Credit: Barry King/WireImage

I don’t know about you, but has anyone else noticed the copious slew of Area 51 memes that have surfaced on social media in recent days? With my brief knowledge of conspiracy theories, I’ve been aware of the restricted area for some time now but thanks to a simple joke on Facebook, the mysterious zone is about to come under fire as 1.4 million people plan to raid the facility, to “see them aliens”.

what is area 51?

Situated in the desert of Nevada about 128 kilometres from Las Vegas sits part of a military base. Titled Area 51, the facility was only recognised in 2013 and while its primary use is hidden from the public – like many bases across the country – the US government calls it the Nevada Test and Training Range, which forms part of the wider Edwards Air Force Base. Armed guards reportedly sit around the premiere to prevent trespassers.

what are the conspiracy theories?

Conspiracy theories surrounding the restricted space first surfaced in 1989 when a man named Bob Lazar claimed in an interview on US TV that he was a physicist who had worked in Area 51. Dubbed as a UFO expert, Lazar has appeared on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast as well as a Netflix doccumentary and claims that he was hired to take apart a UFO. According to the 60-year-old ,he has also read government documents describing alien involvement in life on earth.

Since the exponential growth of the Facebook event, Lazar has broken his silence to Fox 2, warning: “This is a misguided idea,” he added. “Area 51 is a classified research base. There are no aliens or alien technology located there. The only place there was ever any alien technology was at Site S4, south of Area 51 property. That was 30 years ago. S4 may have moved decades ago or it’s possible it’s no longer being used for the project.”

Parking sign with spaceship, Rachel, Nevada, near Area 51, along Highway 385, also called the Extraterrestrial Highway.

WHere else have we seen area 51?

Since 1989, Area 51 has been a popular topic amongst pop culture. Several films including Paul and Independence Day explore whacky interpretations of the theory while the television series The X-Files featured the topic during the sixth season when FBI special agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully visited Area 51.

It was also reimagined into a first-person shooter video game developed by Midway Games in 2005.

why is the internet wanting to storm area 51?

In the latest internet trend to hit social media – the bottle cap challenge is still going strong – a humble Facebook event titled “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” has quickly grown to fruition with 1.4 million people RSVPing to the event. Scheduled for the early morning of September 20, the event planners have explained, “We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry. If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let’s see them aliens.”

Sparking an innumerable amount of memes, naturally it gained the attention of the US Air Force, however the organisation is far from amused. A spokeswoman told the New York Times, “any attempt to illegally access military installations or military training areas is dangerous”. While many people around the globe have joined in just for fun – including celebrities such as Lizzo, Trevor Noah, Pewdiepie, and Danny Trejo – hotels around the area have already seen a spike in reservations and suggests a select amount of people are in fact very serious.

What are you waiting for? “Let’s see them aliens”.