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Area 51: Never Before Seen Photos of America's Secret Base

The 1947 crash of a disc-shaped aircraft in Roswell kicked off UFO speculation worldwide. In fact, the disc was a Russian spy plane -- one of many eye-opening revelations in the new book "AREA 51: An Uncensored History."

Area 51: 1945 G2 Parabola

A 1945 report on airplanes designed by Germany's Horten brothers included this photograph of an unusually shaped parabolic aircraft. Two years later, after the crash of a foreign disc-shaped aircraft in New Mexico, in July 1947, the Counter Intelligence Corps embarked on a manhunt across Western Europe to locate the Horten brothers and their so-called flying disc.

National Archives

Area 51: Map of the Nevada Test and Training Range

The Nevada Test and Training Range, a federally restricted land parcel slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut. Area 51 and the Nevada Test Site are located inside.

Annie Jacobson

Area 51: Groom Lake, Nevada, in 1917

Groom Lake, Nevada, in 1917. Once little more than a dry lake bed in the southern Nevada desert, what is now known as Area 51 has become the most secretive military facility in the world.

Special Collections, University of Nevada–Reno

Area 51: Trailers at Area 51

Trailers at Area 51 where U-2 pilots like Hervey Stockman and Tony Bevacqua slept while learning how to fly the CIA’s first spy plane.

Laughlin Heritage Foundation/CIA

Area 51: U2 spy plane transport

Part of a U-2 spy plane seen in 1955 coming out of a transport airplane at Area 51 -- where the secret craft was designed and perfected. The CIA’s first spy plane was so secret that Air Force pilots transporting it to Area 51 in pieces inside larger airplanes, would fly to a set of coordinates over the Mojave Desert and contact a UHF frequency called Sage Control for orders. Only when the aircraft was a few hundred feet off the ground would runway lights flash on.

Laughlin Heritage Foundation/CIA

Area 51: Stalin's Secret UFO Team

Alleged to be Stalin’s secret UFO study team are (standing left to right) Sergei Korolev, chief missile designer and inventor of Sputnik; Igor Kurchatov, father of Russia’s atomic bomb; and Mstislav Keldysh, mathematician, theoretician, and space pioneer.

Collection of Museum of M. V. Keldysh, Russia

Area 51: Operation Paperclip scientists

"Operation Paperclip" scientists at Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1946. Until 1945, these men worked for Adolf Hitler, but as soon as the war ended these “rare minds” began working for the American military and various intelligence organizations, the details of which remain largely classified. Rocket scientist Wernher von Braun is in the front row, seventh from the right with his hand in his pocket.

NASA

Area 51: Area 12 of the Nevada Test Site

In Area 12 of the Nevada Test Site -- a separate though related nearby military facility -- workmen enter an underground atomic bomb tunnel through its mouth, summer 1957.

National Nuclear Security Administration

AREA 51 Book Cover

The new book "AREA 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base" by Annie Jacobsen published in May. It is the first book based on interviews with the scientist, pilots, and engineers—74 in total—who provide a unprecedented and sometimes horrifying look into a critical, secret chapter in American history. 

Little, Brown and Company

Area 51: Never Before Seen Photos of America's Secret Base

The 1947 crash of a disc-shaped aircraft in Roswell kicked off UFO speculation worldwide. In fact, the disc was a Russian spy plane -- one of many eye-opening revelations in the new book "AREA 51: An Uncensored History."

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