Brace yourself, because here we go again. I’m beginning to think each year wouldn’t be complete without an end-of-the-world prediction.
Despite the fact it just started and seems to be going along pretty well, 2017 isn’t going to make it past two months according to less-than-scientific reports. Sorry, February 2017 and mankind as we know it.
Apparently, we were doomed back in 2016 when NASA scientists discovered what could be either an asteroid or a comet (or a cross between the two) traveling in the direction of Earth’s orbit. It will approach Earth’s orbit on Feb. 25.
At a distance of nearly 32 million miles (51 million kilometers) from Earth, this pass will not bring it particularly close. The trajectory of 2016 WF9, dubbed so by NASA scientists, is well understood, and the object is not a threat to Earth for the foreseeable future.
Leading to the confusion about what the object is: This body resembles a comet in its reflectivity and orbit, but appears to lack the characteristic dust and gas cloud that defines a comet. This oddity is why scientists are mystified as to what it is, an asteroid or a comet.
Since NASA confirmed the mysterious 2016 WF9 is approaching Earth and we should be able to see it orbit the planet in February, some have turned that into "a massive mystery space rock is on collision course with Earth."
Some reports call those people “crackpot theorists,” but I call them doomsday predictors or people with way too much time on their hands and a sick need to needlessly scare people.
The claims come from an apparently non-existent astronomer called Dr. Dyomin Damir Zakharovich, who has accused the space agency of a cover up and suggests the space rock is a fragment of fabled planet Nibiru, which is headed straight for us, according to reports.
Nibiru is a fictional planet predicted to bring about the end of the world, according to doomsday theorists. It’s believed it will rain asteroids on the planet causing mass devastation.
NASA said it does not believe the asteroid will collide with Earth, but it will provide an incredible spectacle as it soars over our planet.
The non-existent astronomer says the impact could wipe out a city if it strikes land or cause a devastating tsunami if it lands in the sea.
NASA experts believe the 2016 WF9 asteroid is between .3 and .6 miles across. If correct, it would be likely to burn up on entry, while the non-existent astronomer claims the asteroid is much larger and will blast through the Earth’s atmosphere with ease.
The wilder minds of the internet are spreading the claims from the “doctor” as fast as possible.
If Phil’s prediction of six more weeks of winter isn’t devastating enough, now we have an end-of-the-world prediction. I don’t know about you, but I’d come closer to believing the groundhog. He’s occasionally right, but none of the end-of-the-world predictions have been.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.