For those frantically stockpiling canned tuna in their underground bunkers or saying their final goodbyes to those around them, you may be being a little melodramatic. Or just plain wrong, according to NASA.
In a video leaked a week early, entitled “Why the world didn’t end yesterday,” NASA attempted to dispel fears that the world was about to be destroyed by a freak planetary incident and assuage people with the cold hard facts.
"The world will not end in 2012," NASA said. "Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than four billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012."
Don Yeomans, head of NASA’s near earth object program stated that no known asteroids or comets were on a collision course with earth, neither is a rogue planet coming to destroy us.
In the video, NASA Astrobiologist David Morrison claims that if there were anything out there, like a planet headed for earth, “it would already be one of the brightest objects in the sky. Everyone on earth could see it. You don’t need to ask the government, just go out and look, it’s not there.”
For those claiming that solar flares will be earth’s fiery end in five days’ time, NASA makes short work of that theory too. Lika Guhathakurta, head of NASA’s living with a star program said the sun had been flaring for billions of years, long before the Mayans even existed, and so far, it’s not destroyed the world yet.
True, the sun is approaching the maximum of its 11 year activity cycle, but Guhathakurta went as far as to describe it as the “wimpiest” solar cycle of the past 50 years. Harsh.
So, what’s the deal and how did the Mayan’s get it so wrong? Perhaps it was all just a big misunderstanding. In a statement on the NASA website set up to field questions about Dec. 21, the organization said the date was simply the end of the Mayan long-count period. “Just as your calendar begins again on January 1 -- another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar."
Phew. Panic avoided. Until the next “end of the world” date emerges, you’re safe for now, Nostradamus. Related Stories:
Does the world end Friday 12-21-12 at 12:01AM GMT, or say 12:01AM Mayan Std time which could be Mountain Std or Pacific Std time. Does the entire Earth go poof at that instant or does each time zone go over the armageddian cliff in an orderly procession?
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.