Area 51 to be ‘stormed’ by 1.4m people, live streamed
At first, it seemed like everyone thought a Facebook event calling on alien enthusiasts to storm the top-secret base, Area 51, in Nevada US was a joke.
However, as plans to have the event live streamed across the internet on September 20 are put into place, it's clear the US Air Force is not seeing the funny side.
The Facebook event, dubbed "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us", now has more than 1.4m confirmed attendees.
They plan to approach Area 51 in Amargosa Valley, Nevada and invade the top-secret military base where conspiracy theorists believe the government is hiding information on extraterrestrial life.
Overnight, a company called Area15, which runs a shopping mall in the area and runs live immersive experiences, announced it was planning to live stream the assault.
"Okay. Now we're curious too about what's going to happen on 9/20 at the storming of #AREA51," a spokesman for the company wrote on social media.
"We're going to live stream the 'event' here at #AREA15 to watch what goes down. And, of course, costumes and tin foil hats are required."
However, the US government doesn't seem quite as excited - with the US Air Force telling The Washington Postit is "ready to protect America and its assets".
"(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," the spokeswoman said.
Despite the warning, the Facebook page is picking up steam.
"We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Centre tourist attraction and co-ordinate our entry," the event details read. "If we naruto run (referring to the widely memed manga character) we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens."
Area 51 is infamously secured by barbed fences, radar and heavily armed military personnel. The 12,950sq km desert site has been in operation for more than 60 years.
The base is officially fronted as part of the Nevada Test and Training Range, affiliated with the Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas Valley, though only recently did the government intelligence recognise Area 51's existence.
What really goes down on the grounds has yet to be revealed to the public - though many have attempted to uncover its presumed secrets.
Though Area 51 was established in 1955, the mystery began somewhere in the 1980s when a man who claimed to have been employed there said he saw scientists engineer an alien aircraft.
Some believe it may have been modelled after a UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in the late 1940s.
The so-called alien saucer turned out to be an advanced weather balloon, and the man's story was later found to be fabricated.
Despite the debunking, the legend has persisted through more tales of highly classified air tests using experimental technology and has firmly established itself as a bona fide conspiracy theory that has captivated stargazers for decades.
If the "Storm Area 51" caravan goes through with the stunt, they'll be met by gun-toting guards who have been cleared to stop any intruders at any cost - per the site's strongly worded signage: "Use of deadly force authorised."
If you're legitimately planning to head to Nevada on September 20, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org