Now, this, this is the great moment you’ve been waiting for — at least if you read or watch science fiction, where you’ve been bombarded with stories about Area 51 for the last thirty years or so, since I’ve been paying attention. Probably the best treatment of it was in Independence Day, where the characters go after being hounded out of every other place by the alien invaders.

There they find it’s all true, and Area 51 contains not only a preserved alien corpse, but also an alien flyer that we’ve been studying for the last umpteen years, and which is now active again, with the mother ship orbiting Earth.

And I mean, even Robert A. Heinlein in The Puppet Masters (an allegory for our time if there’s ever been one, and the most recent Baen edition has an afterword by yours truly) says that once you eliminate the crazies and the errors, there’s still a lot about the UFO sightings that can’t be dismissed.

Surely the opening up of the secrets of Area 51 will at least unveil the corner of that vast network of secrets and lies, right?

According to NBC News, not so much. They say there are no UFOs there, just a lot of U-2 test flights.

The facility had been used during World War II as an aerial gunnery range, and the officials decided it would be “an ideal site for testing the U-2 and training its pilots,” according to the book. The AEC agreed to add the area to its real estate holdings, “and President Eisenhower also approved the addition of this strip of wasteland, known by its map designation as Area 51, to the Nevada Test Site.”

The authors of the CIA history, Gregory Pedlow and Donald Welzenbach, said the site was nicknamed “Paradise Ranch,” or simply the Ranch, to make it sound more attractive to the test project’s workers. The first U-2 test flight took place at Area 51 on Aug. 4, 1955, and over the years that followed, the site was used for training U-2 pilots.

Of course, reading over it, one can’t help thinking: “Of course, that’s what THEY’d say.” And the stories will go on….