Area 51 is an American military installation located at Groom Lake, Southern Nevada. Located in Groom Lake, the middle of the arid southern Nevada desert, Area 51 is a United States Air Force installation which has gained notoriety due to its suspected link to Unidentified Flying Objects . Area 51 has become the focal point of contemporary conspiracy theories because of its classified nature and its link to classified research on planes. Area 51 has been the focus of extraterrestrial conspiracy theories in the United States for decades. For decades, the rumors surrounding U.S. military compound Area 51 have inspired the wildest theories of what is within the secretive area. Over the years, those beliefs have been thoroughly mythologized in popular culture, becoming a deeply embedded part of extraterrestrial lore. For most people, the alien lore surrounding Area 51 is only one small facet of the larger, broader popular fascination with the possible existence of extraterrestrials and UFOs--mysterious, but arguably not sinister. Rumors about Area 51s links to extraterrestrials had been circulating before Whistleblower Bob Lazar was interviewed, and had been around since 1980, when Charles Berlitz and William Moore published The Roswell Incident. Rumors about extraterrestrials at the site were fed by a U.S. citizen, Bob Lazar, who claimed he had worked on UFOs around the military facility as early as 1989. Many reports of sightings came through Air Force Blue Book, an investigation of UFO sightings, via air traffic controllers and letters back to the United States. In July 1947, the United States Air Force began a UFO sighting investigation program called Project BLUE BOOK. Although Air Force officials knew that UFO sightings in this region were testing of the U-2 plane, they were unable to actually inform the public. According to the CIA, test flights by Lockheeds U-2, and later military planes, were responsible for a lot of the UFO sightings in the area. The testing of new, clandestine military aircraft is probably responsible for most connections between Area 51 and UFOs, particularly considering the fact that the term UFO does not refer to an extraterrestrial craft directly, despite what is commonly perceived in popular culture. According to UFO enthusiasts, July 1947 is the date the US Air Force is said to have recovered an extraterrestrial spacecraft -- and its inhabitants -- near Roswell, New Mexico. Reports from the 1970s and 1980s suggested that the military was involved with conducting autopsies on Mars and recovering extraterrestrial spacecraft. The military gave only partial accounts of what happened, seeding decades of conspiracy theories built around Roswell as the site of a crashed extraterrestrial landing. As in the efforts more recently, the military worked to establish if there was a presence on Earth of alien forces - or whether sightings might point to some unexpected advances in aviation and engineering from a rival power. Conspiracy theories surrounding the base assume Area 51 was used to test out alien technologies recovered from supposed crash sites, such as the famed one at Roswell, New Mexico . Conspiracy theories surrounding the base are fuelled by the fact that the base has been a secret for years, and is still not accessible by the general public. The United States did not even publicly acknowledge that Area 51 existed until 2013, when the declassified CIA reports were released. Radford said that there are still legal reasons, both governmental and military, to keep underlying activities a secret. The line from government officials that details about Area 51 are classified for the purposes of national security is seen as just more evidence the military is hiding extraterrestrials or extraterrestrial spacecraft. The U.S. military has issued official notices for anyone planning on entering the heavily guarded region. The first is that the local authorities certainly are not going to allow anybody to approach Area 51. The deserted base, which is completely off limits to civilians, has long been at the centre of conspiracies by alien enthusiasts and UFOlogists - people looking for UFOs. Area 51, located in Nevada, has plenty of history, having been associated with extraterrestrials nearly from its founding. Today, Area 51 and the larger Nevada Test and Training Range Complex are both parts of the Nevada National Security Site , which is what the CIA calls the Groom Lake Airport and the Homey Airfield. Located 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Area 51 is contained within the Air Force-operated Nevada Test and Training Range -- an enormous, government-controlled plot of land that is about as big as Connecticut. Area 51 is the general designation of the highly classified U.S. Air Force installation located within the Nevada Test and Training Range. During World War II, Area 51 was used by the United States Army Air Corps as an airborne weapons range. The site is already familiar terrain to military personnel, having served as a WWII airborne gunnery range. It was only in 2013 that the U.S. Army formally confirmed that the site existed, although it had been used since WWII for the development of military and surveillance aircraft. Aside from a number of documentaries made on the subject, focusing on a man named Robert Lazare and a link, Area 51 has been a popular setting for more openly fictional films and TV shows. A man named Robert Lazar told Las Vegas TV journalist George Knapp he had seen post-mortem photos of extraterrestrials at the facility, and the U.S. government used the facility to study recovered extraterrestrial spacecraft.