Will the World End Tomorrow? Mayan Apocalypse Myths Debunked
It's the end of the world as we know it... or not.
All those who believe the apocalypse is coming on Friday can rest easy, according to NASA and Live Science, who assured the world that the Mayan doomsday prophecies won't come true.
“There is no true issue here. This is just a manufactured fantasy," said NASA’s astrobiologist David Morrison.
For those who haven't heard about all the fuss - according to the ancient Mayan calendar, life will cease to exist as we know it on December 21, 2012 (also known as tomorrow).
On that day, the Mayan Calendar will cycle back to zero and bring about the end of a 5,125-year cycle known as the Long Count.
This will apparently cause the apocalypse.
It might sound crazy, but quite a few people believe it. (And by a few, we mean one out of every ten people on the planet.)
But fear not! To help calm the frenzied masses, the scientists have stepped in with facts and figures to debunk the myths.
Read on to find out why the world most likely will not end tomorrow:
Myth 1 - The Sun Kills Us All
Lots of predictions involve some scenario in which the sun will flamethrower the earth with solar storms and flares. While solar flares on the sun are normal, NASA has not found any evidence of a storm or disturbance that would result in destruction. In fact, they said the current solar maximum is "the wimpiest" in history.
Myth 2 - The Earth's Magnetic Poles Reverse And Bad Things Happen
Mayan lore says that on December 21, the North and South Poles will flip-flop suddenly causing earthquakes, tsunamis - basically the last few minutes of "Deep Impact." This one is the closest thing to reality because there is some evidence that the poles do shift... but it's a process that takes literally millions of years. The last swap occurred about 780,000 years ago, which puts the planet about due for another change in the next several thousand years.
Myth 3 - Planetary Alignment Exposes Us To Evil Forces
Some people think the planets could align in some way that could cause catastrophic effects. Great news on this one - NASA is 100% sure there are no "galactic alignments" scheduled for 2012. And guess what? There WERE planetary alignments in 1962, 1982 and 2000... and we're still here.
Some people actually believe that this lineup would expose us to evil forces out there. But NASA insists there is no "galactic alignment" in 2012. During every winter solstice, there is a type of alignment, but they don't affect gravitational pull or planet orbits.
Myth 4 - Another Planet Collides With The Earth
This is perhaps my favorite Mayan doomsday legend: the concern that the world will end when the imaginary planet of Nibiru collides with our planet.
"This enormous planet is supposed to be coming toward Earth, but if it were, we would have seen it long ago. And if it were invisible somehow, we would have seen the [gravitational] effects of this planet on neighboring planets," said NASA's Don Yeomans.
and last but not least....
Myth 5 - Total Blackout
Forget the Mayans, we can blame this myth on the Internet. In the past few weeks, spam emails have been flooding inboxes, claiming that NASA is predicting a total Earth blackout between December 23 and 25th. According to LiveScience:
"Some emails claim that this blackout will occur as the result of the sun and Earth aligning for the first time, while others spin a wild tale about Earth entering "a still ring" called the Photonic belt."
Either way - it's not going to happen. NASA officials reassured worries kids everywhere that they will not have to open Christmas presents by candlelight, writing "Neither NASA nor any other scientific organization is predicting such a blackout."
What do you think? And more importantly, how would you spend your last hours if the world really WAS going to end tomorrow?