For readers of The Facade, this recent story from Science Daily will sound very familiar. [Hat tip to Carl for alerting me to the link.]

In my novel, the UFOs at AREA-51 were powered by Element 115, which was unknown to the outside world. That idea (also know to people into ufology) came courtesy of someone named Bob Lazar, a self-proclaimed AREA-51 whistleblower. Lazar claimed to have worked as a physicist at S4, a Top Secret research facility just southwest of AREA-51, and at AREA-51 itself.

Lazar claimed that Element 115 had been discovered in conjunction with reverse-engineering alien technology at AREA-51. According to his Wikipedia entry, which quotes Lazar’s website (see footnote 12):

Bob Lazar claims that the atomic Element 115 served as a nuclear fuel. Element 115 (temporarily named “ununpentium” (symbol Uup) reportedly provided an energy source which would produce anti-gravity effects under proton bombardment, along with antimatter for energy production. As the intense strong nuclear force field of Element 115’s nucleus would be properly amplified, the resulting large-scale gravitational effect would be a distortion or warp of space-time that would, in effect, greatly shorten the distance and travel time to a destination.

In light of the above, it’s interesting (and I’m no physicist, mind you) that the Science Daily article notes that Element 115 has led to “new insight into the structure and properties of super-heavy atomic nuclei.” It doesn’t say anything about proton bombardment or “anti-gravity.” This link has the new element named ununpentium – as in The Facade, via Lazar’s claim. However, the same article notes that “this isotope has a half-life of 160 milliseconds.” No ununpentium pellets yet!

Lazar is, to say the least, controversial. While one would expect any service (of the sort he describes) at AREA-51 to be highly classified, but his academic credentials have gone unverified. He’s also been in legal trouble with respect to personal conduct and his business, United Nuclear Scientific Equipment and Supplies.