December 12th, 2012
12:13 PM ET

NASA Science prepares for the not-end of the world

Are you preparing for a certain fictional apocalypse this month?

The idea that the world is ending on December 21, 2012, comes from a misinterpretation of the Mayan calendar. Because their calendar ends on the 21st, some believe the world must be ending, as well.

This idea has become so widespread in popular culture that NASA Science has made repeated efforts to debunk it. They've now even gone so far as to produce a video for the 22nd of December, explaining (again) why the world didn't end:


The video should ease any fears you might have that all of humanity is headed for its demise this month.

Other doomsday theories for the 21st include the idea that a planet called Nibiru is on a collision course with Earth, a total blackout for the planet due to the "alignment of the universe," solar storms and meteor strikes. NASA says none of these events is actually a possibility and does a case-by-case debunking.

Post by:
Filed under: On Earth
soundoff (375 Responses)
  1. tiana duhart

    This is scary you never know what is going to happend to us even the earth aswell.I have check many websites of doomsday and movie about them and it was really scary.If you are reading commet,You must bewar it can happed a anytime.

    July 9, 2013 at 9:21 am |
  2. WebWatcher

    Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites? I have a blog based upon on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would appreciate your work. If you're even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

    February 21, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
  3. acne

    You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be actually something that I feel I might by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely extensive for me. I am having a look forward for your subsequent publish, I'll try to get the cling of it!

    January 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  4. yazlik villalar

    Magnificent goods from you, man. I've be aware your stuff prior to and you're just extremely excellent. I actually like what you have acquired right here, certainly like what you're stating and the way in which by which you assert it. You're making it entertaining and you continue to take care of to keep it smart. I can't wait to learn far more from you. That is really a tremendous web site.

    December 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  5. double glaze windows

    Woah this weblog is wonderful i love studying your posts. Keep up the great paintings! You already know, a lot of persons are searching around for this information, you can help them greatly.

    December 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  6. Edgar02

    Day one myfriend

    December 22, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  7. jocelyngosselin

    Everyone remember Y2K? Same think except they managed to think 13k years ahead of modern society who couldn't even look past 1000 years! Makes you wonder how such a civilization could collapse with so much foresight!

    December 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  8. Jesus

    Some ppl belive, and most ppl do not belive. The only thing i noticed is that it seems to be a link between what you do (bad or nice/what comes around goes around), what you belive (why is mental strength so important in sports) , and if you belive or not.. AND how well you do in life. Based on this i would say that if there really is a god we would all be doomed, this world is really fair and were all following the 10 bids right?

    December 19, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  9. sicntired

    The one thing that's been consistent in my lifetime(64)is the raving loonies that are "certain"that the end is nigh.The glassy eyed christians who know this is the end times.Not to leave out the people who prey on their fears and suck every last dollar out of the poor misguided fools.

    December 18, 2012 at 1:52 am |
  10. Kayla

    Ok..I just want a awnser if the world will end or not....I don't want to miss the fun days.(Christmas,New years,and birthdays)I will be in school if the world ended and not being with my family.

    December 17, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  11. josh

    Like others NASA also have some secrets but the world dimension change wil b sure, not only bec of mayan calendar but also of some change in space. NASA observes ly 40% of space objects around the earth, so in remaining 60% anything can happen. Dimension change is drastic growth in DNA. so that the children's born will b having more Mental and Physical ability than their parents.

    December 17, 2012 at 6:01 am |
  12. Jean D

    The only thing that will surely destroy this world is certainly not the predictions of December 21 2012 .
    It will be over time the greed of mankind to live for power and money. Could you stop oil companies today ? We have the thecnology and the know how to stop the consumption of natural resources yet they are still selling you cars to consume oil. Wake up America before it is to late...Sweden is powering their cars with natural gaz produced by waste ...Why are we to consume to the last drop of oil ? The true end of the world is greed and corruption that is the real theat of this earth not the Mayans calendar.

    December 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  13. pudgem11

    Guess that means I won't be celebrating my 39th wedding anniversary on the 22nd. Was kind of hoping to make it to 40. Woildn't you know it!

    December 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  14. pudgem11

    Shucks. This means that we won't be able to celebrate our 39th weddimg anniversary on the 22nd. Also was kind of hoping to make it to 40! Wouldn't you know it?

    December 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  15. Andy Mikel

    Guys must see this.

    December 14, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  16. Darneeshya

    why the world won't end ?i really want the wor;d to end very soon,if can before 21 December also will do.

    December 14, 2012 at 1:40 am |
  17. John Dunkelburg

    This whole 'Mayan Apocalypse' idea got started when a burned-out hippie read a book on the Mayan calendar while tripping on shrooms in the early 80s.

    December 13, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  18. Doomed

    the Mayans were wrong. I just looked at my calendar and it ends on December 31, 2012. Goodbye everyone.

    December 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  19. What!!?

    Don't worry, believers. On Dec 22, you can start working on another doomsday scenario.

    December 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  20. Just Sayin

    I do not know what to believe but all I know, as there are signs all around use, and no one is noticing them.. an asteroid Passing earth and they don't even alert anyone. What if, "WHAT IF" it made a dramatic turn and hit the earth and no one knew.
    I may sound stupid and scary, but you know what im be ready for what the lord is bringing use, no matter if its the 21st or 2013 or any other date.. One day the world will END but it wont be the 21st, that will be the beginning of the end of the world..
    Iv also heard there will be Zombies. Actually i just heard that graaves in California are rising and the graves are empty. But i do not know the whole truth and guess what NONE OF WILL EVER KNOW THE TRUTH TELL IT HITS US IN THE ASS..

    Ps. LMFAO Im waiting and living life..

    December 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  21. Kodak

    I say let people belive this will happen. It will keep idiots off the street while they are busy getting ready for the end to come.

    December 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  22. RJ

    Actually, the Mayan priest who was inscribing the tablet just didn't finish it because he was unexpectedly eaten by a dinosaur!

    December 13, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  23. RandyKC

    What does it say about the world when people are afraid the world is coming to an end when a calendar runs out?
    It's time to get a new calendar. That one was hard to read and it had lousy pictures.

    December 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  24. Mario

    Here's another theory... the Korean satellite that was just launched appears to be in an unstable orbit, per another CNN article. Suppose the "satellite" is actually carrying weapons grade nuclear material and loses its orbit, falling somewhere over the US on 12-21-12? That would certainly cause a "new awakening". Just sayin'...

    December 13, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  25. lauradet

    Shoot! Not ending? That means I have to still pay bills. Damn it!

    December 13, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Mike

      ...and I'll have to buy christmas presents...doh!

      December 14, 2012 at 5:10 am |
  26. the_dude

    Ok the world is probably not going to end on 12/21 but one can still hope cant they?

    December 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  27. The_Mick

    Forget about Dec. 22nd. My wall calendar ends with January 2013. Based on those interpretations of the Maya, that means the Earth will end this coming January 31st.

    December 13, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  28. Mr Magoo

    Our savior, Jesus Christ, mentioned in a sermon to his disciples that no one shall know the end. In order to find the end, all you need to do is visit the Yellowstone National park and observe the low rumbling of the Supervolcano. The modern day equivalent of the Greek mythological monster the Kraken.

    When the almighty deems the time is up he will unleash this power of Mother natures ... God help us then. Please repent now.

    December 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Kodak

      Thank the Lord, I don't need to repent!! A couple months ago I purchased some "indulgances" from a religious shrine in VA. I have the papers rite here to prove it!! I'm good to go! WHAAAHOOOO! Let the fun times roll! Ain't modern religion great, or what?

      December 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  29. Art

    And why do most modern end times gurus make predictions of the end to happen within their lifetime? Why not make predictions that say that the end will happen 1000 years from now?

    December 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Mario

      Nostradamas came close to that.

      December 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • The_Mick

      Likewise, not that the early Christians believed the end of times were to be soon, not thousands of years in the future!

      December 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  30. CAW

    So...who's far laughing at NASA when the world does end? Oh that's right we won't be able to. So just in case everyone laugh at NASA today. We can put out videos on the 22nd explaining why our laughter was only meant to be funny.

    December 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  31. GAW

    End times fanatics want to be entertained. Unfortunately some take all this "end of the world is around the corner" all too seriously and end up quitting their jobs and even contemplate taking their own lives rather than meet the pain of seeing the world end.

    December 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • GAW

      Plus it's an opportunity for the History Channel to boost ratings.

      December 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm |

    Hey. I do not believe to anybody about the end of the world except to all Mighty God. We still believe that the end is not yet as we have not seen some of the signs .... And if this happen, it is going to be a owesome party when no one is going to cry for someone else. So, i would encourage all who don't believe that we still have to have more and more generations after us before the end of the world.
    if it happens, let enjoy the worldest party. Gervas Vyizigiro

    December 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  33. Victoria

    Fun fact: the Mayan calendar did not include leap years so technically the world should have ended like 7 years ago.

    December 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  34. Johnny 5

    This is Y2K part 2. Everything goes extinct one day, even us primates.

    December 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  35. Franky

    YOu mean I have to go to school on Dec 22 now, this is some bull xhit!!!!

    December 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  36. apurba

    December 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  37. Mr. Hand

    Tell me we didn't spend tax dollars for NASA to study this and produce this video. Someone, please tell me that, even if it's not true.

    December 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Franky

      Eh ... so what ... NASA has $15 billion budget, that's approximately .003% of our annual budget, big whupdie they spent $5000 creating a video to educate dumb ax ...s like yourself. I'm proud of what NASA has contributed to society over the years. I'd gladly send my tax dollars to them every day instead of tax cuts for the wealthy.

      December 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
      • Mr. Hand

        OK Franky, I guarantee this cost waaaay more than 5K, and people with brains, like me, don't need educated. You are a blind fool.

        December 13, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  38. killerabn

    Good luck to everyone. I am heading out to survival pod 1 with 3,000 other hand picked people to head out into the stars. I will cherish my time on this planet (I took alot of pics).

    December 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  39. Donnie Shue

    This has all happened before....and it will all happen again....again.......again....
    The Wheel of Time turns and ages pass....truth becomes legend...legend becomes myth.....It is not THE Beginning but it is A Beginning.....

    12/21/2012 is NOT the day the world ends. It is the day we begin a new cycle of humanity. When we line up with the galactic core the Earth will no longer be hidden by radiation storms,other star systems,etc and a FTL lock will be possible. We will be rediscovered by the Cylons who terraformed Earth and planted our DNA here. Science Fiction will become reality and we will find ourselves more concerned with surviving encounters with Scarans,Peacekeepers,Klingons and Romulans than we are with killing fellow Earthers. The light speed barrier will be overcome along with countless other laws of nature we currently percieve. Orrrr maybe I need to stop posting before I have my coffee and maybe not watch end to end episodes of BSG all night. There must be some kinda way outta here.........

    December 13, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  40. Chris

    Ac Tah (a Mayan Scientist & Elder) stated "for the world to end because the Mayan Calendar does would be like time stopping because of a broken clock" I believe something will happen that will be a catalyst changing minds, views, possibly bringing an understanding and new level of thinking-but I don't think the world is ending anytime too soon.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  41. wallaceq41

    Reblogged this on Young, Driven & Passionate and commented:
    Rest easy, friends. We're in this for the long haul.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  42. Jack Azz

    Sure, if you chose to believe Big Science.

    December 13, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  43. Someone in Columbus

    Oh darn – I was hoping for post end-of-theworld / pre Christmas sales

    December 13, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  44. Cpt. Branagan

    For all you doomsday believers.. No worries the United Federation of Planets has dispatched the crew from NCC-1701-E to protect the earth.

    December 13, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  45. Someone in Columbus

    Oh darn...I was hoping for some post end-of-the-world-pre-Christmas sales.......

    Also, eceryone knows 12/21 will be the ALPACALAYSE....

    December 13, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • suzi

      always wanted an alpaca wool sweater.

      December 16, 2012 at 4:05 am |
  46. TarvisTheMighty

    But what about a rogue solar mass black hole?! Or a gamma ray burst?! The possibilities are endless! We're all gonna die!!

    (Note: I do not actually believe the world will end on Dec. 21.)

    December 13, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Joe

      Anyone ever consider if you are making a calendar that planning 5,000 years ahead was enough and just decided that 2012 was far enough out ?

      December 13, 2012 at 11:35 am |
      • Don

        Did anyone consider that the Mayan calendar is just like our calendar in that it repeats after a certain period of time? The Mayan calendar does not end on the 21st of December. It starts another cycle.

        December 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • GregClapton

      Did anyone consider that you can only chip so much data onto a stone tablet before you run out of space?

      December 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
      • Pam

        its like that pic on facebook that shows them with the stone and says that he only had enough room to 2012 lol and other one said thats gonna freak someone out one day lol

        December 13, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
      • Taylor L

        My thoughts exactly. I mean, seriously, how much can be chiseled onto a tablet before it is impossible to fit anymore??

        December 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  47. Watson

    What NASA isn't accounting for are the zombies! Really people! The end of the world date is actually Z Day! Silly NASA people, putting people on the moon, rovers on Mars, and building orbital space stations.... Silly NASA....

    December 13, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • smarter

      watson you are an idiot

      December 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
      • imogen

        you, sir, CLEARLY missed the sarcasm.

        the great irony is that your username is 'smarter.'

        December 13, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
      • Joe

        I think you need to change your name to the polar opposite. You are not even close to as smart as you think you are.

        December 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
      • Lijuani

        You aren't really smart actually

        December 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  48. c s

    Look at it this way. When the world ends on December 21st, the so-called financial crisis of January 1st, 2013 will no longer matter. So all of the millionaires and billionaires will get to die without paying any inheritance taxes. Now does this change your perspective on the problem?

    December 13, 2012 at 10:53 am |
1 2


  • Elizabeth Landau
  • Sophia Dengo
    Senior Designer