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Area 51 has long been associated with government secrets about extraterrestrials. According to SG-1, the rumors are partially true: Area 51 is a secret Air Force base devoted to advanced research and development projects. Following the creation of the Stargate program, alien artifacts and technology brought back to Earth are stored and researched at Area 51. A particular focus is to reverse-engineer alien starship technology. At one point or another, Colonel Harold Maybourne, Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter and Dr. Rodney McKay have all been employed at Area 51. According to Maybourne, before the Stargate there were never actually any aliens kept at the facility, despite popular rumors.
Area 51 contains labs for medical research, geology, space metallurgy, artifacts study, manufacturing plants for the F-302 fighter-interceptor's and drydocks for the 304's. In these labs, scientists focused on a potential cure for Alzheimer's disease that SG-5 brought back. Other projects included: studying the two Goa'uld Death Gliders procured by SG-1 from Apophis' attack on Earth and pouring over Dr. Daniel Jackson's notes on Heliopolis about "the meaning of life stuff". (SG1: "Touchstone")
Because alien technology has occasionally gone missing from Area 51 over the years, security measures were significantly increased in 2004. No one is allowed to bring anything in or out. No computers, no cell phones, not even their street clothes. All personnel are subject to a thorough search and scan every time they leave. (SG1: "Endgame") By 2006, security had slackened enough for Dr. Rodney McKay to bring a cell phone in. (SGA: "The Return, Part 1")
Nellis Air Force Base is a real military base found outside Las Vegas, Nevada.
In 1998, SG-1 traveled to Area 51 to check the status of Earth's second Stargate, supposedly under 24-hour guard, after finding evidence that it may have recently been used to steal the Touchstone from Madrona. Upon their arrival, they discovered the gate to be fake and made out of plastic. After being forced to leave Area 51, SG-1 eventually discovered that the Stargate was taken to southern Utah. Stargate Command then placed the gate under round-the-clock guard under the command of the SGC. (SG1: "Touchstone")
In 1999, Dr. Samantha Carter and Major Charles Kawalsky used the Quantum Mirror from the planet P3R-233 to escape their reality and make their way to Area 51, where the Quantum Mirror of our universe was being held, having been discovered by SG-1. After this, the mirror was brought back to Stargate Command for a short time and then destroyed sometime after. (SG1: "There But for the Grace of God", "Point of View", "Ripple Effect")
In 2002, SG-1 and Jonas Quinn visited Area 51 after being notified that the X-302 hyperspace fighter had finished construction. Later that day Anubis attacked Earth's Stargate using the Ancient Stargate destroyer. In an attempt to save the planet, the Stargate was taken to Peterson Air Force Base, loaded onto a C-17, and flown to Area 51. There, the Stargate was attached to the X-302 and was placed on top of a Boeing 747. (SG1: "Redemption, Part 1", "Redemption, Part 2")
In 2004, when the Stargate was beamed out of Stargate Command, Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter and Dr. Daniel Jackson went to Area 51 and spoke with Dr. Hugh Bricksdale. He was able to get the transporter wrist control which Osiris left behind after her attack on Jackson working, which he studied at Area 51, but sold his findings to The Trust for $2 million USD. Daniel Jackson persuaded him to get the device working again in order to retrieve the captured Carter and Earth's Stargate from Osiris' Al'kesh, in orbit around Earth's Moon. (SG1: "Endgame")
In 2006, when the Atlantis expedition was forced to leave the city after the Ancients aboard the Tria reclaimed it, Dr. Rodney McKay stated that he might go work for Area 51 again and tool around with as much of the Atlantis database as they were able to bring back. He just didn't know how many times he would have been asked to save the day at the eleventh hour there. However, his eventual employment at the facility was brief as Atlantis was eventually reclaimed by the expedition and he resumed his position as lead scientist. (SGA: "The Return, Part 1")
In 2009, a battle between F-302 fighter-interceptors and Wraith Darts took place in the sky over Area 51. However, because the Darts far outnumbered the defending F-302s, Area 51 was hit by kamikaze Darts aiming to destroy the Control chair relocated from the Antarctic outpost. (SGA: "Enemy at the Gate")
- In an alternate reality briefly glimpsed through the Quantum Mirror in 1999, the device was stored in Area 51 on a version of Earth which had been conquered by the Goa'uld. (SG1: "Point of View")
- In another alternate reality, Vala Mal Doran was being held prisoner in the facility in 2007. (SG1: "The Road Not Taken")
- In another alternate reality, Area 51 housed the Control chair, which was relocated from the Antarctic outpost, and the wreckage of several Wraith Darts that had crashed to Earth after a battle took place above the planet in 2009. Todd was also kept captive here for some time. The base also served as main operations while alternate versions of the Atlantis expedition worked with Detective John Sheppard in tracking down a Wraith that had been disguising himself as Human. (SGA: "Vegas")
Technology kept at Area 51Edit
- Osiris' Kara kesh
- Mimetic imaging device
- Interdimensional visibility device
- Ark of Truth
- Teal'c's Al'kesh
- Camulus's tainted Zero Point Module
- Incomplete Goa'uld spacecraft
- Goa'uld Aging nanites
- Scanning device
- Staff weapons
- X-301 Interceptor (Abandoned)
- Drone weapons
- Ma'chello's medical bed
- Ma'chello's database
- Goa'uld killing organism
- Soul Switcher
- Sodan Invisibility devices
Behind the ScenesEdit
When Area 51 is first introduced in "Touchstone", Colonel Jack O'Neill asks Colonel Harold Maybourne where the Roswell aliens are that have been rumored to be held at the facility since 1947. Maybourne then explains to O'Neill that aliens were never held at the facility, it is simply a restricted base for advanced military research and development projects. It was only after the Stargate was discovered that "aliens" (i.e. Goa'uld symbiotes) and alien technology were brought to the base.
The USAF collaborates extensively with the production team behind the Stargate franchise, because it promotes a positive image of the US armed forces. That the TV series made it a point to stress that within the Stargate universe there was no alien crash at Roswell or crashed flying saucer stored at Area 51, seems to be consistent with the USAF's requirements for collaborating on other projects. Particularly, when the 1996 film Independence Day (also produced by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich) was being produced, the USAF offered to collaborate with the production team, but said they would only do so on the condition that all references to Area 51 were removed, because otherwise it might be seen as the USAF sanctioning these theories. The production team said that this was impossible, because so much of the film's plot revolved around the recovered alien craft at Area 51, and reluctantly had to proceed without the USAF's support.