In a rare campaign to dispel rumours fuelled by the Internet and a new Hollywood movie titled 2012-, NASA officials has said that the world is not coming to an end on December 21, 2012.

The latest big screen offering from Sony Pictures, 2012, shows the end of the world, supposedly based on theories backed by the Mayan calendar. The doomsday scenario revolves around claims that the end of time will come as an obscure Planet X — or Nibiru — collides with Earth.

The mysterious planet was supposedly discovered by the Sumerians, according to claims by pseudo-scientists, paranormal activity enthusiasts and Internet theorists. Some websites have accused the US space agency of concealing the truth about the wayward planet’s existence, but NASA has denounced such stories as an “Internet hoax.”

According to a report in the Telegraph, NASA said in a question-and-answer posting on its website, “There is no factual basis for these claims.” If such a collision were real, “astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye,” it said.

“Obviously, it does not exist,” it added. “Credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012,” it insisted. After all, “our planet has been getting along just fine for more than four billion years,” added NASA.

Initial theories set the disaster for May 2003, but when nothing happened, the date was moved forward to the winter solstice in 2012, to coincide with the end of a cycle of the ancient Mayan calendar. NASA insisted the Mayan calendar does not in fact end on December 21, 2012, as another period begins immediately afterward; and it said there are no planetary alignments on the horizon for the next few decades.

Even if the planets were to line up as some have forecast, the effect on our planet would be “negligible,” NASA said.

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