Deep in the heart of the Nevada desert, one of America’s presidential Boeing 707s landed at a mysterious, secret base.
The date is unknown — possibly late 1950s or early 1960s — but the account is now legend.
According to the story related by a man who served on board that aircraft, it carried a group of US military brass for an unusual meeting.
Looking outside the aircraft’s windows, he witnessed an uholy sight — a group of what are now described as alien greys, awaiting the group.
He recalled that the hangar walls were slanted, and coloured the same as the rock that it had been blasted out of.
Sworn to secrecy for a lifetime, he would only reveal his story on his deathbed.
As the story goes, America cut a deal with the aliens — alien technology in exchange for allowing them to abduct, but not harm, Americans.
Thus was born the UFO legend of Area 51.
Sources say President Carter was shown the film of this meeting, and walked out of the room completely devastated.
Now, you may, or may not, want to believe all that.
But one thing is undeniable — decades later, in the 1980s, a scientist named Bob Lazar would come forward, claiming that the US military was attempting to back-engineer alien saucers at Area S4, a secret area within Area 51 called Papoose Lake.
Adding to his credibility, he would correctly predict the existence of Element 115, which reportedly helps power the saucer’s reactor.
Element 115 — which does not exist naturally on earth — features a gravity wave that extends beyond its atom, which can be amplified and directed.
This, says Lazar, is how flying saucers fly.
Also called Groom Lake, Dreamland and Paradise Ranch, the dry lake bed facility serves as a remote experimental test range for the US Air Force, and everything about it remains highly classified.
President Clinton even passed a law which waives the Constitutional rights of anyone who dares enter the base. The latter invokes an automatic $5,000 fine and a possible jail term.
Pickup trucks driven by “cammo dudes,” Black Hawk helicopter patrols and high-tech detection equipment guard its environs.
However, having been the subject of persistent rumours of possible extraterrestrial activity, in 2019 more than 3.5 million people around the world registered for a Facebook event to storm Area 51 to “see them aliens,” reasoning that the feds “can’t stop all of us.”
So much for secrecy.
The security considerations that led to the creation of Area 51, however, are simple enough to explain and not farfetched: the US military wanted to construct a testing range for its experimental aircraft.
UFOlogy aside, the range saw early testing of some of the most iconic American planes of the Cold War era, including the Lockheed U-2 spy plane, SR-71 Blackbird and B-2 Spirit.
In fact, Area 51 helped America win the Cold War.
Although the advent of secret desert facilities has been somewhat hampered by satellite photography, other countries with advanced aerospace programs face the same considerations, and consequently, many of them operate similar facilities.
For instance, Russia maintains a missile test range at Kapustin Yar on a flat desert plain north of the Caucasus Mountains. Curiously, Kapustin Yar shares Area 51’s association with aliens, and has been referred to as “Russia’s Roswell.”
Satellite footage from Maxar Technologies has revealed that a three-mile-long airstrip has been constructed, and according to NPR a number of buildings have sprung up around it.
Two additional runways have since been built, forming an equilateral triangle and allowing planes to take off and land in three separate directions. The area’s outline, and the runways, can be seen on Google Maps.
Located on the edge of China’s former nuclear weapons test range at Lop Nur, the facility’s purpose seems to be the same as Area 51’s: test flights of Chinese aircraft can take place at the facility, presumably far from the prying eyes of the United States, or anyone else for that matter.
The new facilities now under construction indicate the runway’s role may be expanding.
“This seems to be something that is more than just, ‘We’re coming here for the weekend,’” says Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer with the Center for Astrophysics Harvard and Smithsonian who tracks satellites and spacecraft.
China is reportedly working on a stealth plane to match the US B-2; that plane, the H-20, could see use at the Xinjiang facility.
Other “black” projects could involve drones, artificial intelligence and sixth-generation combat aircraft.
The H-20 could, depending upon its technological configuration, bring a new level of threat to the United States. According to media reports, the new supersonic stealth bomber could “double” China’s strike range.
But keeping such projects secret has become incredibly difficult, according to the New Zealand Herald.
“An important component of security competition over the next decade will be the challenge of ‘hiding and finding,’ especially the struggle to identify the locations and activities of adversaries such as China and Russia,” a recent Center for Strategic & International Studies report states.
“This challenge entails identifying the locations and activities of adversaries, including the movement of their armies, navies, air forces, and intelligence operatives.”
The Chinese Embassy in Washington declined to comment about the site.
Sources: the National Interest, New Zealand Herald, WBHM.org