Black Mesa Research Facility

From Academic Kids

For other places called Black Mesa, see Black Mesa

The Black Mesa Research Facility is a fictional facility where most of the events of the computer game Half-Life take place. The facility is built over a decommissioned missile silo in the New Mexico desert. Much of the research undertaken there is deliberately left vague, but it is apparently funded by the United States government and consists of highly classified work involving radiation, extra-dimensional travel, rocketry and weapons development. Two things of some interest happen during the tram ride that opens the game: an announcement states that they are seeking employees with backgrounds in theoretical physics, and an Apache attack helicopter is seen apparently being refueled or equipped. It is unclear whether there is any kind of military garrison at Black Mesa, or if the helicopter's presence is simply foreshadowing later events.

The physical range of the facility is, from an in-game perspective, nothing short of massive. It is also apparently self-sufficient, housing its own power generation systems including a hydroelectric dam, multi-story car parks, nuclear and conventional arsenals, a local electric rail transport network, laboratories housing the latest equipment for every conceivable high-tech scientific discipline including a powerful mass spectrometer, and even its own rocket launch site. It can be inferred that the facility is somewhat old considering that some areas are described by in-game characters as "old" or "abandoned". Most of the facility is apparently destroyed by a nuclear warhead at the end of the expansion pack Half-Life: Opposing Force.

Some of the facilities present in Black Mesa include:

  • High Security Materials Storage - a storage area fitted with fire-proof blast doors.
  • Hydroelectric Dam - this large dam is responsible for providing electric power for the whole complex.
  • Test labs (sector C) - Dr. Freeman's workplace, this facility is fitted with a large test chamber built for analysis purposes, ionisation chambers and high speed computers.
  • Launch facility - utilising the decomissioned rail system, this facility was built to house the launching equipment for satellite delivery rockets.
  • Blast pit - an old rocket silo was converted into a propulsion test laboratory, with two other silos used to house the power generator and fuel/oxygen transfer facilities. Below the silos is the old, decomissioned rail system.
  • Rail system - spreading deep underground is the old Black Mesa rail system, which was decomissioned and mostly abandoned, judging by the state of most facilities. Still, power generators are working, and the trams present, just in case they'd be needed someday.

It is rumoured that the US Military Area 51 research facilities at Nellis Air Force Range in the Nevada desert served as inspiration for the Black Mesa facility.


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