NASA launches Web resource for 2012 predictions

In an online FAQ, the agency takes a scientific look at the hype surrounding 2012 and the end of the world.

Over the past few weeks, we've heard more and more about 2012 when, according to some, the world will end. Responding to all that talk with a healthy dose of skepticism, scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have launched a Web page to dispel the myths surrounding the momentous occasion.

On an FAQ page called, "2012: Beginning of the End or Why the World Won't End?" NASA wrote that much like the Y2K scare a decade ago, the end of the world won't come in 2012.

"Impressive movie special effects aside, December 21, 2012, won't be the end of the world as we know," NASA scientists wrote on its 2012 page. "It will, however, be another winter solstice."

According to NASA scientists, "nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012." The scientists wrote on the page that "our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012."

But it's further down on the page where the scientists bring out the big guns. They said although the myth surrounding 2012 contends planets will align and crash into Earth, "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."

In the end, it was a simple comment from NASA senior research scientist Don Yeomans that might sum up the agency's feelings on 2012: "There apparently is a great deal of interest in celestial bodies, and their locations and trajectories at the end of the calendar year 2012. Now, I for one love a good book or movie as much as the next guy. But the stuff flying around through cyberspace, TV, and the movies is not based on science."

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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