Friday, May 25, 2012

Area 51: the Google Earth Tour

Just one other sign that the digital age has benefited our lives.

It used to be that if you wanted to peek down into Area 51, you had to climb a mountain known as Freedom Ridge.  Then the government confiscated that land and rendered it off limits. 

But now, thanks to the Google Earth app and the proliferation of satellite photography, one can look over the entirety of Area 51 and the Nellis Test Range from the comfort of their own computer.  Err, the surface area, anyway.  I mean, you're not going to see any black triangles or other UFO-worthy objects sitting out in the open on the tarmac.  Anything that is truly amazing is going to be deep underground.  Nevertheless, it's still worth a spin around the base.  You can actually zoom in fairly close and get detailed looks at the surface structures, like hangars, towers, and roads that lead into the sides of mountains.  There are even two F-16s on one of the aprons, just waiting for anyone to get too close either by air or by foot.

To the Northwest of the main base, one observant Google Earth operator noticed yet another airstrip.  It's not as large or as fancy as the ones at Area 51 proper.  Then again, the Area 51 runways might just be the largest in the world.  This other airstrip has a few small structures around it and what might possibly be a SAM site (Surface to Air Missile).  There are also aircraft on this runway.  Aircraft that although not especially exotic in appearance are still planes that I cannot identify...and I am familiar with just about everything in the U.S. inventory.

So that got me thinking.  What other security-sensitive sites could be unintentionally exposed on Google Earth?  Could I ingeminate the process that allowed that one intrepid user to find the mystery airfield near Area 51?  A mere cursory search has shown that hunting for these locations on Google Earth is a full-on hobby for geeks out there such as me.  Through Google Earth, a British tabloid located a secret nuclear facility in Scotland in 2010.  Indeed the base is home to the Royal Navy's fleet of Trident-armed submarines.  Cool, huh? 

You can also look over Khotilov, a classified airbase in Russia.  Though if it's so "classified," I don't understand why that article I just linked you to exists.  In theory, the secrecy is due to the fact that the base's primary mission is to protect the airspace over Moscow.

So howzabout Pine Gap in Australia?  This facility is a satellite tracking and intelligence-gathering station in the dead center of the Australian outback.  Like most other bases that are held to high secrecy, Pine Gap has long had UFO lore connected to it.  You can see the Google Earth view here.

I've been probing around, trying to get a look at Archuleta Mesa near Dulce, New Mexico by that is proving to be problematic.  Every time someone provides a link the link is dead.  Ditto when someone provides actual geographic coordinates.  You can see that as a conspiracy theory or me not knowing what I'm doing.  Personally, I'm going to bet on the latter.

Looks like I have a new pastime.

For more on my fascination with and visit to Area 51, click here.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jntweets


  1. On Google+, Tribal_Gothic said: "About eight years ago (when satellite views of this area were blocked) Russia posted some Hi-rez images of Area 51 from their satellite ;)"

    I remember those! I think one of the lawyers in the Area 51 lawsuit trotted the pics out when the Air Force kept insisting the location didn't exist.

  2. On Google+, Tribal_Gothic said: "These days, per Area 51 - even wikipedia tells where Janet air flies to..."

    I was just zooming around there on Google Earth. Area 51 has a tennis court and a baseball diamond. I'm serious folks, you can play baseball and tennis at Area 51.

  3. On Google+, Tribal_Gothic said: "A tennis court and a baseball diamond..? Gotta keep them Aliens busy !"


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