Did you know that the world is apparently about to end? Several stories, published across the web at the New York Post and Maxim, has the rumors of Doomsday back in the headlines and it’s at the feet of the newly discovered Planet 9. We explained a bit about Planet 9 back in January, explaining what it means for our solar system and how it could possibly change the way we view the galaxy. The planet still hasn’t been viewed in the flesh as of yet, but there are many clues that it exists out there in the black of space. Some bumps in the road for the Cassini spacecraft that’s currently hanging around Saturn are one indication that there’s a body out there making changes.
Scientists are hoping to officially find the new planet at some point in the coming year, but others are apparently ready to say that Planet Nine could spell doom for our planet. Take Daniel Whitmire from the University of Louisiana, a former astrophysicist who claims that Planet Nine is poised to bring the pain to Planet Earth, according to Maxim:
The former astrophysics professor claims the icy planet will knock space rocks towards Earth as its 20,000 year orbit around the Sun sees it go through the Kuiper Belt, a band of asteroids and comets just beyond Pluto.
Fossil evidence has suggested life on Earth is mysteriously wiped out every 26 million to 27 million years.
In the ’80s and ’90s, scientists suggested the extinctions could be down to a small red dwarf star or bran dwarf planet — known as Nemesis or Death Star — that was passing through the solar system.
Now Professor Whitmore says he believes Planet Nine could be the cause of these “extinction events.”
You’ve likely decided to take off and make plans to escape by this point, but you really shouldn’t. First, there’s nowhere to go. You could live underground, but you’re likely going to die. Merry Christmas. Second, Mike Brown — the man who killed Pluto and one of the folks behind the discovery of Planet Nine — says it is a bunch of bunk:
On top of that, the Maxim story itself even lends some weight to the idea that calling for Doomsday is a little premature. And as this article from Discovery notes, citing a mysterious planet out in the solar system as our end isn’t exactly a new thing:
The deadly potential of such a hypothesis really got the doomsayer juices flowing in the run-up to the cringe-worthy theories that would culminate with the end of the Mayan “Long Count” calendar on Dec. 21, 2012. Profiteers and fame-hunting soothsayers concocted all kinds of doomsday scenarios that would happen on that day — one of them being the nonsensical notion that Planet X (or the even more farcical “Niburu”) was rampaging through the solar system to, you guessed it, wipe out all life on Earth — either through a cometary barrage or solar firestorm. Good times.
Needless to say, 2012 came and went and we’re still here. But this year, the Planet X hypothesis has made another comeback. This time, it’s not the punchline of a bad doomsday joke, it’s based on observations of the strange motion of objects in the outer solar system.
Science fiction is wonderful to keep the brain busy, but it’s weird when it mixes too close to real science and real life. The world very well could end at some point, but right now doesn’t seem to be the moment. If the end of the world is meant to happen this week, what are you going to do about it? That’s why worrying is a waste of your time. Go have a sandwich, enjoy the last days of nature, and hope that some other scientist has a better idea on how to avert the end. Enjoy that sandwich, though.