Area 51 : A Secret US Government Facility (Part 1)
It is one of the most covert military bases on American soil, protecting the nation's most confidential research and development. But could Area 51 also be holding secrets? Secrets so incredible... ...so shocking... ...so terrifying... ...that they must be kept hidden from the public?
There are those who believe in the existence of a book. A book that contains the most highly guarded secrets of the United States of America. A book whose very existence is known to only a select few. But if such a book exists, what would it contain? Secret histories? Secret plans? Secret lies?
Does there really exist Just 83 miles north from the bright lights of Las Vegas, in the middle of the Nevada high desert, lies the most well-known secret location in America: Area 51.
Popular Mechanics, strange lights in the night sky, unidentified flying objects, and the impenetrable security surrounding the mysterious facility have helped fuel speculation and curiosity about what really goes on at Area 51. For decades, the military base has been shrouded with dark and sinister conspiracy theories.
But is there any truth to the fantastic tales told by so many over the years about Area 51? Or might there be an extravagant government cover-up to obscure the real and highly classified activities of the base? Is the truth about the activities at Area 51 even stranger than fiction? Officials insist the secrecy surrounding sites like Area 51 is essential for national security, and the covert technology created and tested there has saved countless American lives. The infamous outpost is so top secret, it has been erased from maps since its inception.
After 60 years of secret operation, in July of 2003, the U.S. government publicly confirmed the existence of the military base. Today, Area 51 is officially described simply as an operating location for the development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems. Called The Box, there is a strictly enforced no-fly zone above the base. Some claim that The Box is the nexus of a so-called Nevada Triangle, where thousands of planes have mysteriously crashed and disappeared.
A sophisticated high-tech security system surrounds the massive base, ensuring that intruders will not penetrate the perimeter. Guards, known as Cammo Dudes, are authorized to use deadly force, when necessary, to stop any and all trespassers.
Some believe the security even stretches to public roads, where surveillance censors may be hidden. In June 1997, an article in magazine claimed that Area 51 had been closed down and abandoned. But many believe the top-secret work continues and, in fact, has expanded in recent years.
Over the past decade, satellite images have revealed new runways, hangars, buildings and radar facilities. And every day, secret so-called "Janet flights" carry workers from Las Vegas directly in and out of Area 51. Before stepping foot on the base, employees and their families undergo an intense background check to ensure they will maintain complete secrecy. But perhaps the most secure aspect of the base is the fact that even the workers don't really know what goes on there.
The veil of secrecy that surrounds Area 51 has fueled the conspiracy theories about what goes on there. Claims range from the testing of chemical and biological warfare weapons, to time-travel machines and even alien technology.
Could the secret research and development at Area 51 include extraterrestrial technology? If so, just what, or perhaps who is being hidden at Area 51?
February, 1980. Air Force Major Jesse Marcel made headlines across the country after giving a controversial interview about his eyewitness account of the infamous Roswell incident. Marcel claimed the military covered up the recovery of alien spaceships that crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, on July 8, 1947. Many speculate that the material recovered from the crash was taken to Area 51.
November, 1989. In a sensational interview with investigative reporter George Knapp, Physicist Bob Lazar reveals shocking details about his work in Area 51. Having worked at the base from 1988 to 1989, Lazar claimed to have seen nine mysterious discs in an area of the facility called Sector Four or S4. In 2004, biologist Dan Burisch corroborated the sensational claims of Bob Lazar. As a scientist who had also worked at Sector Four, Burisch said the super-secret facility housed not only nine extraterrestrial vehicles, but also an alien being.
Had Lazar and Burisch actually witnessed extraterrestrial technology at Sector Four? And if so, was there a link to the mysterious crash at Roswell in 1947?
In response to the extraterrestrial claims, the Air Force released an official report in 1994 stating the debris found and recovered at Roswell came from a top secret experiment called Project Mogul. The report claimed that accounts of alien aircraft were simply misidentified crashed military balloons that were used to detect radiation in the upper atmosphere.
Just a few years later in 1997, the Air Force issued another report, explaining that the alleged alien bodies were, in fact, dummies attached to parachutes as part of the high-altitude experiment.
Was the so-called alien spaceship really just a high-altitude balloon designed to detect radiation from Soviet nuclear tests?
Or are the government reports a smoke screen for an even bigger secret, one concerning covert military operations at Area 51?
Groom Lake, Nevada
Scoring the floor of the salt flat is what has become known as one of the longest airstrips in the world, measuring more than four miles from end to end. And if there were an it would most likely contain information about hundreds of military aircraft tested on the runways at Area 51. In recently declassified documents, the U.S. Air Force revealed that they had used the Groom Lake Site for a variety of classified activities. Many believe that this is an admission that the government used Area 51 to conduct top secret tests on the U-2 spy plane.
First taking flight on August 1, 1955, it was capable of soaring as high as 70,000 feet, beyond the reach of Soviet technology. It also had groundbreaking cameras and optics designed to take invaluable pictures of facilities, weapons and technology being developed by the enemy during the Cold War.
Seven years after creating and launching the U-2 at Area 51, Lockheed began testing their next reconnaissance aircraft at the base in April, 1962. Top secret and referred to only by its codename "Oxcart" for more than 40 years, program details only became available in 2007.
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