A wimpy solar cycle, a nonexistent rogue planet and the deep astronomical insights of the Mayan calendar itself have spurred NASA to release a video—10 days before the supposed apocalypse—dated 12.22.2012, assuring everyone that we are still here.
"If you're watching this video, it can only mean one thing," NASA said in its video, released on December 11. "The world didn't end yesterday."
Though the 'I told you so' video's release date did prompt one Youtube commenter to note, "LOLZZ NASA released this video 10 days earlier… they weren't sure this can be viewed? on 22 Dec.," the arguments against an apocalypse are compelling, and NASA trotted them all out in the four-minute segment, aptly titled Why the World Didn't End Yesterday.
For one thing, the Maya never foretold the end of the world, the video quoted Dr. John Carlson, director of the Center for Archeoastronomy, as saying.
"Look around you: the whole thing was a misconception from the very beginning," Carlson said. “The Maya calendar did not end on December 21, 2012. And there were no Maya prophecies foretelling the end of the world on that date."
Indeed, he noted, "The truth is more interesting than fiction.”
The Maya, who in their heyday were as densely populated on the Yucatan peninsula as Los Angeles County is today, were extremely advanced in their astronomical calculations—so much so that their conception of time stretches back long before the Big Bang, thought by modern scientists to be the beginning of the universe 13.7 billion years ago.
"There are dates in Mayan ruins that stretch back a billion billion times farther than that," the video points out. "The Maya long-count calendar was designed to keep track of such long intervals. It is the most complex calendar system ever developed."
So don't look to the Mayans for end-of-the-world prophecies, or to a rogue planet. For one thing, the Mayan calendar calculation is as mundane as the flipping of an odometer. For another, we would have seen that planet hurtling toward us by now.
"If there were anything out there like a planet headed for Earth, it would already be one of the brightest objects in the sky," said NASA astrobiologist David Morrison on the video. "Everybody on earth could see it. You don't need to ask the government. Just go out and look. It's not there."
And when it comes to the sun? It is in it's "wimpiest" solar cycle of the past 50 years, another NASA scientist said.
So check out the video below, or bookmark it until Saturday December 22. It—and you—will still be here.