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Welcome to Dugway; Area 52

All persons with even a mild interest in covert US military operations, UFO theories, or even the X-Files TV programme will recognize references to Area 51, a USAF base located near Groom Lake, Nevada. In recent years, however, activity at the famous top-secret facility has noticeably decreased. There are fewer contractors and staff on the daily bus that breaches the restricted-access perimeter, fewer sightings by the locals, and accordingly, less attention from UFO theorists.

So where is the action going? Sources suggest the barren landscape of Dugway, Utah, where lies the Dugway Proving Ground.

Like Area 51, Dugway is located on a mostly-dry lake bed, providing a wide expanse of flat ground ringed with hills and mountains. It is similarly isolated and devoid of public roadways. Whereas Area 51 was a top-secret base with a top-secret purpose, however, Dugway has existed as a range for the testing of nuclear, biochemical, and traditional ordnance since the late 1940s. In fact, the range is infamous for testing the effects of these weapons on human subjects.

Dugway may now be the heart of the most sensitive experimental aircraft and weapons programs as well. UFO sightings at Dugway have taken off since the late 90's, as have sightings of a newer phenomenon; a giant beam of concentrated light, described as an impossibly huge laser beam, firing into the night sky.

An episode of "UFO Hunters" (a decidedly sensationalist program, but they do good research) covers these sightings by several persons who live and work in the area. The episode can be watched across the following links, divided into 5 parts:

Part 1/5
Part 2/5
Part 3/5
Part 4/5
Part 5/5

Personally, I'm fascinated by the idea of this giant beam of light. I don't bet much on UFOs being the transportation of extraterrestrial beings, nor that the US government has captured or reverse-engineered any such alien craft. I do believe, however, that the top priority of the US Department of Defense is development of a stop-all weapon that would detonate long-range nuclear missiles at high altitudes and bring down enemy satellites from orbit, and that they need somewhere relatively open and barren, without much attention, to build their prototype.

Such a weapon would be extremely attractive. Just think; finally, a form of protection against the lingering nuclear threat; one that isn't the promise of mutually assured destruction, that would not rely upon the sensibility of the enemy's leadership. We would be able to protect ourselves from nuclear powers with an unstable government or radical/insane dictators (those being unafraid or too crazy to fear mutual destruction). Additionally, a massive laser with the capability to react low-Earth orbit would be a useful tool in the ever-burgeoning Information Age; with the power to knock out satellites at will, the US could effectively blind and deafen any nation that has come to rely upon modern technology... perhaps covertly, if the technology to do so remains secret and in the possession of only one nation.

With the land-based missile defense shield program having recently been canceled, I think we may be closer to such a weapon than is publicly acknowledged. :D

Now, does anybody out there have a firm understanding of laser engineering? How would we develop a long-range cloud-piercing laser to fry things in the upper atmosphere/low-orbit? Is it harder than you imagine could be accomplished at this point in time, given the budget and labor powers of the US DoD? I know we have some clever laser weapons in development already...
quex wrote:
In recent years, however, activity at the famous top-secret facility has noticeably decreased.

Of course. Once it became well known, it was made into nothing more than a decoy, to keep the conspiracy theorists busy.

Do you really think they'd conduct super-secret projects in such a well-known site? If there is any such place, it is surely in a place nobody has heard of.
Giant beam of light? Maybe it was something like this:

This is from:

This one was shot from Maryland, and it's not a weapon.

Or maybe it's more like this one:


Which was tested in California earlier this year by Boeing.
Why would a laser be super-secret? They've already built and tested an airborne laser weapon system:

It's intended to shoot down missiles in flight. (One would presume that means it could also shoot down planes... and perhaps at least damage lightly armored ground targets.)

^.^ These super-secret research stations are worth having perhaps... After all, what other country has managed to build a practical mobile laser weapon?
They're building jetpacks!!! Oh wait no, that's san andreas area 69.

Maybe no one cares about area 51 anymore because we all know there's no aliens or whatever and all they're doing is testing out millitary equiptment that is top seceret or whatever.
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