By now, we've all heard the silly rumour that the world is going to end on December 21, 2012. A few different causes are "threatening" to strip us of our mortal coils: the Mayans got lazy and stopped adding days to their calendar is a popular rumour, the risk of a mysterious planet named Nibiru colliding with our own world is another.
Will this winter solstice really be our last? According to the top minds at NASA, these Earth-death rumours have about as much substance as that viral privacy hoax you've seen spreading on Facebook this week. That is to say, none at all.
"Contrary to some of the common beliefs out there, Dec. 21, 2012 won't be the end of the world as we know it, however, it will be another winter solstice," writes NASA in a Google+ post.
To dispel these end-of-the-world rumours, NASA hosted a Google Hangout with a cadre of top scientists in relevant fields, including astrobiology and astronomy. (Sadly, John Cusack will not be attending). Among the panelists:
- David Morrison, astrobiologist from NASA's Ames Research Centre
- Don Yeomans, asteroid scientist from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Mitzi Adams, solar/archaeoastronomer from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Centre
- Lika Guhathakurta, heliophysicist from NASA Headquarters
- Paul Hertz, astrophysicist from NASA Headquarters
- Andrew Fraknoi, science educator from Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California
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