Maya Calendar - End of the World - December 21, 2012
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NASA wants you to know that the world won't end in 2012

Apparently, NASA scientists are concerned that people might think that Roland Emmerich's new disaster movie "2012" is a documentary. So they put together a Q&A to reassure the nervous masses.

So it's finally arrived. Roland Emmerich's end-of-the-world epic is in cinemas from today and everyone can now see what armageddon will look like from the comfort of a lovely warm cinema. But are we all really going to perish on December 21, 2012? Erm, apparently not.

A few days ago, the US space agency NASA stepped forward in a rare campaign to dispel widespread doomsday rumours in an effort to combat the thousands of paranoid emails they've received.

And now, in attempt to bring closure to the whole affair, have done their part in calming down the human race by collecting the 10 most popular doomsday scenarios and then systematically debunking each one with facts... HARD FACTS.

if you still have any lingering doubts for the future, we advise you to read them. Here are a couple of examples:

The Earth's magnetic field will reverse.

Don't hold you breath. The last field reversal happened nearly 800,000 years ago. Fred Flintstone and our other ancestor cavemen survived. Geological evidence shows that the field has reversed its orientation tens of thousands of times over Earth history. Yet there is no definitive evidence that a magnetic field reversal has ever caused any mass extinction due to increased cosmic ray influx. 

A grand alignment of Jupiter and Saturn will gravitationally perturb Earth.

For the past several decades there have been doomsday claims that the combined gravity from grand planetary alignments will cause geologic and meteorological upheavals on Earth.

None are scheduled for 2012.

In 1962 an extremely rare grand conjunction of the classical naked-eye planets drove astrologers crazy. The conjunction happened on Feb. 4-5 and was accompanied by a solar eclipse! The most infamous grand conjunction was in 1982 and popularized in a book called "The Jupiter Effect," which predicted earthquakes and massive tides. Life went on as usual both years. The moon has a vastly greater gravitational influence on Earth than Jupiter. It's called location, location, location! At a whopping distance of 400 million miles from Earth, Jupiter's tug is pretty wimpy. 

The black hole in the galactic center will affect us.

The Milky Way's black hole has no influence on the galactic disk. The black hole is three million solar masses. The Milky Way is several trillion solar masses when we add the tug of dark matter. Any gravitational influence of the black hole over the galaxy would be like the tail wagging the dog. The Milky Way's collision with the Andromeda galaxy will dump gas into the black hole and it will blaze as a quasar. But that's several billion years away. 

An asteroid will smash into Earth.

A threatening near-Earth asteroid that's gotten the most press is the 900-foot wide Apophis. But its chances of collision have been downgraded to 1 in 250,000 at its next close approach in 2029. In theory, an uncharted asteroid or comet could come out of the blue tomorrow. But if we don't know about it today, the Mayans certainly didn't know about it 1,200 years ago. Earth-killer impacts are tens of millions of years apart. So there's no reason to be a doomsday clock-watcher. 

The rogue planet Nibiru will swing by Earth.

There isn't such a planet any more than the planet Naboo from the Star Wars trilogy is real. Purported Internet pictures of the interloper are photographic lens flares or hoaxes. Don't believe every dot you see photographed in the sky. 

What you need to know (NASA comments in quotes):

Why 2012?

"The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012. Then these two fables were linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 -- hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012."

Should we be worried about mysterious planets going rogue?

"If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye."

Is what Woody Harrelson (appropriately cast as an apocalypse-predicting radio DJ) says about planetary alignments science or gibberish?

"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."

About this doomsday calendar business ...

"The Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then -- just as your calendar begins again on January 1 -- another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar."

What about meteors and asteroids?

"... Nothing is predicted to hit in 2012."

The earth's crust won't do a 180-degree rotation around the core in a matter of days if not hours?

"A bait-and-shift to fool people."

So what you're saying is ...

"Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012 ... scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012."

There you have it. No calamities expected in 2012. What could possibly go wrong in an election year?

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