December 15, 2012 9:16 am

The Mayan Apocalypse Is Coming? Not Really.


Artist's depiction of asteroid hitting Earth

Artist’s concept of a catastrophic asteroid impact with Earth. An impact with a 500-km-diameter asteroid would effectively sterilize the planet.
Image Credit: NASA (Artist: Don Davis)

One of the best things about StarTalk Radio is that, while we’re totally willing to discuss pop culture items like ghosts and Mayan apocalypses and killer meteors and whether Santa could actually visit houses around the world in a single night, we do so from a place of scientific fact, experimentation and indisputable data.

Take this Sunday’s upcoming new podcast on the “Mayan Apocalypse” and other doomsday fears and predictions.

It’s hard to listen to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson discuss these fantasies in sober, rational tones and not wonder why people are just so obsessed with predicting the end of the world.

In this Cosmic Queries episode, Neil and comic co-host Chuck Nice take on some of the popular, prevailing doomsday scenarios, helpfully and playfully provided by our fans on Facebook, Google+ and right here on the website. Does the Mayan Calendar actually predict anything extraordinary at all? Could a solar flare cause an extinction level event here on Earth? What exactly is the likelihood that a meteor will wipe out humanity? And what about the possibility of an attack on humanity by intelligent, dinosaurs living deep under the surface of the Earth?

It’s a show designed to use facts to put people’s apocalyptic fears to rest… but if you find it funny, too, that’s okay with us.

And for those of you who want to defend these predictions, feel free to do so in the comments below, although for the sake of discussion, it may work better if you save them and add them to the comments on the show archive page Sunday night. That way, they’ll become part of the conversation for everyone who visits the show archive page. I expect that conversation will end up being a lively one…

Cosmic Queries: Mayan Apocalypse & Other Disasters will be available right here on our website and on iTunes this Sunday, December 16, 7:00pm ET.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!

–Jeffrey Simons

Get the most out of StarTalk!

Ad-Free Audio Downloads
Ad-Free Video Episodes
Stickers & Mugs
Live Streams with Neil
Priority Cosmic Queries
Early-Access Videos
Learn the Meaning of Life
...and much more