In Brief

Area 51 Exists! But Where Are the Aliens?

Warning signs tell people to stay away from Area 51.
Warning signs tell people to stay away from Area 51. (Image credit: SipaPhoto |

All right, conspiracy fans, you were right. There really is an Area 51.

For the first time, the U.S. government has publicly acknowledged that it has a facility called "Area 51" in Nevada near Groom Lake, about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas. But the site served as a proving ground for the U-2 spy plane, and not a secret storage room for aliens and spaceships, as has long been maintained by conspiracy groups. George Washington University's National Security Archive made the clandestine find after receiving documents related to the infamous military base during a Freedom of Information Act Request submitted in 2005. The Archive posted the documents online on Thursday (Aug. 15).

Follow on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.