Washington, Oct 15: A NASA scientist has said that the prophecy by the ancient Mayans that the world might end in the year 2012, is nothing but a hoax, which is only helping the promoters of the conspiracy theory to rake in huge profits.
NASA scientist David Morrison's concise summary of the claims and the scientific response to the widespread Internet belief that Dec 21, 2012, will be doomsday for planet Earth, determines that the whole thing is nothing but a hoax.
For several months, NASA and many astronomers have received increasingly worried letters and e-mails from members of the public about the possibility, widely touted on the Internet, that the world will end in 2012.
Many mechanisms for doomsday are being proposed, including a collision with a fictional planet called Nibiru, deadly activity on the surface of the Sun that lashes out at Earth, alignments with the center of our galaxy, and many more.
David Morrison has coined the term 'cosmophobia' - fear of the cosmos - for these concerns, and has seen a huge increase in the phenomenon this year.
Dr Morrison, a world-renowned expert on the solar system (and asteroid impacts), also serves as the public scientist for NASA's 'Ask an Astrobiologist' service, where he answers questions for the public.
He has received so many questions about 2012 and the end of the world, that he felt he had to investigate and set the record straight.
One of his most interesting findings is that the distributors of the science fiction motion picture '2012', to be released this November, are purposely feeding the flames of the Internet panic, in what is called a viral marketing campaign.
They have created fake science websites and encouraging people to search for '2012' on the Web, all for the sake of some publicity for the movie, the findings indicate.
Also, most of the sites based on the 2012 theory are full of nonsense and misunderstanding, often by people who have written books on coming disaster that they are trying to sell, the findings reveal.