You may of heard of this one. There's a rumor going around that the world is slated to go kaput pretty soon, as in sometime later this year. In fact, several people claim to have even confirmed the exact date and time with the ancient Mayan calendar, which apparently shows our fates being sealed on December 21st, 2012.
Let's for a moment entertain the possibility that this may very well be the case. Will the planet go down like a dancing inferno or spend it's last night rendezvous-ing with a death star? In the meantime, is there a wormhole I can crawl into. And since we're on the topic, what's the science behind it?
Well, apparently, this whole end-times business seems serious enough that the kind folks at NASA decided to thoroughly investigate several of the most popular theories being floated around. The result was an astronomy presentation that cleverly debunks many of the purported doomsday scenarios.
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In the video, NASA scientist Don Yeomans isn't merely the voice of reason, he downright epitomizes it. With his professorial eyeglasses, neatly cropped hair and relaxed navy blue shirt the agency's deep impact expert doesn't appear the least bit frazzled as he calmly explains why we needn't worry even a smidge about giant killer planets named Niburo coming to destroy Earth (Yeomans: we probably would have seen it seen it knock over a few other celestial bodies on the way over here).
But what about when the magnetic field shifts and the ensuing mayhem it may cause? "Even if it (magnetic field) did shift, it's not going to cause a problem on the earth apart from the fact that we're going have to re-calibrate our compasses," Yeomans reassures us.
The presentation is worth a watch if you're into apocalyptic scenarios. Or even if you're not, it's still a really entertaining astronomy lesson.