Doomsayers are awaiting Dec. 21, 2012, the day the Mayan calendar ends and the rumored Mayan apocalypse unfolds. But NASA is debunking the notion that the world will end in just a few short days. In fact, NASA is so confident we'll still be here on Dec. 22 that on Tuesday it posted a video to its official YouTube channel titled "Why the World Didn't End Yesterday."
The caption for the video explains it all: "NASA is so sure the world won't come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, that they already released a video for the day after."
In the apocalypse video, NASA explains how the Mayan doomsday rumors began, Yahoo! News' The Lookout notes. The video highlights misconceptions surrounding the date 12-21-12. If an asteroid were heading toward Earth, we would already see it in the sky. The sun is not a threat either, as it has been flaring for billions of years and has yet to cause any serious harm, the clip notes.
NASA has been trying to assuage the fears of worried people with its "Beyond 2012" FAQ page.
"The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth," NASA notes. "This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012 and linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012 -- hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012."
The response is understandable. From websites to books to made-for-TV specials, hype surrounding a Dec 21. doomsday has steadily increased in popular culture. And NASA has been inundated with questions.
“I get a tremendous number of emails about it,” David Morrison, a space scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in California, who hosts the agency’s Ask an Astrobiologist website, told Time magazine. “A large fraction are from people asking if the world will end, saying they’re scared and don’t know what to do. A few even talk about suicide.”
“Two years ago, I met with a group of middle-school science teachers,” Morrison added, “and I asked them how many of them were seeing kids who were worried about 2012. Nearly every hand shot up.”
Other experts agree with NASA. The world will not be coming to an end just yet.
"The 2012 end-of-the-world scenario is a hoax perpetrated by the scientifically illiterate on the scientifically under-informed," Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and author, told The Huffington Post. "Earth is going to be here till the end of the solar system. The sun will die in five billion years."