Area 51 is also called Groom Lake, Paradise Ranch, and Homey Airport. But if you're not working for the military, then you probably just associate Area 51 with aliens and dark matter the government is hiding. And thanks to the recent Netflix documentary, Bob Lazar Area 51 & Flying Saucers and a certain Facebook event involving storming the Area 51 grounds, the question marks surrounding this mysterious base are at an all-time high.
While we may think we have an idea of what Area 51 is really about, its history is far more complicated and deeper than we could even imagine. In short, something tells us the government is not too happy about all the rumors and hysteria flooding around this space. If you're curious about Area 51, we have 10 facts to know before the aliens find you!
11 It All Started Thanks To Robert Lazar
Thanks to a man named Robert Lazar, the hysteria and mystery around Area 51 was heightened. In the late '80s, Lazar made some outrageous claims that not only did Area 51 exist but it was a site where the US Air Force dissected UFOs along with other highly sensitive information.
Lazar also noted that he had an extensive education from both MIT and Caltech, which gave him the knowledge to perform his duties inside Area 51. As it turns out though, there was no record that he even attended–let alone graduated—from those schools... Nor has he worked for the government or the laboratories he claimed.
10 You Cannot Access Area 51
If you look on the map you can find Area 51 just three hours north of Las Vegas. But in terms of finding Area 51 while walking or driving, God speed.
Considering it's a testing facility for the US Air Force, it's heavily guarded with men with guns, fenced-off, and has control systems everywhere protecting the land. That doesn't sound like the most exciting job. However, they are always on high alert since the secretive area gets so much attention.
9 Trespassing Will Get You A Hefty Fine
If you are so brazen as to trespass on to Area 51, you'll be welcomed with a hefty fine and some not-so-friendly-guards.
Realistically, you can drive up the gates surrounding Area 51, but you'll be turned away. You're not even supposed to take photographs of the area.
If you do somehow get on to the grounds, civilians will be gifted a $1,000 fine and a few months in prison. If that doesn't scare you away, what would?
8 Working Conditions Were Once Not Ideal
In the late '90s, just after Robert Lazar made his claims, a few Area 51 workers took a meeting with a lawyer to describe their harmful working conditions and tried taking the testing facility to court over them.
As it turns out, the US government wasn't storing their hazardous equipment properly, leaving some of the workers feeling sick and having lung issues. In the lawsuit, the court needed to know what kind of hazardous waste was blowing in the air that was affecting the workers, and yet it wasn't disclosed.
7 What's The Deal With All The UFO Sightings?
After Lazar made his bold claims about working on these UFOs, other people have also claimed to have seen flying saucers. Was the government experimenting with aliens and learning technology from their space crafts?
Apparently, the "flying saucer" everyone saw was actually the test flight of Lockheed U-2; and aircraft that can fly much higher than the airplanes we're familiar with.
6 Find The Black Mailboxes
After Area 51 became more and more familiar to people around the US, there were thousands of tourists who tried to get as close as they could to the testing facility in hopes of seeing a UFO. And according to Mental Floss, one worker—who claims to have worked on these flying saucers—says the best place to see a UFO is at the black mailboxes.
The row of black mailboxes is about 12 miles away and was actually once a single mailbox, but after tourists came to see alien activity, the owner of said mailbox added another mailbox for "alien mail" to please these UFO enthusiasts (and to keep his mail safe).
5 The Military Once Try To Rebrand Area 51 By Having Its Members Move To The Base
Back when Area 51 was branded an alien base where the US Air Force was conspiring with aliens, the government tried to assure citizens it was just a training facility for aircraft.
They stated that Area 51 was so safe that its workers could actually live on base, which is when they brought in rows of trailers for its military members to live in with their families. To make the area sound more enticing for other military members who didn't necessarily want to live in the middle of the desert, they called it "Paradise Ranch."
4 Employees Of Area 51 Commuted Via Aircraft
It's not likely that Paradise Ranch worked as well as Area 51 would have liked, causing most of its workers to live off-base... somewhere (around the desert).
According to USA Today, Area 51 workers got to enter the testing facility by meeting at a small airport in Las Vegas where they're whisked away to an undisclosed location before entering Area 51.
3 September 20, 2019: Storm Area 51
If you're on Facebook, then you're probably familiar with the event "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All Of Us," set to take place on September 20th of this year. While the Facebook event is written in a playful way, there's no telling how many alien fanatics will take this seriously.
The event got in contact with thousands of people and made a ton of movement in the media, which then required the government to step in. Per CNN, the US Air Force stated the following message in regard to the event: "[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."
2 Area 51 Is Massive
With a testing facility, runways, and a lake, Area 51 is pretty massive, surrounded by incredibly guarded military folk.
The base alone is around six by 10 miles; the area designated for restricted airspace is around 23 by 25 miles long; and Groom Lake (which is mainly dry, being in the desert and all) is around 4, 400 feet!
Due to the sheer size of the facility and the grounds, it makes sense that so many are wondering what in the world the military is doing at Area 51.
1 The Government Hid Area 51 Until 2013
Although Lazar made Area 51's identity known in the late '80s, the government never really gave people the green light on its identity until 2013.
We discovered it officially thanks to a man named Jeffrey T. Richelson, who filed a Freedom of Information Act regarding Area 51 and was given the rightful documents surrounding it. However, Mental Floss made note that there was nothing regarding aliens in any of the files of paperwork he was granted.