Signage is posted outside a gate of the Nevada Test and Training Range, commonly referred to as Area 51. Bridget Bennett / Getty Images
To deal with any extraterrestrial-seeking attendees of the viral “Storm Area 51” event, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that airspace around Area 51 will be temporarily closed this weekend.
The FAA issued temporary flight restrictions between September 18-23 for “special security reasons” in the Nevada desert where U.S. Air Force’s Nevada Test and Training Range — commonly known as Area 51 — is located. That means no one can fly aircraft in the surrounding area, including would-be alien hunters hoping to send a drone hovering above Area 51.
Digital Trends reached out to the FAA for comment on the temporary no-fly zone, and we’ll update this story if we hear back from them.
The closures could be a result of the popularity of the Area 51 Facebook event called, ‘’Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” which has captured the interest millions of people. According to the Facebook invite, 2.1 million have RSVPed as attending the event, though there’s almost no chance even a fraction of that number shows up when it kicks off on September 20. The event’s description reads, “We will all meet up in Rural Nevada and coordinate our parties. If we Naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let’s see them aliens.”
The viral Facebook event spurred the creation of a more “formal” event known as Alienstock, which promised to be a festival featuring live music, food and drink, and “otherworldly encounter” in Rachel, Nevada, near Area 51 from September 19 to 22. The event has since been renamed to Area 51 Celebration was moved to the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center amid what organizers described as a lack of infrastructure and poor planning. The free event happens Thursday, September 19 and promises a “classified” lineup of live music.
Still, the change in the fest’s location isn’t stopping people from descending upon the Nevada desert to get in on the alien hype. According to Mashable, people have already been arrested for trespassing near Area 51. The Department of Justice’s website says that anyone who is caught trespassing a government military base could receive a $500 fine, a prison sentence lasting up to six months, or both.
The recent obsession with Area 51 even made its way into the gaming industry. A new alien “Traveler” leaked earlier this week, complete with an Area 51 badge on its chest and sleeve.