Apparently, there's an apocalypse coming.
Seriously, though, even NASA is getting in on the action. The agency created a page on its website devoted to debunking the Mayan apocalypse idea—not least because the Mayans never predicted any such thing. The date is simply the end of one time period that simply starts over.
“Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012,” NASA wrote.
There have been several predictions of the end of the world, including the May 21, 2011 biblical prediction by then 89-year-old old "minister" Howard Camping. But many people, including Northfield clergy, believe that a judgment day is coming, but no one can predict when. On May 22, 2011, the sun rose just as surely as it had the day before.
And while there are still a number of skeptics, plenty of parties are planned for Dec. 20 or 21 this year, just in case the Earth explodes, or zombies run amok. With the "long count" calendar of the Ancient Mayans coming to an end that day, some people are a little pessimistic about any calendar continuing past that date.
However, experts on the matter, like the NASA thing above, say we've got nothing to worry about. According to an article on nbcnews.com, "Experts estimate the system starts counting at 3114 B.C., and will have run through 13 baktuns, or 5,125 years, around Dec. 21. Experts say 13 was a significant number for the Maya, and the end of that cycle would be a milestone—but not an end."
Some people believe the Maya may have predicted "impending astronomical disasters that would coincide with 2012, ranging from explosive storms on the surface of the sun that could knock out power grids to a galactic alignment that could trigger a reversal in Earth's magnetic field."
But according to the article, that is not the case. In fact, Mayan predictions go way past our present-day, indicating that they expected a future to come even after their long count calendar came to an end.
On a more local angle, we have a Mayan connection right here in Maplewood.
Maya Cafe owner Gene Coon doesn't claim to have an inside scoop on the day, but he is happy that the Mayans conveniently constructed their calendar with him in mind. He's planning big specials for what may be the last day of our existence!