Internet rumors and conspiracy theories of an asteroid impact apocalypse coming mere month from now have become so widespread that NASA has taken the rare move of stepping in to try to soothe the jangled nerves of millions of concerned people.
In fact, according to one prevailing version of the internet theory, the massive asteroid will make its devastating impact somewhere on the planet on September 24, 2015.
An asteroid or meteor will hit the earth on September 24, 2015 – you have been warned!!! http://t.co/vcSUpaPk9s
— Pray Power Partners (@Day1Success) August 20, 2015
In another variation on the story, the asteroid will not simply hit in some remote corner of the planet — but just off the coast of the United States. The target, the rumors say, is Puerto Rico and the date is sometime between Sept. 15 and Sept. 28 of this year — again, just a few weeks away.
— EricTheACKACKTOR (@EricTheACKACKTO) August 13, 2015
The Puerto Rico asteroid will devastate the southeastern United States, as well as Central and South America, the story goes.
And in another wrinkle to the asteroid apocalypse narrative, reported by the Inquisitr earlier this month, some conspiracy theorists maintain that a huge asteroid has already hit Earth, crashing into a remote region of Iran. But NASA and the United States government have clamped a struct news blackout on the event, in order to preempt a panic regarding the upcoming, far worse, asteroid strike just a few weeks away.
Well, if any of these asteroid apocalypse theories have come your way, via an email from a cranky uncle or distant cousin, or in a Facebook post shared by a “friend” you’ve probably never actually met, NASA is here to tell you to relax.
Actually, for NASA to interject itself into online conspiracy theories and rumors is relatively rare. For example, NASA never comments on the dozens of online reports of UFOs appearing in NASA photos from the International Space Station, the sun or elsewhere in space.
But the panic about an upcoming asteroid apocalypse had apparently gone so widely viral that NASA issued a press release Wednesday debunking the theories.
“There is no scientific basis — not one shred of evidence — that an asteroid or any other celestial object will impact Earth on those dates,” Paul Chodas, manager of the NASA Near-Earth Object Office, says in the press release. “If there were any object large enough to do that type of destruction in September, we would have seen something of it by now.”
In reality, NASA does indeed keep track of what it labels as “Potentially Hazardous Asteroids,” but has found “no asteroids or comets observed that would impact Earth anytime in the foreseeable future.”
Based on NASA calculations, however, Earth is not completely out of the woods yet. The NASA scientists say that there will not be an asteroid apocalypse in September 2015 — but they do not say there will never be one. Actually, all of the known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids “have less than a 0.01% chance of impacting Earth in the next 100 years.”
[Image: Wikimedia Commons]