What is Area 51 History: Everything to Know About the Mysterious Site
Area 51 has been shrouded in mystery for decades, so it only makes sense that the rumored alien secrets held within the remote desert site would get a reboot in the social media age.
What is Area 51
Area 51, secret U.S. Air Force military installation located at Groom Lake in southern Nevada. It is administered by Edwards Air Force Base in southern California. The installation has been the focus of numerous conspiracies involving extraterrestrial life, though its only confirmed use is as a flight testing facility.
What goes on inside is extremely secret. Members of the public are kept away by warning signs, electronic surveillance and armed guards.
It is also illegal to fly over Area 51, although the site is now visible on satellite images. The base has runways up to 12,000ft (2.3 miles/3.7km) long. The entire range covers more than 2.9 million acres of land.
Why was it built?
Area 51 was created during the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union as a testing and development facility for aircraft, including the U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance planes.
Although it opened in 1955, its existence was only officially acknowledged by the CIA in August 2013.
Speculations about Area 51, Are there aliens and flying saucers at Area 51?
For years there was speculation about the installation, especially amid growing reports of UFO sightings in the vicinity. The site became known as Area 51, which was its designation on maps of the Atomic Energy Commission. Conspiracy theories gained support in the late 1980s, when a man alleging to have worked at the installation claimed that the government was examining recovered alien spacecraft.
Why has Area 51 become the subject of so many conspiracy theories?
When Sgt. Anderson told the Reno Evening Gazette (now known as the Reno Gazette-Journal) about spotting a U.F.O. back in 1959, the outlet also reported that the Nellis Air Force Base, located about 130 miles south of Area 51, had received two previous reports in the past three weeks of U.F.O. sightings.
Those reports came just a few years after rumors of a U.F.O. crashing in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, which the Roswell Army Air Field later said was a weather balloon. The Air Force began investigating claims of U.F.O. sightings in 1947, which later became known as Project Blue Book in 1952. By the time Project Blue Book ended in 1969, the Air Force had investigated over 12,000 claims.
Meanwhile, people in the southern Nevada region continued to report U.F.O. sightings, which in hindsight were probably sightings of the top-secret spy planes being constructed. Even so, imaginations have run wild ever since.
What happens if people ‘storm’ Area 51
Matty Roberts, 20, created a Facebook event proposing that “we can run faster than their bullets. Let’s see them aliens”. Two million people said they were “going”, although a linked festival has since been moved because of fears of a “possible humanitarian disaster”.
Warning signs around Area 51 make it clear that no trespassers will be tolerated.
The USAF warned that Area 51 “is an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces”.
What is the proposed “raid”?
In a pinned post on Facebook event’s page, Jackson Barns, who says he created the joke event, details his tongue-in-cheek plan to invade Area 51. It involves Monster energy drinks, “Kyles” (the internet name for white men and boys who have anger issues and punch drywall) and Naruto-running, inspired by a Japanese anime show.
How has the government responded to the raid?
A spokesperson for the U.S. Air Force told several media outlets that they are aware of the plans to “raid” Area 51 — and are staunchly against them.
“Any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged,” an Air Force spokesperson told.
“[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews told The Washington Post. “The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”
Area 51 in numbers (Some Timeline Facts)
- 1955 Year facility opened
- 2013 Year its existence was first officially acknowledged
- 2.3 miles Length of longest runway
- 1,500 Number of people who are thought to work at the facility
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