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article imageVideo: NASA scientist debunks Mayan 2012 apocalypse claims

By JohnThomas Didymus     Mar 10, 2012 in Science
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released a new video that debunks claims that ancient Mayans predicted the world would end in December 2012.
In the video posted online on Wednesday, Don Yeomans, head of the Near-Earth Objects Program Office of NASA/JPL, debunks many of the doomsday theories making the rounds among Mayan apocalypse enthusiasts.
Digital Journal reports that according to doomsday theorists, the calender the Mayans used ends abruptly in December 2012. That is taken to indicate a Mayan prediction of end-of-the-world in a cataclysmic event. According to, Yeoman debunks the theory, saying, "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."
Yeomans attacks another of the claims popular in Mayan end-of-world circles, that there is a rogue planet, four times the size of our Earth called Nibiru, that will stray into our solar system and collide with the Earth in December. Yeoman comments on this: "This enormous planet is supposed to be coming toward Earth, but if it were, we would have seen it long ago. And if it were invisible somehow, we would have seen the [gravitational] effects of this planet on neighboring planets. Thousands of astronomers who scan the sky on a daily basis have not seen this."
Yeomans counters the claim often made to justify Mayan 2012 apocalyptic fears, that there is a grand NASA cover-up. He wonders: "Can you imagine thousands of astronomers who observe the skies on a daily basis keeping the same secret from the public for several years?"
Yet another favorite end-of-world scenario is that the Sun, approaching peak activity in its 11-year cycle, would suddenly shoot out a massive flare that will "scorch" the Earth. Yeomans explains that while solar flares can damage orbiting satellites and even interfere with communications systems and disrupt power grids, the Earth's magnetosphere is an effective shield that protects it from the catastrophic impact of solar eruptions. We've seen the effectiveness of the Earth's magnetosphere in recent times. Digital Journal has reported several X-class flares erupting on the Sun in recent times, but in spite of concerns there have been little negative effect on our planet.
In response to the theory by some doomsday soothsayers that planetary alignments will cause catastrophic gravitational effects, Yeomans responds: "Well, first of all, there are no planetary alignments in December of 2012, and even if there were, there are no tidal effects on the Earth as a result. The only two bodies in the solar system that can affect the Earth's tides are the moon, which is very close, and the sun, which is massive and also fairly close. But the other planets have a negligible effect on the Earth."
Some say the Earth's axes will shift on December 21, 2012 and cause a catastrophic end. Yeomans notes that even though the magnetic field of the Earth does shift every half-million years there is no evidence it will happen in December, and even if it happens the process takes thousands of years to complete and it will not cause any problem on the Earth beside the need for navigators to recalibrate their compasses.
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