Conspiracy theories strike again: media is abuzz with an impending doom set to take place on November 19th due to Nibiru (or Planet X). Needless to say, these reports are simply fairy tales.
Conspiracy theories involving Nibiru just won’t go away. The hypothetical planet has been at the center of baseless speculation and doomsday talk for years. Every few months, people predict a catastrophic planetary event involving Nibiru; every time nothing happens, and the cycle just senselessly repeats. The reason for that is simple: Nibiru doesn’t exist.
Nibiru (sometimes called Planet X) is allegedly a large planetary object at the edge of our solar system. Astronomers have looked, nothing was ever found. It’s textbook pseudoscience. Even the way the idea of Nibiru emerged is laughable.
The idea was first put forward in 1995 by Nancy Lieder. Lieder describes herself as a contactee with the ability to receive messages from extra-terrestrials from the Zeta Reticuli star system through an implant in her brain. She states that she was chosen to warn mankind that the object would sweep through the inner Solar System in May 2003 causing Earth to undergo a physical pole shift that would destroy most of humanity. By, now you probably start to see a few issues with this. For starters, 2003 was a long time ago, and here we are. Doomsday conspiracists have postponed the “date” more and more but — not surprisingly — nothing ever happened. In fact, the only thing that is surprising is that people still fall for such ideas.
Now, the idea is that Nibiru will get close enough to our planet to influence tectonic activity and generate dramatic earthquakes around the world. This just doesn’t make any sense, for several reasons. Let’s play along a bit and pretend Nibiru exists. The idea is that its gravitational field would distort our planet, it would attract tectonic plates, and that would generate the earthquakes.
For decades, geologists have looked for a connection between the Moon’s gravitational attractions and earthquakes — they haven’t found any. It is possible that such a connection exists, but it’s unlikely, and even if it does exist, it’s pretty thin. This would imply that we’d have a planetary object zooming much closer than the Moon, and if that happens, earthquakes would be the last of our problems. Even if it does happen, it’s not clear that massive earthquakes would be generated. Most of the big earthquakes on Earth are generated by tectonic plates sliding next to each other, not going up or down.
So even if we play along and ignore everything that science and common sense tell us, the idea still doesn’t make any sense. It’s painful that we need to write this, just like it’s painful that NASA had to address the topic. Please, stop believing crackpot conspiracy theories.
Andrei's background is in geophysics, and he's been fascinated by it ever since he was a child. Feeling that there is a gap between scientists and the general audience, he started ZME Science -- and the results are what you see today.