Is the world going to end on December 21, 2012? NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) says no. The Dooms Day Theory may have helped keep Hollywood cash registers full with many disaster films. NASA, the United States of America’s space research centre, has officially discredited the belief.
So how do you prove wrong a phenomenon which millions of people around the world believe to be true or fantasise about. NASA did it with facts.
The legend started with the claim that Nibru, a planet allegedly discovered by Sumerians, is on the path to crash into Earth. The disaster was first prophesied to happen on May 2003. When that obviously failed, the date was postponed to December 2012. The rescheduling proved to be perfect timing as it also matched the end of an ancient Mayan Calendar cycle — thus the forecast date of December 21, 2012. So, did the Mayans predict the end of the world and does their calendar cease to exist after the date? No. The date is just the end to ‘Baktun’, one among the several time cycles on the basis of which the Mayans created their calendar. A ‘Baktun’ is 1,44,000 days, slightly more than 394 years. Our year ends by December 31, but it doesn’t lead to the world’s end. Similarly the Mayan calendar just moves on to a new period. Mayans seem to have been obsessed with the number 20. Most of their time cycles are multiples of the number. A period of 7,200 days (360 x 2) was known as ‘Katun’. Twenty ‘Katuns’ combined to make a ‘Batun’ and 20 ‘Batuns’ made a ‘Pictun’.
Till 1975, no one cared about the end of the 13th Baktun. That was when Frank Waters, an American writer, released his book, Mexico Mystique, with an entire chapter dedicated to the topic. But Waters miscalculated the date. “The end of the Great Cycle will occur on Dec ember 24, 2011 AD,” he announced, when the world “will be destroyed by catastrophic earthquakes.” In the same year Dennis and Terence McKenna at least got the ending of the Baktun-13 right (December 12) in their book, The Invisible Landscape: Mind Hallucinogens, and the I Ching. There were further promotions of the theory by Jose Arguelles (The Mayan Factor: Path Beyond Technology) in 1987 and by John Major Jenkins (Maya Cosmogenesis 2012)
‘Catastrophic earthquakes’ are not the only form of destruction; many believe that the end will be brought about by an alignment of planets. NASA has cleared that there are no planetary alignments on the winter solstice of 2012. “Each December the Earth and Sun align with the approximate centre of the Milky Way galaxy, but that is an annual event of no consequence,” says NASA.
So what does NASA have to say about Nibru or Planet X or Eris that is supposed to crash land on Earth? According to NASA all these stories are an Internet hoax. If such a planet did exist and was headed towards us, then astronomers would have been tracing its path. Moreover, it would have been visible to the naked eye. And Eris is a dwarf planet like our Pluto in another solar system. And its distance from Earth is four billion miles (more than 6 billion km).
Doom theorists have been in the spotlight for centuries. Even the year 2000 was never to come. But our Earth has persistently snubbed the idea of giving up
But with dictators thrown out of power (Moammar Gaddafi), with the most wanted man on earth killed (Osama Bin Laden), uprisings and movements by discontented citizens, and unprecedented technology; it might be the end of the world as we know it.