The U.S. space agency NASA again on Saturday sought to debunk the latest round of conspiracy theories, releasing a new video that downplays concerns that the world will end in 2012.
Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) released the video, addressing concerns related to the “Mayan apocalypse,” which some people believe predicts the end of the Earth in 2012.
The video, which is posted online, features Don Yeomans, head of the Near-Earth Objects Program Office at NASA/JPL.
Speaking in the video, Mr. Yeomans said concerns of a coming apocalypse are based on little more than conspiracy theories. He also notes that any prediction based off of the Mayan calender represents a misreading of how the calender is devised.
“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,” said Mr. Yeomans.
The NASA scientists addresses a number of issues including the possibility of a hidden giant planet, termed Niburu or Planet X by believers. Conspiracy theorists have suggested that the nonexistent planet is on a collision trajectory with the Earth. The theory notes that the mysterious planet remains out of sight by Earth’s astronomers and space agencies are working to keep it secret in order to avoid widespread panic.
“There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. Each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence,” says the U.S. space agency.
Mr. Yeomans also tackles the proposal that a massive solar flare could wipe out humanity. While he concedes that massive solar storms are projected to slam into Earth this year, Mr. Yeomans noted that solar flare activity is part of an 11-year cycle and its maximum period peaks in May 2013, not December 2012.
As the NASA scientist points out, even then there is no indication that the solar flare activity will exhibit worse than a “mild” period. He added that there was no evidence of impending solar storms.
NASA also addresses the theory of a reconfiguration in the alignment of the Earth’s magnetic poles that could cause a massive disruption in how humanity operates on Earth. Speaking in the video, the NASA scientists notes that polar shifts occur every 750.00 years, and the process itself takes thousands of years.
“A reversal in the rotation of Earth is impossible. There are slow movements of the continents (for example Antarctica was near the equator hundreds of millions of years ago), but that is irrelevant to claims of reversal of the rotational poles,” says the space agency. “As far as we know, such a magnetic reversal doesn’t cause any harm to life on Earth. A magnetic reversal is very unlikely to happen in the next few millennia, anyway.”
The U.S. space agency video also downplays speculation that a massive asteroid will hit Earth in 2012. The agency notes that it employs a number of tracking systems tasked with searching the universe for large asteroids that would poise a problem for Earth.
“The Earth has always been subject to impacts by comets and asteroids, although big hits are very rare. The last big impact was 65 million years ago, and that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today NASA astronomers are carrying out a survey called the Spaceguard Survey to find any large near-Earth asteroids long before they hit,” say scientists.
The video is the latest released by the U.S. space agency, which has sought to counter claims in the past concerning the possibility of Earth ending in the year 2012.