What started off as a flippant joke has taken on a life of its own as people began to sign up to “Storm Area 51” in their hundreds of thousands, sharing memes and vowing to “check out those alien cheeks.”
The Facebook event now has 1.2 million people 'attending' the showdown, scheduled for September 20th, and even the U.S. military has come out to warn against it. “Area 51 is an open training range for the US Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces,” Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews said to The Washington Post. “The US Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”
Sounds ominous, doesn't it? The warning prompted one poster to reassure the government that they aren't serious, although they would say that, wouldn't they? “Hello US government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan,” they wrote. “I just thought it would be funny and get me some thumbsy uppies on the internet.”
Well, as you can see yourself from the list below, it has already succeeded in that respect! Scroll down to check some of the best memes and reactions, and let us know what you think in the comments!
Area 51 is the common name of a highly classified United States Air Force (USAF) facility located within the Nevada Test and Training Range. Officially, the facility is called Homey Airport or Groom Lake, named after the salt flat situated next to its airfield.
Although details of the facility's operations are not publicly known, based on historical evidence, it is most likely a training range that supports the development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems. The USAF acquired the site in 1955, primarily for flight testing the Lockheed U-2 aircraft.
The intense secrecy surrounding the base has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.
The base has never been declared a secret base, but all research and occurrences in Area 51 are Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information.
The CIA publicly acknowledged the existence of the base for the first time on 25 June 2013, following a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2005, and they declassified documents detailing the history and purpose of Area 51.
Area 51 is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles (134 km) north-northwest of Las Vegas. The surrounding area is a popular tourist destination, including the small town of Rachel, Nevada on the "Extraterrestrial Highway".
The perimeter of the base is marked out by orange posts and patrolled by guards in white pickup trucks and camouflage fatigues. The guards are popularly referred to as “camo dudes” by enthusiasts. Signage around the base perimeter advises that deadly force is authorized against trespassers.
Technology is also heavily used to maintain the border of the base; this includes surveillance cameras and motion detectors. Some of these motion detectors are placed some distance away from the base on public land to notify guards of people approaching.