It hit social media like a plot line from a late night science fiction movie. An event called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” appeared on Facebook earlier this month, calling on alien enthusiasts everywhere to gather for a very important history-making mission. Since then the debate has been whether it's a joke or has some real merit behind it. Either way -- the government isn't taking any chances.

To date, just over one million people have signed up to attend the event on the "joke page" and to meet at the infamous Area 51, the US Air Force base in Nevada that has long been at the center of alien conspiracy theories and sightings. The big event is scheduled for September 20th at 3:00am. A pinned post on the page attempts to cover its bases, reading "Hello US government, this is a joke, and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan. I just thought it would be funny and get me some thumbsy uppies on the internet." Despite the comedic intent, things may have already gone too far.

In a statement to the Washington Post a spokesman for Area 51 said, "[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." Let's all pause and ask what "assets" are they referring to. Space ships, little green men?

Whether real or a hoax one thing is clear, the government is ready and waiting and the participants are cashing in on the hype. The souvenirs are abundant and the alien hunters are camera ready with a game plan. And for those out there that think the thought of other intelligent life out there is simply fiction, keep in mind that Area 51 was actually confirmed the by the US government to have spent $22 million researching UFOs. That's a whole lot of money for something that just doesn't exist. Phone home E.T.