According to the doomsayers, there’s less than two months of civilization here on Earth. On December 21st – only 57 days from now – the Mayan calendar ends and the planet Earth will cease to exist. How can this happen? Let us count the ways!
- The Earth poles will reverse, causing The Day After Tomorrow consequences
- A cosmic alignment will cause the Earth to experience massive gravitational forces, causing it to rip apart
- Earth will collide with another planet (Nibiru, or Eris, or Planet X)
- The Sun will scorch us with massive solar flares
- An asteroid will impact the Earth, causing us to share the same fate as the dinosaurs.
- Super volcanoes will erupt, melting the surface of the Earth (or, releasing so many dust particulates that the sun will be blocked out causing all plant life to die)
Now let’s debunk them with some help from NASA.
Reversal of Earth’s Poles
There are very slow movements of the continents via plate tectonics,but that is irrelevant to claims of “reversal of the rotational poles”. Many of the disaster websites will pull a bait-and-switch to fool people. They claim that there’s a correlation between the rotation of the Earth and its magnetic polarity. The magnetic poles do change every 400,000 years, on average, but it’s a slow process (meaning, it won’t happy in time for Dec 21, 2012). As far as we know, even if it did happen (which, I repeat, it won’t) there’s no evidence to suggest a magnetic reversal causes any harm to life on Earth.
There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, and the Earth is not set to cross the galactic plane in 2012. Even if there were a cosmic alignment, it wouldn’t matter because the effects on the Earth would be insignificant. The Earth and sun align roughly with the center of the Milky Way galaxy each December, but that is an annual event which has no impact on us. It’s just another day in paradise.
Nibiru and other stories about rogue planets are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for any of these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were indeed real and headed for a collision with 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 – especially considering we’re less than two months away from the “impact”. 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.
Solar activity has a regular cycle, with peaks roughly every 11 years. Near these activity peaks, solar flares can cause some interruption of satellite communications. This is a sometimes expensive pain-in-the-a$$ that is slowly being solved by brilliant engineers creating space shields and other cool space tech. But there is no special risk associated with 2012 for life on Earth. The next solar maximum will occur around 2012-2014 and is predicted to be a fairly average solar cycle. No biggie.
Earth is always at risk to asteroid impacts, but those on the catastrophic scale are exceedingly rare. The last major impact was 65 million years ago which led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today, NASA astronomers are carrying out a search called the Spaceguard Survey to find any large near-Earth asteroids well before they would impact Earth. Astronomers have already figured out that there are no threatening asteroids as big as the one that killed the dinosaurs. In fact, the project is open source and the discoveries are posted every day on the NASA NEO Program Office website. That means you can check for yourself to see that there are no large impacts scheduled for Dec 21, 2012.
There is evidence that volcanic activity in Yellowstone National Park will someday lead to a huge eruption capable of covering half the United States in 3 feet of ash (yikes). However, experts agree that super-eruptions are exceedingly rare, and the odds that one will occur in our lifetimes are extremely small.
The Sad Truth
It’s easy to poke fun at the doomsayers and their claims for the end of the world. But, as the saying goes, “it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye”. And for some of the doomsayers, it’s serious business. One only has to look at the Heaven’s Gate Cult, who believed that the world would be “recycled” and that the only way to survive was to leave planet Earth immediately. In 1997, 39 cultists left the Earth by way of mass suicide. It’s a shining example of why critical thinking is so important in our world – perhaps a few of those 39 could have been convinced that the world would still be around today, and that they still had many more years of life ahead of them.