Area 51 Facts
Area 51 Facts

41 Mysterious Area 51 Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published April 28, 2021
  • Area 51 was built on a dry lake bed in the desert approximately 75 miles north of Las Vegas.[7]
  • Area 51 was built next to the Nevada Test Site, where over 900 nuclear weapons were deployed between 1951 and 1992.[7]
  • In declassified documents, all but two of the references to Area 51 have been either redacted or blacked out. Those two exceptions are thought to have been mistakes.[7]
  • The CIA has declassified information about only two of their projects—both spy planes—undertaken at Groom Lake, the location of Area 51.[7]
  • The original purpose for which Area 51 was built was the advancement of military science and technology.[7]
  • Entrance to Area 51 requires, first, an invitation from one of the highest members of the US military or intelligence agencies; second, the highest level of security clearance there is; and third, the taking of a legally binding oath of secrecy.[7]
  • During the daytime, heat distortion reflected off of the desert floor hides Area 51 from binocular view.[7]
  • Area 51 Classified
    What goes on inside Area 51 is strictly "need to know"
  • When President Clinton signed an executive order requiring the Atomic Energy Commission to provide records for an oversight committee, he was denied access to records pertaining to programs at Area 51, on the grounds that even the president did not have a "need to know."[7]
  • The first public confirmation of Area 51 took place in 1989, when Robert Scott Lazar, a former employee, revealed its existence on a news broadcast.[7]
  • The land surrounding Area 51 is under federal jurisdiction and includes several mines. In the 1950s, one miner was so determined in his refusal to vacate that land, claiming federal mining rights, that the government finally gave him Area 51 security clearance under an oath of secrecy.[7]
  • There are tennis courts and a baseball field on the premises of Area 51, for employee use.[7]
  • The Area 51 on-premises bar, Sam's Place, is named for the former pilot who founded it.[7]
  • Bob Lazar, the first former Area 51 employee to break his oath of secrecy, claims that he was assigned to reverse engineer a UFO, and that he may have seen an alien in a laboratory room.[7]
  • The name "Area 51" comes from how it is referenced on Atomic Energy Commission maps.[3]
  • In 2013, the US Government finally confirmed the existence of Area 51.[3]
  • One of Area 51's primary functions is as a test site for spy planes, which could explain the many claims of UFO sightings around the facility.[3]
  • Area 51 Birds
    The jokesters behind the "Birds Aren't Real" satire envisioned Area 51 as the site where the bird-killing planes were secretely made
  • The "Birds Aren't Real" joke conspiracy theory movement claims that specialized B-52 planes were built at Area 51 decades ago in order to kill all of the birds in the country.[2]
  • The official government name for Area 51 is The Nevada Test and Training Range.[1]
  • Area 51 and Roswell, New Mexico, are linked together in the popular mind because the aliens that supposedly crashed their UFO in Roswell are thought to have been taken to Area 51.[1]
  • A 2019 poll reported that 54% of American adults said they thought it likely that the government has more knowledge about UFOs—a supposed special item of interest at Area 51—than they have revealed.[1]
  • In 1996, former employees of Area 51 filed a claim against the Department of Defense for violations of federal law in the storage and disposal of nuclear waste.[1]
  • Photos of Area 51 taken by a Russian satellite were made public in 2000.[1]
  • The first US president to refer to Area 51 in public was President Barak Obama.[1]
  • In 2019, two Dutch men were arrested near the site of Area 51; they later pleaded guilty to trespassing, admitting they knew they weren't allowed on the premises.[1]
  • Would-be Area 51 sightseers must make a 10-hour journey involving four wheelers and hiking, just to get a glimpse of the highly-guarded base's perimeter.[7]
  • Area 51 Location
    Dedication is required for getting even a distant glimpse

  • In 2019, a public invitation on Facebook called for a massive collective gathering to storm Area 51, reasoning that "They Can't Stop All of Us." Of the millions of people who responded to the online invite, fewer than 50 showed up in Nevada on the date of the event.[10]
  • Facebook user Matty Roberts received millions of responses to his "Storm Area 51" public event. Before the event took place, however, he made a public announcement asking attendees to refrain from actually trying to approach the facility.[10]
  • It is illegal to fly over Area 51.[9]
  • The runways at Area 51 are around 12,000 feet long—long enough to be seen in satellite images.[9]
  • Many of the employees working at Area 51 live in Las Vegas and use charter flights to commute to work.[9]
  • Area 51 is thought to be home to some of the most advanced espionage programs in the world.[9]
  • Some people claim to have been abducted, and subsequently returned, by aliens while in the vicinity of Area 51.[9]
  • The United States Air Force has stated that it conducts open-air training for its servicemen at Area 51.[9]
  • In a sixth-season episode of The X-Files, agents Scully and Mulder visit Area 51. While there, Mulder's consciousness is somehow switched with that of another character, forcing them to find a way to return to their own bodies.[5]
  • Area 51 UFO
    The rumors surrounding Area 51 grew exponentially after Lazar's claims
  • Bob Lazar, the first former employee to publicly break his Area 51 oath of secrecy, has made two documentaries alleging that the base is covering up the existence of aliens. One of the documentaries includes footage of something Lazar claims is an alien spacecraft.[8]
  • Area 51 is one of the world's largest air bases.[8]
  • The Discovery Channel's documentary "Return to Area 51" is about air force technology—with no mention of aliens or UFOs.[8]
  • The blockbuster hit Independence Day features Area 51 as the rendezvous place from which the US president sends out the force that defeats alien invaders.[8]
  • Area 51 was used as the base of operations for the team that successfully assassinated terrorist Osama Bin Laden.[8]
  • In a White House event honoring Shirley MacLaine, then-President Barak Obama joked that he always called MacLaine to verify what was really happening at Area 51, a reference to MacLaine's public claims of having had encounters with UFOs and aliens.[6]
  • The "Storm Area 51" Facebook event received notice from such celebrities as Lizzo from Juice, country singer Lil Nas X, Jonas Brother Kevin, and action movie star Danny Trejo.[4]
  • Mysterious Area 51 INFOGRAPHIC
    Area51 Infographic Thumbnail

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