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Area 51, Nevada
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    (1955- )
    Located within Nellis Air Force Base
    A.k.a Groom Lake, Dreamland, Paradise Ranch and The Box
    Estimated to have 1,000 people living on site and another thousand commuting from Las Vegas (2008)
    Used for development and testing of new aircraft, including the U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Stealth fighter
    According to the 'documentaries' 'Dreamland' and 'Area 51: The Alien Interview' it is also used by the government to reverse-engineer alien technology
    The US government did not admit to running a facility there until 2003. (Further declassified CIA documents were released on August 15, 2013).
    It does not appear on US government maps and satellite photos.
    Some observers have been detained for pointing cameras at the facility from public lands.
    Five civilian contractors sued the Air Force claiming they developed skin, liver and respiratory diseases from exposure to toxic chemicals at the site.
    House Intelligence Committee Chair Lee Hamilton told Lesley Stahl, 'The Air Force is classifying all information about Area 51 in order to protect themselves from a lawsuit.'
    Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have repeatedly issued Presidential Determinations exempting the site from environmental disclosure laws.
    For some reason, UFO buffs think weird lights over a location known to test experimental aircraft are evidence of something other than experimental aircraft.
    It has been featured in the film 'Independence Day,' the TV series 'X-Files' and 'Stargate SG-1' and the video games 'Tomb Raider 3' and 'Perfect Dark.'
    To promote tourism, Nevada dubbed the portion of State Route 375 running past Area 51 'the Extraterrestrial Highway' (1996).
    Some national security experts suggest that the experimental work done at Area 51 has been moved to other locations and that the continuing secrecy is a largely successful campaign of misdirection.

Credit: C. Fishel

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