Even if you do happen to be one of those fortunate few who live under a large rock, we have no doubt that you’ve still heard some of the eschatological nonsense about The Mayans and December 21, 2012, aka “122112”: the cosmic forces of good and evil will throw down, the brown dwarf planet Nibiru will destroy the Earth, Menudo will get back together, etc.
It’s all funny in a sad sort of way–and we have no doubt that it’s already inspired a few low-budget Discovery Channel documentaries. But the highfalutin “scientists” at NASA take all things related to The End of the World very seriously–and they want you all to know that it will be OK.
(Of course they would say that…)
Anyway, NASA clearly believes that it has a responsibility to inform the impressionable public and avoid the risk of wide-scale Doomsday freakouts, so two weeks ago the organization launched a modest PR campaign designed to debunk all the sourceless rumors and keep the holiday shopping season moving along as planned in accordance with the wishes of our faceless corporate overlords.
Cash-strapped NASA doesn’t have the time or money to produce anything like a fancy TV ad (we kid, we kid), but the sci-fi nerds who obviously run the organization did find the time to create a couple of web pages addressing the most frequently asked 2012 questions and allowing a supposed “astrobiologist” to write a bunch of TL;DR answers on the very same topics.
That’s not all, though: things are about to get real at 2 PM today.
At that time, a gaggle of astrobiologists, archaeoastronomers, and others whose titles confuse us will get together for a Google+ hangout in which they will answer the reasonable, sarcastic and completely insane queries of those who actually use Google+. What will come of this intergalactic meeting? We can’t say, but if you’re interested you should check out NASA’s Facebook and Google+ pages, join the event, and/or tweet any serious queries with the hashtag #AskNASA.
Will any good come of this event? Maybe people will stop worshiping Neil deGrasse Tyson for a couple of hours. There are other astrophysicists in the world, you know…they just don’t happen to show up on The Colbert Report every two weeks.
We still expect to see a few Harold Camping-style scenarios in which a few overzealous folks decide to sell all their earthly belongings and camp out on the edge of the Grand Canyon or something; we might even take some cruel pleasure in mocking them.
But don’t blame NASA. They’re here to provide an invaluable public service.
And here’s everybody’s favorite overrated blowhard, just for kicks: