On Dec. 21, the Mayan calendar will "end." Given that, the worrywarts among humanity have been concerned -- some even convinced -- for some time that the world with end on that date. There has even been a movie called "2012," starring John Cusask, that fictionalized the possible event.
In a Google+ Hangout held on Wednesday, NASA astrobiologist David Morrison said there was no reason to worry. "There is no true issue here. This is just a manufactured fantasy," he said.
He added, though, that many are concerned, and that he receives many cards and letters about the possible end of the world. "While this is a joke to some people and a mystery to others, there is a core of people who are truly concerned. I think it's evil for people to propagate rumours on the Internet to frighten children."
Of course, we all know (or at least some of us do) that the world could end at any second -- more or less. Obviously not quite this second, though.
An asteroid of the size of the asteroid that took out the dinosaurs could impact the planet, leading to destruction enough to kill most of the life on the planet. Truly, the world would not end, but humanity would probably die out, in an E.L.E. (extinction level event).
NASA has gone so far as to create a webpage that details why 2012 will (probably) not be the end of the world.
A different NASA scientist, though, notes that there is a clear and present danger to the planet. Most humans, however, are oblivious to the threat. Mitzi Adams, a heliophysicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, said, "The greatest threat to Earth in 2012, at the end of this year and in the future, is just from the human race itself."