2012 Doomsday debunked: a NASA rundown

Near the end of the year in 2011, NASA representative Don Yeomans spoke at a press conference, listing out very clearly every easy to understand scientific reason why the Earth will not end in 2012 – since talks of this madness are once again boiling up, it's high time we took another look at those claims. The first and most important point Yeomans made (since it's being called up so often recently) is that just because the 365 day calendar the Mayans used had what they called a "long count" of 5,125 years long, this landing on the 21st of December 2012, it doesn't mean that this is the end of time. It simply means that the next long count begins, just like a new year begins for us after the last one ends.

Yeomans exact position was (and is) manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object program office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He knows his stuff, and his NASA badge is nothing to scoff at. The reason he gave the talk that Space.com reported was a simple one: after searching the web for "2012 disasters," he said he got 35 million hits, noting "a lot of people are concerned about December 21, 2012." Thusly he spoke in turn about the major theories (if you can call them major, that is,) that have been plaguing many over the past several years.

Planet X

There is a wild woman out there who claims to be in contact with aliens from outer space that have told her that a planet by the name of Nibiru or "Planet X" will crash into the Earth on December 21st, 2012. She also predicted this would happen in May of 2003, but changed her prediction to this new date when, lo and behold, life in this planet did not end in the third year of the 2000s. Nancy Leider, the woman in question here, spoke with aliens from the Zeta Reticuli star system, gaining this insight more than once, saying that this mystery planet is simply hiding behind the sun until it comes a' crashing.

"There's no evidence whatsoever that Nibiru exists. It can't hide behind the sun forever, and we would've seen it years ago. [An in regards to any conspiracy,] there's no way on Earth to keep astronomers quiet about anything," Yeomans joked.

Mayan Calendar

Again, the Mayan Calendar supposedly ends on what we know as the 21st of December, 2012. Yeomans simply notes that this is as silly as saying that at the end of the day, the world ends as well.

"The short-count was 52 of our years, and the long-count was 5,125 years long. This long-count calendar is coming to an end on Dec. 21. Of course, a new calendar would start on Dec. 22. It would be like saying that our calendar ends Dec. 31, and that's the end of time, the end of days, that's it, no regard for how a new cycle would begin. The Maya never predicted the end of the world occurred at that time." – Yeomans

Planets Align

Fears that the planets in our solar system will all line up in a row and crash because the gravity from each will cause a one gigantic attraction festival were slapped in the face by Yeomans. First of all, there is no planetary alignment on December 21st, 2012, he noted. That's important. Then Yeomans reminded the audience that the only planetary bodies that have any kind of gravitational effect on the Earth are the Sun and our moon, these creating tides in our watery bodies. Nothing more.

Pole Flip

Another completely absurd claim is that the geographical and magnetic poles will flip on the 21st of December, 2012. First of all, the geographical poles cannot flip as the moon keeps our planet spinning stably – that's quite simple. Then there's the magnetic poles, which do indeed flip, but only once every 500,000 years, each time doing so over thousands of years.

"And there's no evidence of a flip on Dec. 21, 2012. Even if it did flip, it would not cause any real problems, other than us having to change our compasses from north to south." – Yeomans

Solar Storms

This is the only, and I repeat the only thing we should have any worries about, and it has nothing to do with the year 2012 specifically. What a solar storm entails is a torrent of energetic particles from the sun flying off and slamming into the Earth. These generally create auroras and can mess up power lines and satellites in space, but "nothing that causes lasting damage," as Yeomans notes.

"There is no evidence that one will happen on Dec. 21 next year," Yeomans said. It's impossible to predict solar activity that far out, and even an extremely strong solar storm wouldn't likely bring the apocalypse that some fear." – Yeomans

Just such an "extremely strong" storm or "super storm" did occur, or at least there are some records of something very similar, here on Earth in the year 1859. Though records show that it did little damage back then, our whole world revolves around electronics these days – we're talking Escape from LA business here, folks, fun!

In Summary

The world isn't going to end inside 2012 barring an event completely unprecedented in science and physics in basically every way. It's absurd to believe that the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world because the Mayans never said nor indicated such a thing. Yeomans had a final note to ring out on, it sounding clear for all the citizens out there whose science isn't exactly their strong suit:

Scientists really have their work cut out for them. We really have to do a better job educating people about science." – Yeomans

[via Space.com]