Despite getting nearly 2.5 million views for its video dispelling the Mayan apocalypse predicted for Friday, NASA
is getting calls and emails every day from hundreds of people still concerned about the end of the world.
NASA spokesman Dwayne Brown told the Los Angeles Times that previously the agency had typically been getting about 90 calls or emails per week with questions about the purported doomsday, but recently the number has jumped — from 200 to 300 people a day are contacting NASA about the end of the world.
"Who's the first agency you would call?" Brown asked. "You're going to call NASA."
“Will a rogue planet crash into the Earth?” “Is the sun going to explode?” “Will there be three days of darkness?” These are just a few of the questions worried people are asking NASA.
The agency is trying its best to set the record straight.
On Dec. 13, the agency released the video “ScienceCasts: Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday,” which they had planned to release on Dec. 22, the day after the predicted doomsday, but then opted to post early because panic was building.
To help get the word out that there’s no reason for the public to worry, NASA also created a web page with interviews from scientists discussing Friday, the day targeted for the apocalypse, and containg a frequently asked questions section. The page has had more than 4.6 million page views.
Brown said the agency suspected it would be slammed with inquiries a few years ago. They realized the need for a campaign to suppress mass fear, as the idea was starting to fester. The movie “2012” about the predicted apocalypse didn’t help either, Brown said.
"We kind of look ahead — we're a look-ahead agency — and we said, 'You know what? People are going to probably want to come to us for answers,’” Brown told the LA Times. "We're doing all that we can do to let the world know that as far as NASA and science goes, Dec. 21 will be another day."
This isn’t the first time NASA has had to dispel rumors. The Venus transit, a rare astronomical event, prompted some fears in June. Still, it hasn’t had to debunk any theories of this proportion. Dec. 22 can’t come soon enough for the agency.
"It's been a very, very busy week," said Brown.
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