As December 21, 2012 grows near, the hysteria concerning the end of the Maya calendar is coming to a head. Gullible people all over the world are stocking up on non-perishable items and preparing for an apocalyptic disaster. For scientists, though, these latest doomsday prophecies are the same thing as any prophecy – a claim without enough evidence to even be worthy of the label ‘hypothesis.’
Not everyone knows bunk when they hear it, though, so NASA recently devoted the precious time of some of its scientists to debunking the spurious claims. NASA researchers from all over the U.S. gathered in a Google Hangout to discuss prophecy, the winter solstice, and the track record of doomsday prophecies (spoiler alert: they’ve all been wrong).
Among the participants are Astrobiologist David Morrison, Asteroid Scientist Don Yeomans, Archaeoastronomer Mitzi Adams, Heliophysicist Lika Guhathakurta, and Astrophysicist Paul Hertz. The scientists methodically pick apart every silly prophecy and rumor about what disasters will happen on December 21. In particular, the group tears into the myth of the fictional planet Nibiru, which is rumored to be on a collision course with Earth.
(Image courtesy MBisanz via Wikimedia Commons)