One of America’s great thinkers once said, “Boy, you’re an alien, your touch so foreign. It’s supernatural, extraterrestrial.” Contrary to what recent news may have you think, it was not a high-ranking Air Force official that said this, it was Katy Perry, but it seems fitting given that millions of people are planning to storm rumored alien site Area 51 this week.
Maybe you were scrolling through Facebook and got invited to the famous Storm Area 51 event. Or maybe you were talking to your friend who just really believes in aliens and they suggested making their bachelorette trip to “Nevada, but not exactly Las Vegas…”
Either way, a lot of people are talking about the famed government facility in Nevada, and if you’re anything like me, your knowledge of the extraterrestrial begins at the classic movie E.T. and ends at Katy Perry‘s chart-topping song … also called “E.T.”
Nearly 2 million people have RSVP’d to a Facebook event declaring that it’s time to “storm Area 51” and “see them aliens,” and now desert towns in Nevada are preparing for visitors. According to the Associated Press, towns in Nevada are already experiencing an influx of visitors. The event is encouraging people to run onto the site tomorrow, Sept. 20, 2019, at 3:00 a.m., and brands from Kool-Aid and Bud Light to Arby’s are in on the craze, hosting parties and giveaways pegged to the rush.
For those of us who don’t understand what’s supposedly happening this weekend at Area 51, here’s a little background for you.
What Is Area 51?
Area 51 is a military base in Nevada that is completely off-limits to civilians (hence the decision to storm it rather than just calmly walk through the front door). In fact, the government didn’t even confirm the base’s existence until 2013, having denied it for years before finally releasing documents to confirm. The grounds themselves are patrolled by armed guards and it’s also impossible for anyone to enter into the airspace above the base without permission. Because of all of the secrecy and the fact that no one but government personnel know the goings-on of the facility, it has become the center of a vast conspiracy.
The official name of the base is actually Nevada Test and Training Range, not Area 51. It’s used today as an open training range for the United States Air Force. The CIA says that the base gets its nickname from its map designation.
Some believe that Area 51 is actually home to an underground laboratory where the United States government has been studying alien aircraft (a.k.a. UFOs) and/or actual aliens. Those who hold this belief are sure that the military base is nothing more than a front for some good ol’ alien research.
Why the Heck Do People Think That?
Well, one conspiracy theory suggests that there was once a UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico, and that the remains of the UFO were brought to Area 51 for testing. Some even think that the government was making attempts to recreate the “spacecraft.” There’s also a conspiracy that the 1969 moon landing was actually filmed on the base.
Not to mention that there are seemingly plenty of examples that the government wants whatever’s going on there to stay totally under wraps.
What Is the Base Actually For?
Well, if not for aliens, then what? Allegedly the base has been used since the ’50s to test the U-2 aircraft, a plane known for its ability to fly at high altitudes during reconnaissance missions. Because the plane flew so high, a lot of people (pilots included) assumed that they were UFOs. And because of all of the secrecy, there was no one to tell them otherwise.
Area 51 is still a testing area for various types of planes (it was used to test the B-2 stealth bomber in the ’80s) and it is assumed that it’s being used to test technology, weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles. Air Force spokeswoman Laura McAndrews told the Washington Post, “[Area 51] is an open training range for the U.S. Air Force, and we would discourage anyone from trying to come into the area where we train American armed forces. The U.S. Air Force always stands ready to protect America and its assets.”
In other words: If you’re thinking about storming Area 51, you might wanna bring a bicycle, make like E.T. and phone home instead.