NASA is so confident that the Mayan Apocalypse will fail on Dec. 21 that it has released ahead of its Dec. 22 schedule, a video titled, "Why the World didn't End Yesterday." But some ask, is it unsure that anyone would see the video on Dec. 22?
The video represents an intensification of NASA's campaign to allay popular fears about the end of the world. The agency is working to assure us that the world will not end on December 21 because they have been receiving inquiries from anxious members of the public.
Apparently, NASA officials are worried, not about the end of the world on December 21, but that some obsessed individuals may pose a risk to themselves and the public through dangerously irrational reaction to their fears.
NASA said on its site dedicated to debunking the claims: "The world will not end in 2012. Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012."
The video outlines in detail the popular myths surrounding the Mayan Apocalypse hysteria, based on popular interpretation of the ancient Mayan calendar. Mayan doomsday prophets are saying that the Mayan calender ends on December 21, 2012, because the Mayans expected the world would end on that day.
In the video, NASA experts marshal scientific evidence to debunk fears that the Sun will burn the Earth or that some rogue planet will bump into it.
The video says: "If you are watching this video then that means one thing... the world didn't end yesterday..."
The most popular theory of how the world will end on December 21 claims that a rogue planet Nibiru, first discovered by ancient Sumerians, will emerge suddenly from the stellar horizons and run into the Earth.
Scientists have scanned the skies and have not found evidence of such a planet. However, some conspiracy theorists explain that scientists have found the planet but have not released the information. But the NASA video makes the point that if a rogue planet or asteroid was about to run into the Earth we won't need astronomers to tell us, it would be so near in space that we would be able to see it with our bare eyes.
According to the Daily Mail, Dr. Don Yeomans, head of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program, stated that astronomers have not found any asteroids or comets on a collision course with the Earth. However, the recent close passage of asteroid 4179 Toutatis ("By toutatis!") does nothing to instill confidence and allay fears among those who must have the world end on December 21.
NASA expert, Lika Guhathakurta, head of NASA's Living with a Star program, also denied speculations that the Sun will destroy the Earth. Guhathakurta says: "Right now the sun is approaching the peak of its 11-year activity cycle but this is the wimpiest solar cycle of the last 50-years."
Hope the right people are listening.
The video explains that the belief that Mayans were expecting the world to end on December 21, 2012, arises from a misunderstanding of their belief system. According to Dr. John Carlson, Director of the Center for archeo-astronomy, who has been studying Mayan beliefs connected with the 2012 apocalypse for 35 years, the Mayan calender does not end on Dec. 21, 2012 as it is popularly assumed.
Carlson explains: "There were no Mayan prophecies that foretold the end of the world. The concept of time used by Mayan's dwarfed those of modern astronomers." He says: "According to our science, the Big Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago but there are dates in Mayan ruins that stretch back a billion billion times farther than that. The Mayan Long Count calender was designed to keep track of such long intervals and is the most complex calender system ever developed."
Conspiracy theorists, however, insist that the Mayans knew something about the world and the universe that modern scientists don't know.
Digital Journal reports that according to scholars, the Ancient Mayans believed that a 5,125-year cycle of time will come to an end on December 21 2012. But they do not associate the end of the cycle with catastrophe. According to experts, the cycle is made of 13 baktuns of 394 year periods that began in 3114 B.C.
However, not everyone shares NASA's confidence. The Huffington Post observes that anxiety about the end of the world has contributed to increase in number of UFO sightings. Digital Journal reports sightings were reported recently in San Francisco and Brooklyn, and another in Breton, England.
According to The Huffiington Post, David Morrison, an astrobiologist at NASA Ames Research Center, says: There is no true issue here. This is just a manufactured fantasy. While this is a joke to some people and a mystery to others, there is a core of people who are truly concerned. I think it's evil for people to propagate rumors on the Internet to frighten children."
What Morrison does not say is that some of the frightened "children" are full-grown adults.