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Las Vegas: Area 51? Top-secret aircraft? This and more at talk

January 23, 2013|By Jay Jones
  • The Area 51 exhibit at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas shares information about the military site in the desert.
The Area 51 exhibit at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas shares… (National Atomic Testing…)

Move over, Scully and Mulder. Some of the secrets of Nevada’s mysterious Area 51 will be revealed Feb. 9 at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas.

As "The X-Files" TV show told us, “The truth is out there.” But don’t expect tales of alien spacecraft and little green men during the Saturday evening lecture. The two speakers — T.D. Barnes and retired Air Force Col. Gail Peck, not Scully and Mulder — have worked at the installation known as Area 51, possibly America’s worst-kept military secret, but their remarks are expected to focus on aircraft from Earth, not outer space.

Barnes and Peck worked on top secret “black” projects at the highly guarded installation about 100 miles north of Las Vegas. It’s where some hush-hush military aircraft reportedly have been designed, built and tested.

Barnes led covert engineering projects with such names as Project Oxcart and Project Have Blue. Peck was the first Red Eagle, as military pilots who flew secret missions during the Cold War era were known, and  helped train other Red Eagles.

Although the museum exists primarily to tell the declassified stories of atomic bomb testing in the Nevada desert, it also features an exhibit about neighboring Area 51. What’s been publicly divulged is shared in displays. But as the museum’s website notes, “There isn't a huge amount of detail about the goings-on in the depths of Area 51,” so the mystique remains.

Tickets for the 6:30 p.m. lecture, with a 6 p.m. meet-and-greet included, are $20 and must be reserved by calling (702) 794-5151. The National Atomic Testing Museum is at 755 E. Flamingo Road, about 1.5 miles east of the Strip.

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