It saddens me to see NASA having to come out again and explain why the whole ‘Mayan end of the calendar apocalypse’ thing; the US space agency came out with on Saturday in an attempt to debunk these claims and downplay concerns that the world will end in 2012.
Mr Don Yeomans from NASA explains that all these concerns rely on nothing more than conspiracy theories, noting that even the way the Mayan calendar was interpreted is wrong.
“Their calendar does not end on December 21, 2012; it’s just the end of the cycle and the beginning of a new one. It’s just like on December 31, our calendar comes to an end, but a new calendar begins on January 1,” said Mr. Yeomans.
He then continued, addressing a number of scenarios devised by adepts of these ‘theories’, including collision with a hidden giant planet, termed Nibiru or Planet X by believers. They claim that the planet is on a collision course with Earth and that it is currently out of the reach of average astronomers, and main space agencies are working in secret to avoid spreading the panic.
“There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. Each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence,” says the U.S. space agency.
Mr Yeomans then addresses another fear – that of a solar flare. While he explains that our planet will face solar storms this year, this is a result of the fact that the Sun is nearing the peak of its 11 year cycle – a peak which will actually occur in May 2013, not December 2012. Also, there is absolutely no indication of a truly massive solar storm in the near future.
They even spoke about one of the cookiest ideas I’ve ever heard: reconfiguration in the alignment of the Earth’s magnetic poles that could severely affect human activities on the planet; while magnetic poles do switch places, this process happens every 750.000 years, and the process itself lasts a few millenia.
“A reversal in the rotation of Earth is impossible. There are slow movements of the continents (for example Antarctica was near the equator hundreds of millions of years ago), but that is irrelevant to claims of reversal of the rotational poles,” says the space agency. “As far as we know, such a magnetic reversal doesn’t cause any harm to life on Earth. A magnetic reversal is very unlikely to happen in the next few millennia, anyway.”
Then again, there’s always the classical asteroid fear.
“The Earth has always been subject to impacts by comets and asteroids, although big hits are very rare. The last big impact was 65 million years ago, and that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today NASA astronomers are carrying out a survey called the Spaceguard Survey to find any large near-Earth asteroids long before they hit,” say scientists.
So people, please calm down and be logical for a moment; all these conspiracy theories were blown out of proportions by Hollywood-like schemes and do absolutely nothing but plant irrational fear. It’s not the first time researchers from NASA and not only come out and speak against such claims, but hopefully, people will actually get it this time.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2012 ZME Science
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