The Extraterrestrial Highway near Rachel, Nevada.
The Extraterrestrial Highway near Rachel, Nevada. Photo by AP
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The U.S. government has finally confirmed the existence of Area 51 in Nevada, but it makes no mention of little green men or alien spaceships. The government acknowledged the existence of the mysterious aviation test site known as Area 51, a remote installation about 130 kilometers northwest of Las Vegas, in a newly declassified CIA history of its U-2 spy plane program.

After decades of extreme secrecy surrounding the site, stoking conspiracy theories about UFOs and experiments on alien spacecraft, the CIA lifted its veil on Area 51 in response to a public records request from George Washington University scholars in Washington, D.C.

Publicly released online on Thursday by the university's National Security Archive, the 400-page CIA history contains the first deliberate official references to Area 51, also known as Groom Lake, as a site developed by the intelligence agency in the 1950s to test fly the high-altitude U-2 reconnaissance plane.

Among the more sensational pieces of UFO conspiracy lore linked to Area 51 is that the remains of a flying saucer that supposedly crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947, were brought to the site for reverse engineering experiments that attempted to replicate the extraterrestrial spacecraft.

Archive senior fellow Jeffrey Richelson said the CIA document makes no mention of any such theories.