Events involving thousands of Earthlings answering an internet buzz about an invitation to “Storm Area 51” in the Nevada desert have been mostly festive. After a weekend of camping and partying, the Earthlings from around the globe headed home in peace.
Visitors hailed from France, Russia, Germany, Peru, Sweden, Australia and many U.S. states — in answer to the Internet post “Storm Area 51” in June suggesting that if enough people rushed a military base to "see them aliens" at 3 a.m. Sept. 20, authorities couldn't stop everyone. More than 2 million netizens clicked their interest, but in the end only a few thousand made the trip to the tiny Nevada desert city of Rachel, population about 50, a more than two-hour drive north of Las Vegas.
Did anyone find actual extraterrestrials or UFOs? Well, if you exclude the masked and costumed beings posing for photos and cavorting in the desert, then the answer is no. However, the participants felt a great sense of community. It started as a joke and turned out to be a joyous gathering to know each other.
What on Earth is "Area 51"?
For decades, Nevada's Area 51 Air Force facility has represented the eye of a conspiratorial hurricane that swirls around "evidence" that aliens exist and are hiding behind its walls. Books, TV shows, and films have tried to glimpse beyond its stark signs warning against trespassers.
What exactly goes on inside of Area 51 has led to decades of wild speculation. There are, of course, the alien conspiracies that galactic visitors are tucked away somewhere inside. There are plenty of rumors. Some even believe that the U.S. government filmed the 1969 moon landing in one of the base's hangars.
For all the myths and legends, what's true is that Area 51 is real and still very active. There may not be aliens or a moon landing movie set inside those fences, but something is going on and only a select few are privy to what's happening further down that closely-monitored wind-swept Nevada road.
While the lore around Area 51 may be nothing more than imaginative fiction, that won't stop people from gawking just beyond those chain link fences. As aerospace historian Peter Merlin puts it, “at the most basic level, anytime you have something secret or forbidden, it's human nature, and you want to find out what it is.”
Earthling: n. 地球人（常用于科幻小说中）
extraterrestrial: n. 外星人；星外来客
galactic: adj. 星系的
lore: n. 传说；传闻