When I was about 5 years old and my brother was about 14, there was a great rift in our home.
See, “Barney” came on at 4 p.m. I wanted to watch “Barney.” I’ve always liked dinosaurs, OK? But on another channel, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” also came on at 4 p.m., and Jeremi wanted to watch that instead.
Being younger and cuter, and having the educational argument on my side, I usually won this battle. Sometimes, though, in the name of sibling fairness and since my mom is a Trekkie, Jeremi won. So I spent a notable amount of my formative years watching “TNG” and various other incarnations of “Star Trek.”
Each time Jeremi got to watch his show, it felt like the end of the world. I was missing “Barney”! What was I supposed to do, learn important life lessons without the aid of public television? Make up my own songs about sharing and the color blue? And all because of mean, stupid “Star Trek.”
It should come as no surprise, then, that I find it intuitive — reasonable, even — that doomsday would involve something space-related. Maybe not whaliens or Tribbles, but something cosmic. Like asteroids.
We’ve all heard the scientists’ claim that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs (much as “Star Trek” killed “Barney”). We all know little asteroids and meteorites sometimes survive the atmosphere and touch down on Earth, hopefully avoiding your windshield and Aunt Erma’s favorite cow. But what would happen if a big asteroid hit us now?
Well, even the most straight-laced of scientists admits this could happen. But not necessarily in 2012.
Over the past decade, the biggest asteroid scare has come from 99942 Apophis, which is 885 feet across. Apophis isn’t prophesied, I mean predicted, to dip into our atmosphere until 2029; if it hits the gravitational keyhole then, it could impact Earth in 2036, on its next orbit. (The Mayans must not have collaborated with NASA on their speculations.)
If Apophis hit, as with a volcanic super eruption, a lot of ash and debris would cloud the atmosphere, an ice age could occur, plant life could die, and we could all be annihilated by starvation and frostbite. And there could be other immediate consequences, like enormous tidal waves.
Even if Apophis misses its keyhole and safely passes us by in 2036, there are other heavenly threats, or PHOs, as NASA calls them. For instance, 2011 AG5, a 450-foot asteroid, could impact Earth in 2040.
But asteroids may seem a mundane way for the world to end; we all know Bruce Willis would save us, after all. So let’s go really sci-fi and talk about the infamous Planet X.
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Neither a porn magazine nor a supervillain’s secret organization, Planet X is, well, a planet. In the early 20th century, astronomer Percival Lowell led a telescopic search for a conjectured planet beyond Neptune, whose existence would explain some of the gravitational anomalies in our solar system. He called it Planet X. Eventually, the dwarf nee planet Pluto was discovered in the area Lowell had projected X to be, and his theory of a large outer planet has been largely dismissed.
That’s how Planet X originated. Now, thanks to a 20th century dude named Zecharia Sitchin, who wrote fiction-passed-as-research about ancient Sumerian astronomy and mythology, and Nancy Lieder, a lady who claims to receive messages from extraterrestrials, Planet X has become so much more than scientific wishful thinking.
This Planet X, also known as Nibiru, supposedly orbits around our solar system, cycling past Earth every 3,600 years or so, which disrupts our gravitational field and causes notable catastrophes, such as the sinking of Atlantis.
It gets better. Nibiru is populated by beings called the Annunaki. They apparently have very advanced technology, as they have visited our planet before. (And you were impressed by SpaceX!) Some say the Annunaki even created humans and left us here long ago.
Why would they do that? They need us to mine gold for them, of course. Because of bizarre atmospheric conditions, the Annunaki need gold to sustain their planet, so they commandeer the metal from us human mining slaves each time they pass by.
That’s right, the world as we know it may end because of a bunch of greedy space pirate overlords.
I guess Nibiru is supposed to collide or nearly collide with Earth this December. Maybe Australia will sink this time? Or the Annunaki will visit us again, demanding our gold and punishing us for scoffing at their existence? I don’t know exactly what is supposed to happen when old X comes to town, but it’s Something Bad, that’s for sure.
While this business of the Annunaki seems far-fetched, it is certainly possible there is an undiscovered planet or two in our solar system.
NASA contends there is no evidence of Planet X. But I say, do you see Atlantis, NASA? No? Well, there’s your proof.
As for the Annunaki, I can only give one piece of advice: Do the exact opposite of what all the preppers tell you to do. Convert all your precious metals to cash. If you don’t have any gold, the space pirates will leave you alone.
Next week: Into the belly of the Earth.