What is Area 51?
The map and other documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted by Jeffrey T. Richelson, a senior fellow at the National Security Archives, in 2005.
National Security Archives
Why does everyone think there are aliens there?
There have been a handful of other people claiming they worked with, saw or heard something supernatural while working at Area 51. Combine that with the tantalizing reality of a top-secret military base in the middle of a craggy, otherworldly desert landscape, and, well, the imagination runs wild.
Have you seen this man?
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
What does the government say about it?
If there were real aliens, do you think the government would just straight up tell us?! People would lose their minds! You think a weird Facebook meetup meme is bad? Imagine if we knew that there were actually aliens there.
During a meeting with The Conway Daily Sun, Hillary Clinton jokingly pledged to look into UFOs.
Can you just … go there?
But just because you can’t — and definitely should not! — try to enter Area 51 doesn’t mean you can’t get your fill of UFO goodness nearby. In fact, the whole area is geared toward “The Truth is Out There” tourism, and includes several museums and points of interest along what is known as the Extraterrestrial Highway. Bet you can’t guess where that leads. (Hint: It rhymes with Schmoswell, Schmew Mexico.)
• The Alien Research Center in Lincoln County, Nevada
• Hiko, Nevada, an old mining town that’s home to a giant ET mural and something called “ET Jerky” that we don’t want to know about.
• Rachel, Nevada, the UFO Capital of the World
• The National Atomic Testing Museum, which leads monthly tours of the Nevada National Security Site near Area 51. It’s not Area 51 itself, but it’s close! And you won’t get arrested. It’s a win-win.
Are people genuinely planning on storming Area 51? Most likely not. It’s like the Tide Pod challenge of Facebook conspiracy theories: harmless as a joke but possibly deadly if you’re reckless enough to try. So don’t! Gnaw on some ET Jerky and browse UFO message boards instead. Or just look up into the vast, twinkling blackness of a Nevada night sky. You might see your own UFO.