Solar Flare Won’t Bring About Mayan Apocalypse, NASA Says
With the end of the Mayan "long count" calendar about 13 months away—December 21, 2012—doomsayers have been wondering what foreseeable event might be the culprit of the theorized apocalypse. A popular theory has been that the sun would send a massive solar flare that would travel through space and destroy the Earth. No dice, say NASA scientists, in a recent statement. One reason a solar flare won't bring doom in 2012 is that while, yes, we are approaching the peak of the standard 11-year solar cycle, that peak won't arrive until 2013 or 2014. However, even then, the apocalyptic result isn't possible. As NASA puts it, "there simply isn't enough energy in the sun to send a killer fireball 93 million miles to destroy Earth." NASA does concede that electromagnetic radiation and energetic particles from a solar flare can reach us, but the damage would be, at worst, some blown-out power transformers or affected satellites. Dubbed "space weather," it could disrupt things that depend on precise data transmissions—GPS systems, airplane navigation, the stock market—but that's a far cry from the sort of extinction event that ended the dinosaurs' party. A report at Space.com brought up another theory cited by some who seem to want the world to end in 2012—that of the "rogue body" Nibiru, a planet four times the size of Earth that would smash into us with disastrous results. Scientists say that there is simply no evidence that Nibiru exists. In a video on the subject, Don Yeomans, manager of the Near-Earth Object Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, said he didn't expect to be preparing for the end of days come late 2012. "I'm not going to lay in any extra supplies — no survival gear," he said. "I'm just going to lay in an extra supply of egg nog for the coming holiday season."