i watched a special on area 51 last night on discovery. it was pretty cool. there is a public satellite company that can take satellite shots of it anytime for the sole reason that the government refuses to aknowledge it's there. they can stop the company from publishing or showng the images anytime they want to but if they do they would have to aknowledge that it's there. crazy stuff. the government just paid the company to develope a half meter view satellite so in a few years there should be some very close pics of it. the closest any person can get it two miles away for any kiind of view.even then you need a high powered telescope to see anything.
the runways are big because the land and take off i think it was 727's there. they fly alot of the workers in. also it was an experimental aircraft facility for the military. the original spy plane was develpoed there along with the sr17 and stealth bombers so you need the long runways to get these types of aircraft up off the ground.
Yea...I saw this on discovery as well a few weeks ago. I doubt there are aliens there, however I think it isnt a secret that the government does perform secret classified operation there as well using it to test new military and defense technology.