Ethan's Weird History
Late at night when you look up at the illuminated cosmos, on a chilly fall evening wearing your favorite Patagonia synchilla, it is hard not to be filled with a sense of wonder...
Space can be breathtaking. The incomprehensible amount of stars, planets, and emptiness is a bubbling cauldron of mystery. Given the amount of time humanity has spent trying to map and study all things interstellar, it is quite surprising how little we actually know about the vast ocean of space. So surprising, in fact, that it is also a little bit strange. If uncomfortable truths of extraterrestrial exploration were made known to the public it'd be fair to say that a good portion of the world's population would be very startled. Such information even existing is pure speculation but in the United States there is one mysterious Air Force base thought to contain such secrets. The base is known simply as Area 51.
The history of Area 51 had been muddled in mystery and intrigue for the better part of 50 years. During that time it was nearly impossible to find any acknowledgment from the government that the facility even existed. However, that did not stop curious and inquisitive individuals from attempting to get a peek for themselves at what may be going on at the ominous base. UFO sightings surrounding the area became common place as many saw unexplainable floating lights over the desert sky. Theories of crash landed alien space craft became rampant. All of this speculation came to a head in 1989 when a man named Robert Scott Lazar publicly claimed to have worked on reverse engineering an extraterrestrial space craft in the early part of the 1980s. Lazar openly spoke in an interview with George Knapp on a Las Vegas-based TV station KLAS about his time working at the facility. Lazar's testimony is fantastic and gives the appearance of being ripped straight from a science fiction novel. To name a few: Flying saucers, jet propulsion cars, government cover-ups and even more secretive bases hidden near Area 51 where the actual testing is conducted.
The credibility of Lazar is extremely questionable. His credentials would be very impressive and could merit much respect in the scientific community but there are no records of him actually attending any of the universities he claims to have studied at. In a similar fashion to Area 51, no one seemed to acknowledge his existence. Regardless of the illusory truth behind Area 51, the very idea of the base started a cultural phenomenon with the obsession of the unknown.
So uh, speaking of truth, we should probably get to the now declassified cold hard facts of Area 51. In 2013, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, reports detailing the development of the U-2 spy plane became public. As it turns out, our favorite patch of the Mojave Desert was used to engineer and design the first prototypes. To familiarize you with a U-2, forget about Bono and the Edge, it was the first plane that could covertly reach altitudes of 60,000 feet. In 1955 when this testing began that would have definitely seemed otherworldly to most of the population in the entire world, let alone just the United States. It is easy to see how the speculation arose, and even easier to see how it has become interwoven with the mysterious and otherworldly mythology of government secrecy.
For a time Area 51 was thought of as the face of conspiracy in the United States. As we have moved forward as a nation into the 21st century there are seemingly larger issues to be worried about such as sketchy emails, Anthony Wiener, and Donald Trump's game of thrones influenced campaign. Culturally it has become the norm to accept the possibility of life on other planets. It would be foolish not to. While the sparking interest in Area 51 has seemed to settle down a few notches, government protection of the facility has not. The facility is still highly guarded and just as impenetrable as it was in the 20th century. It almost begs the question, if the U-2 was being developed in 1955 what the heck could they be working on now? Time travel? Anti-gravity mechanisms? Dark matter production? How to get rid of Bono and The Edge forever? Maybe we'll know for sure in another 57 years. Keep your tin foil hats warm and stay woke my homies.