On Dec. 21, 2012, some fear that a rogue planet will collide with Earth and destroy the planet, or that the supposed end of the Mayan calendar will lead to the obliteration of the universe.
When people have questions about these scenarios, they often turn to the Internet.
NASA astrobiologist David Morrison has taken it upon himself to enter that online conversation and answer hundreds of questions about the science of existential threats.
On NASA’s Q&A site Ask an Astrobiologist, Morrison debunks and details the origins of popular apocalyptic scenarios and thoughtfully responds to questions about potential doom.
“Many people don’t know what they’re afraid of,” Morrison tells NPR’s Neal Conan, “but they have heard this doomsday thing so often that they just come to me with a simple question: Will we have Christmas this year?”
Morrison wants to assure the world that Christmas will come this year. The planet Nibiru doesn’t exist, and there is no correlation between the end of the calendar and the end of the world — the calendar would simply start over.
Morrison says he’s not quite sure how he became NASA’s doomsday expert, but the questions started coming in around 2007 or 2008. “They came out of the blue,” he says. “I had no idea anyone was worried about a 2012 apocalypse. So I answered.”
The questions kept flooding in, and the blog has become something of an obsession for Morrison over the past year. Ask an Astrobiologist has received more than 5,000 questions about doomsday 2012, and Morrison has posted more than 400 responses.
As the senior scientist of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, Morrison has a lot of scientific knowledge about how the universe works. But he says the logic is actually pretty simple.