Area 51 refers to a map location, which is the popular name for the United States Air Force base and is a dry lake bed in the Nevada Desert, 135 kilometres north of Las Vegas. What makes Area 51 more intriguing is that no one knows what exactly goes on inside Area 51. Members of the public are kept away by warning signs, electronic surveillance and armed guards. In fact, it is also illegal to fly over the areas and satellite images show that the base has runways up to 12,000 feet long.
Now, back in July, everyone was going strong saying that they will storm the top-secret US airbase Area 51, and turns out that was scheduled to be today, September 20.
While technically it has been cancelled, it has not stopped people from pondering over the event, sharing memes and also trespassing over the area (two people have already been arrested for it).
Here's everything you need to know about the storming of Area 51.
What started the plan: Back in July, a Facebook event started getting circulated called "Storm Area 51: They Can't Stop All of Us" where over a million people listed themselves as "going". The event page described the plan as saying, "We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Centre tourist attraction and coordinate our entry. If we Naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let’s see them, aliens."
Here's how the government responded, which was naturally not happy, saying they were "ready" to protect the US and its assets. According to an interview that Laura McAndrews, a spokesperson for the US Air Force had with Washington Post, the US Air Force discouraged anyone from "trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces."
The organisers said that it was a joke. They posted to McAndrews' response writing on Facebook, "P.S. Hello U.S. government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan. I just thought it would be funny and get me some thumbsy uppies on the Internet. I’m not responsible if people decide to actually storm Area 51."
Matty Roberts, the 20-something college student who had started the event pulled out and the Area 51 raid was cancelled.
Speaking to Las Vegas review Journal, Matty said that they saw the red flags and decided to pull out, instead of planning a music festival at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center.
Arrests have already been made for trespassing. Two YouTubers travelled from The Netherlands to Nevada to visit the site and were arrested. According to a video statement issued by the Nye County Sheriff's Office, two men were spotted inside the perimeter of Area 51 and were arrested. A car was parked near a gate, about three miles into the protected area. The vehicle belonged to 21-year-old Govert Charles Wilhelmus Jacob Sweep and 20-year-old Ties Granzier. Granzier told police he was a YouTuber and the two were arrested and charged with trespassing.
Notably, Area 51 was built during the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union as a testing and development facility for aircraft and even though it opened in 1955, its existence was officially acknowledged by the CIA as late as August 2013. President Barack Obama became the first US president to mention Area 51 publicly.