CIO Briefing

NASA can explain why the world won't end, still mystified by Internet commenters

David Morrison is the senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

David Morrison is the senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute. // NASA

Dr. David Morrison is well-educated, smart, and was an astronomer at the University of Hawaii for 17 years before heading to NASA in 1988. For the past four years, as The Awl's Dan Duray reports, Morrison's day job has involved answering over 5,000 e-mails from concerned earthlings regarding doomsday and the fictional planet of Nibiru. Duray's feature on Morrison, NASA's "apocalypse astronomer", hits that sweet spot of fascination with the macabre, job envy, and semi-assurance that there are people out there who are far more worried about the end of the world than you are. Morrison, as Duray explains, has been running NASA's "Ask an Astrobiologist" feature on the institute's website for the past eight years, and in the past four years the column has been hijacked by doomsday worrywarts primarily concerned about the Earth colliding with a fictional planet called Nibiru--so much so that an in-depth Q&A about the end of the world has been blown out, and expanded upon. (Here, have a look, the Q&A is about 20 questions long with several sub-sections and linkouts.) That is a lot of work for Morrison, who reportedly spends an hour every day corresponding with emailers about the apocalypse. Though, as Duray notes, Morrison's answers aren't always met with kindness (which Morrison blames on a "conspiracy meme" that's grown stronger since Obama's election).

Read more at The Atlantic Wire.

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