NASA on crusade to debunk 2012 apocalypse myths

Nov 09, 2009
L-R: British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, US actress Amanda Peet and US actor John Cusack pose for photographers as they arrive for the premiere of the film "2012" in Berlin on November 8. NASA is insisting world is not coming to an end on December 21, 2012 in a rare campaign to dispel widespread rumors fuelled by the new Hollywood movie.

The world is not coming to an end on December 21, 2012, the US space agency insisted Monday in a rare campaign to dispel widespread rumors fueled by the Internet and a new Hollywood movie.

The latest big screen offering from Sony Picture, "2012," arrives in theaters on Friday, with a 200-million-dollar production about the end of the world supposedly based on myths backed by the Mayan calendar.

The doomsday scenario revolves around claims that the end of time will come as an obscure Planet X -- or Nibiru -- heads toward or collides with Earth.

The mysterious planet was supposedly discovered by the Sumerians, according to claims by pseudo-scientists, paranormal activity enthusiasts and Internet theorists.

Some websites accuse NASA of concealing the truth on the wayward planet's existence, but the US space agency denounced such stories as an "Internet hoax."

"There is no factual basis for these claims," NASA said in a question-and-answer posting on its website.

If such a collision were real "astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye," it added. "Obviously, it does not exist."

"Credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012," it insisted.

After all, "our planet has been getting along just fine for more than four billion years," added NASA.

There is another planet, Eris, floating in space. But the dwarf planet similar to Pluto will remain safely lodged in the outer solar system and it can come no closer than four billion miles (6.4 billion kilometers) to Earth, according to NASA.

Scores of Internet postings and books delve into the supposed disaster, including "Apocalypse 2012" and "How to Survive 2012."

Initial theories set the disaster for May 2003, but when nothing happened the date was moved forward to the winter solstice in 2012 to coincide with the end of a cycle of the ancient Mayan calendar.

NASA insisted the Mayan calendar in fact does not end on December 21, 2012, as another period begins immediately afterward. And it said there are no planetary alignments on the horizon for the next few decades.

And even if the were to line up as some have forecast, the effect on our planet would be "negligible," NASA said.

Among the other theories NASA has set out to debunk are that geomagnetic storms, a pole reversal or unsteadiness in the Earth's crustal plates might befall the planet.

For example, some myths claim the Earth's rotation and magnetic polarity are related, with a magnetic reversal taking place about every 400,000 years.

"As far as we know, such a magnetic reversal doesn't cause any harm to life on Earth," and a reversal in Earth's rotation is "impossible," NASA reassured, adding that a magnetic reversal is "very unlikely" to occur in the next few millenia.

And while comets and asteroids have always hit the Earth, "big hits are very rare," NASA noted. The last major impact was believed to be 65 million years ago, spurring the end of dinosaurs.

"We have already determined that there are no threatening asteroids as large as the one that killed the dinosaurs," the space agency said.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Image: The STS-93 crew and the deployment of the Chandra X-ray Observatory

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Arikin
5 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2009
Yes, shift the date of the prophesy if nothing happens... real logical there guys.

Why do some people need to create stories so they feel powerless against it?
- Before microscopes we thought disease comes from being cursed.
- You were working with the devil if you invented something that couldn't be explained.
- Ghosts haunt the living because we can't explain it completely.
- Aliens abducted me because I had a temporary psychotic break :-)
- A proto planet will destroy earth because a people without telescopes said so a thousand years ago.

I guess it is the same reason we keep watching horror movies. But that doesn't mean you have to base your beliefs on it :-)
Doug_Huffman
1 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2009
Speaking of mission creep, NASA is trying to justify its existence?

The point of the significance of the completion of the Thirteenth Baktun is that, yes, the Mayan could have counted their days into the Fourteenth Baktun but they DID NOT.

The dependence of our existence on the Mayan Calendar may be the most strongly microscopic application of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle yet suggested.
dirk_bruere
3.8 / 5 (4) Nov 10, 2009
Come 2013 we can give the finger to the disappointed and gullible morons.
rkolter
5 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2009
"There is another planet, Eris, floating in space. But the dwarf planet similar to Pluto will remain safely lodged in the outer solar system and it can come no closer than four billion miles (6.4 billion kilometers) to Earth, according to NASA."

Editing please. Eris is not "another planet." It is later properly described as a dwarf planet - but the writing suggests the two terms are interchangable.

And it's wholly irrelevent - Eris would have to be flying at earth at a velocity greater than the galaxy's escape velocity, in order to hit us in two years and change. Why not talk about Mars suddenly defying orbital mechanics and flinging itself at the Earth? At least it could get to us in two years. Damn martians. :P