Just say the name to conjure up secrets, suspicious planes, and hidden alien corpses. Of all the mysterious locations, Area 51 is perhaps the most beloved by conspiracy theorists, who have placed ghost finds of aliens and even "footage" of the moon landing there (conspiracy theories never come alone).



But how did this slice of the desert about 100 miles from Las Vegas feed so many hoaxes over time? What has it really been of use and why is it so hidden? As is often the case, the reality is much more fascinating than urban legends.

Because this remote part of Nevada hides some secrets, but they are all exquisitely terrestrial ... Here are some interesting facts about Area 51 and its history.


1. IT REALLY EXISTS. 


The existence of Area 51 was officially recognized in 2013 when a document produced by two CIA historians was declassified in 1992. The document is the first to explicitly name the area (whose name was previously always hidden in black ink) and to indicate it. on a map. It confirms that several programs were conducted here to test secret military aircraft, including the spy plane that flew over the Soviet Union during the Cold War.


2. HOW WAS IT DISCOVERED?


 In 1955, CIA officials looking for a place to experiment with a new type of military aircraft invisible to radar (the U-2) flew over what looked like an old abandoned airstrip near Groom Lake, the dry bed of an ancient salt lake. The area, a former firing range used for training during World War II, was 160 km from Las Vegas and bordered by the Nevada Test Site, a site where more than 700 of the nuclear tests of the United States were carried out. Authority. It was so dangerous and isolated that no one would go that far, perfect for testing secret military technologies and training pilots.


3. WHY IS IT CALLED THAT?


 The origins of the name of this land belonging to the Nellis Air Force Base (a US military base that controls an area of ​​1.2 million hectares and 12,959 square kilometers of restricted airspace) are not very clear. It is believed to be derived from the grid numbering system used by the Nuclear Power Authority, which already owned a large area of ​​the Nevada desert where nuclear tests were carried out in the early 1950s.

The aseptic and bureaucratic name had to go unnoticed as much as possible and to make the place more appealing to connoisseurs, the more "exciting" term Paradise Ranch was also chosen. Curiously, this second denomination has been tarnished over time by the first, more cryptic.


4. WHY HAS IT BECOME A FAVORITE PLACE OF CONSPIRACY THEORETICS? 


As if nuclear testing and spy plane tests weren't terrifying enough, Area 51 went down in history as the symbol of the United States military's willingness to keep the truth about aliens hidden from the world.

In July 1947, the front page of the Roswell Daily Record referred to an alleged flying saucer captured on a ranch in the Roswell region and taken to Area 51 for further study. The US military said the mysterious object was actually a weather balloon. However, in September 1994, an official report revealed the true story: it was not a simple weather balloon, but a top-secret, high-altitude balloon system for detecting sound waves caused by Soviet nuclear tests. Roswell Events)

However, this location's true association with aliens exploded in the 1980s when a man named Robert Lazar told a Las Vegas broadcaster that he worked in an area called S-4 near Area 51, in the that the technology of the fallen flying saucers was studied.

His claims caused a stir but turned out to be false, as did the experiences of the alleged engineer: contrary to what was said, he had not studied at MIT or Caltech, nor had he worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.


5. UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS REALLY PASSED TO US.


 If Area 51 has been associated with UFOs on a number of occasions, it is primarily because of the U-2 military aircraft program that began at this location in 1955. These aircraft, used by the United States on reconnaissance missions during the Cold War, were invisible. for radar and capable of flying so high as to be unreachable by anti-aircraft: they could reach 18,000 meters of altitude, a height higher than that of any other plane. At that time, passenger planes reached an altitude of 6 km - no one thought that you could fly that high.

In addition, the U-2s appeared "shiny" for a curious optical effect. At the height at which they were flying, the Sun had not yet set: thus, they were illuminated, while pilots traveling at lower altitudes were already in darkness.

Many of the alleged UFO sightings were known to Air Force officials as U-2 evidence, but fueling superstitions was often easier than uncovering strictly confidential military matters.