Name given to a famous 'secret' military base located in the United States over 80 miles to the north of Las Vegas in Nevada and situated near to dried up Groom lake. Officially the existence of an 'Area 51' has been generally denied, in practice the area is part of an extenstive training and testing range run by the United States Air Force.
Structure and purpose
Area 51 is home to a number of buildings, hangars and an active airstrip. While the ground and airspace around the base is restricted it hasn't stopped enthusiasts from finding ways to obtain photographs from a distance. Satellite images have also become available showing the layout of the base in more detail.
It is believed that the base has been used as a facility for developing and testing new experimental aircraft and aviation technologies and is famously connected to the UFO phenomenon through conspiracy theories suggesting that the United States is testing either captured alien spacecraft or new vehicles based on alien technology. The area around Area 51 including the small town of Rachel on the aptly named 'Extraterrestrial Highway' is a popular tourist destination and is steeped in UFO culture. Tours taking visitors to the famous 'trespassers will be shot' signs at the very edge of the restricted area have been a popular attraction