maps of the Atomic Energy Commission.

According to Reuters, extreme secrecy surrounded the facility for decades until the CIA publicly acknowledged its existence in 2013.

According to declassified internal CIA documents, Area 51 was selected in 1955 to be the test site of the high altitude U-2 reconnaissance plane, which was developed to spy on the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Other top-secret aircraft were later developed at the site, including the supersonic reconnaissance A-12 OXCART aircraft, and the stealth F-117 Nighthawk jet.

The secrecy shrouding Area 51 fueled wild UFO theories, the most sensational of which is that the remains of a flying saucer that crashed near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 was brought to the facility for experiments in reverse engineering.

In 1989, a man named Bob Lazar claimed he'd worked on extraterrestrial tech in Area 51, and saw alien autopsy photos inside the facility. He has since been discredited, but the theories continue to this day.

While the CIA document didn't address any alien conspiracy theories associated with the site, it did suggest a connection between U-2 test flights and UFO sightings.

The U-2 flew at much higher altitudes than commercial planes, and people who sighted them wouldn't have known what they were due to the secretive nature of the program, so in that sense they were unidentified flying objects.

Area 51 is still an active military installation. It's currently under 24 hour surveillance and not accessible to the public.

Air Force spokesperson Laura McAndrews told the Washington Post that the site is an open training range where American armed forces are trained.

So unless you want to be pummeled by a battalion of soldiers, it's probably not a good idea to storm Area 51 to "see them aliens." Because while the raid may have all the manpower, that's still no match for all the U.S. military's toys.
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