Area 51 has been the subject of the most debated chapters in U.S. military and extraterrestrial history.
On Thursday, the CIA revealed major information which may end many of the debates.
The details and origins of Area 51, which is located about 125 miles away from Las Vegas, were revealed in a 355-page report from the Central Intelligence Agency. The report, entitled "The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954-1974", was furnished in thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request from George Washington University's National Security Archive.
The report acknowledges the ongoing existence of Area 51 since the 1950s. When people in Nevada believed that unidentified flying saucers were flying around the desert, in reality they were just test planes that the U.S. government were testing out in secluded stretches of desert in Nevada. U-2 spy planes, which could fly as high as 60,000 feet, were planes used for surveillance around the world including during the Cold War in the 1970s and early 1980s. They were lightweight single-engine planes that were equipped with spy cameras that could take pictures from high above without being seen.
"To achieve intercontinental range, the aircraft had to carry a large supply of fuel," the reports stated, "yet it also had to be light enough to attain the ultrahigh altitudes needed to be safe from interception."
The fact that many believed that the U-2 were UFO's makes perfect sense according to the report.
"If a U-2 was airborne in the vicinity of the airliner ... its silver wings would catch and reflect the rays of the sun and appear to the airliner pilot, 40,000 feet below, to be fiery objects," said the reports.
According to CIA report, "U-2 and later OXCART flights accounted for more than one-half of all UFO reports during the late 1950's and most of the 1960's."
While the reports states that Area 51 was a testing ground for government aircraft, there was no mention of alleged alien autopsies or a bunch of spaceship junk metal lying around, however.
Known by a number of names including "The Ranch," "Paradise Ranch," or "Watertown Strip," Area 51 has been the subject of many books and interviews about what is really stored there. Many say that there are aliens at the site and/or other government secrets that the public does not know about. The report attempts to paint the picture of a regular military testing sight that has nothing exciting or even that important happening there right now.
Jeffrey T. Richelson, a senior fellow at the National Security Archives who requested the information, believes that the government declassifying this information may be a new attitude in the government releasing more information in the future.
"It marks an end of official secrecy about the facts of Area 51," said Richelson. "It opens up the possiblity that future accounts of this and other aerial projects will be less redaced, more fully explained in terms of their presence in Area 51."
Will this report finally make UFO fans stop their theories? Probably not but it does give some insight into the reconnaissance and spy programs that the U.S. were involved in during the height of some of our biggest moments like The Cold War and our issues with Cuba in the 1960s.
Mulder and Scully probably thinks it's all a conspiracy, however.
To check out the whole report, click here.