Why the world won’t end in 2012, according to NASA
Okay, so we’ve all heard the word on the street for 2012: the end times are upon us, and we’re going out with a bang rather than a whimper.
The end of the Mayan calendar. Asteroids. Planetary alignments. Polar shift. Solar storms. All headed our way and all decidedly unpleasant.
Luckily for us, NASA is putting the kibosh on all our doomsday fears with a reassuring post to their website.
“Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012,” NASA explains. “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.”
Fair enough. But what about the asteroids? They’re bad news—just ask any dinosaur.
And, as C-3PO says, “the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3720 to 1”—great odds for Lotto 6/49, but not our fragile blue planet as it hurtles through the void.
“Today NASA astronomers are carrying out a survey called the Spaceguard Survey,” the website reassuringly continues, “to find any large near-Earth asteroids long before they hit. We have already determined that there are no threatening asteroids as large as the one that killed the dinosaurs. All this work is done openly with the discoveries posted every day on the NASA NEO Program Office website, so you can see for yourself that nothing is predicted to hit in 2012.”
Whew! But aren’t we due for sort of dangerous lineup of celestial bodies? Something that’ll throw our solar system off-balance end all life as we know it? “There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades.”
Okay, how about a polar shift, in which the top and bottom of the Earth trade polarity? “A magnetic reversal is very unlikely to happen in the next few millennia.”
Surely, then, the solar storms will get us, right? “Solar flares can cause some interruption of satellite communications, although engineers are learning how to build electronics that are protected against most solar storms. But there is no special risk associated with 2012.”
In fact, NASA promises: “Nothing bad will happen to the Earth 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.”
Good news, indeed.