Is it curtains for our planet tomorrow? Or just Friday?
Do you fear that tomorrow is the last day ever?
It's certainly the end of the long-count calendar used by the ancient Mayans (whose descendants don't actually believe
that we all die tomorrow).
But does that mean it's curtains for our planet?
No, says NASA
. With a giant, exhausted, empirical sigh.
Plenty of people apparently do believe
in this end-times notion, which is why NASA has felt compelled to set it straight with a frequently-asked-questions
page. And it's hard not to detect in their answers a little bit of exasperation -- almost outrage -- at having to perform this task at all. It is hilarious
It starts out like this:
Question (Q): Are there any threats to the Earth in 2012? Many Internet websites say the world will end in December 2012.
(A):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.
You can just hear NASA saying, "Okay? Can we all go back to work -- Oh, you have more questions. Wow. Fine. What."
Is there a planet or brown dwarf called Nibiru or Planet X or Eris that
is approaching the Earth and threatening our planet with widespread
A: Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets
are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. 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. Obviously, it
does not exist. Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto
that will remain in the outer solar system; the closest it can come to
Earth is about 4 billion miles.
Then down at the bottom of the page comes our favorite FAQ exchange:
Q: How do NASA scientists feel about claims of the world ending in 2012?
For any claims of disaster or dramatic changes in 2012, where is the
science? Where is the evidence? There is none, and for all the fictional
assertions, whether they are made in books, movies, documentaries or
over the Internet, we cannot change that simple fact. There is no
credible evidence for any of the assertions made in support of unusual
events taking place in December 2012.
I guess this means I no longer have an excuse for what's going on in my kitchen sink.
Must be dealt with.
Eff you, NASA.