Surviving 2012 and Planet X Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1770 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Astronomy

Surviving 2012 and Planet X

There has been much in the media lately about the infamous 2012 deadline and associated Ancient prophesies. Most of the beliefs around the time range from spiritual transformation to apocalyptic. Many of these versions center around the Mayan Calendar, ostensibly the year is the time in which the world as the Mesoamerican cultures predicted would come to an end. Scholars of the Maya, however, point out that rather than a cataclysmic series of events, the Ancient Maya used calendar distinctions to simply herald d a new age. For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle, and the idea of apocalypse is just pseudo -- science (MacDonald, 2007). However, simply because there is mass media attention and some fringe science acceptance does not mean that there is not something cyclic with which to be concerned. The Ancient civilizations were quite advanced with their astronomical observations, and even more observant of the cycles that seemed to coincide between movement in the heavens and weather and other patterns on earth. Thus, there are two major paradigms to discuss regarding these issues; what may happen in 2012 and how that might impact the earth as we know it and the phenomenon of Planet X lurking in the solar system but not yet fully understood. We will base our commentary on Marshall Master's five-segment movie on both topics, and also bring in other viewpoints surrounding each thesis point.

One of the essential focal points of the argument is known as the Nibiru Collision. This hypothesizes that a large planetary body (asteroid, comet, etc.) will either collide with earth or come so close as to have an effect on the planet. Planet X, Nibiru, became a more popularized theory after the 1997 build-up by the media regarding Comet Hale-Bopp's solar orbit. The confusion comes from a mixture of fact and conjecture; Nibiru was described as a point of transition in the Akkadian language of Ancient Babylon as an astronomical term depicting the summit of the planets (Heiser, 2004).

In modern scholarship, the idea of Planet X has some scientific validity, or at least the idea of a Planet X. For the past two centuries, modern astronomy has had to account for the discrepancies in the orbits of the outer planets, especially Neptune and Uranus. At the turn of the century astronomer Percival Lowell put forth the hypothesis that an as yet to be discovered planet or planetoid, called Planet X, tugged at the gravitational pull of these planets and accounted for the wobble. For a time this was thought to be Pluto, but upon further analysis, Pluto was found to be too small to exude that type of gravitational pull (Rao, 2005). Other astronomers found that the original calculations on the mass of Neptune were overstated, and that there may be objects outside of Pluto's orbit, but not likely a planet (Standage, 2000, 168).

Information from former CNN Science editor Marshall Masters, however, indicated that there is conclusive evidence that the astronomical predictions of a massive change for Earth brought about by a cataclysmic change in 2012 will occur (Masters, 2010). Much climate research is problematical because of the chronological paradigm of understanding weather patterns, ice ages, etc. In human terms, climate is a day-to-day or seasonal event, but in geological terms, we do not understand larger cycles. Geologically, a century may be nothing more than a blip on a larger canvass, a canvass measured in terms of millennia. According to Marshall, this is a larger than life trend. One of the key changes of the late 20th century, certainly enhanced in the early 21st, is that of the economic, political, and cultural movements that broadly speaking, move the various countries of the world closer together. This idea, called globalism, refers to a number of theories that see the complexities of modern life such that events and actions are tied together, regardless of the geographic location of a specific country (political unit). The idea of globalism has become popular in economic and cultural terms with the advent of a number of macro-trade agreements combined with the ease of communication brought about with the Internet and cellular communication. Thus, something that affects one nation affects the entire globe -- weather changes; tsunamis, hurricanes, etc. all have more than local or regional affects; both socially and economically (Marshall; Miller and Edwards, eds., 2001).

The only responsible way of looking at the problem of global warming or environmental change is to understand it as a planetary, not a governmental problem. Thinking logically, Mother Nature and weather do not operate under man-made border definitions. Weather, for instance, is a geological phenomenon that is epic in proportions and span -- so complex that even with supercomputers; it is difficult to understand human/environmental relationships. However, for the first time in history, the earth's atmosphere is thin enough that humans have the ability to drastically change it. Much as for the first time in modern history humans have the ability to destroy the entire planet with the use of nuclear weapons, modern industrial waste compounded with other pollutants has the power to drastically alter the entire planetary ecosystem (Gore, 2009, 33-49).

Marshall, though, believes that it is long-range approach of a massive object that will change life on earth as we know it. This, he believes, has happened numerous times in the past, and while not necessary a regular event, certainly in the geological history of the universe, something that happens on a regular basis. Marshall presents his viewpoints in a logical, journalistic fashion, certainly one in which it seems like a reasonable thesis that there is evidence for a rapidly growing environmental problem: global warming of temperatures and the resultant ice melting causing weather changes and harsher storms. Gore, and others view this as caused by a carbon-based economy spewing into the environment, whereas Marshall delineates his argument into five basic tenets:

Table 1- Review of Marshalls' Thesis

Issue

Marshall's Assertion

Scholarship and other views

Climate and Weather Change

In the late 20th century, serious climatic events are occurring more rapidly; signaling the approach of a celestial body that is changing gravity, tides, and weather patterns on earth. This is called Planet X.

NASA calls this an "internet hoax," other climatologists view it as possible, but short sighted since we do not know how to interpret 50 years of weather patterns over millennia.

Proof of Masters' views

Variability of outer planet's orbits; says NASA (1992) points to another body. 1984 U.S. News Report indicated another object, perhaps 7 billion miles from the sun.

There are numerous ways to interpret the data from Part 2 of this series. Facts are presented; characteristics of brown dwarfs, etc. are factual; whether the planet is on convergence to earth is not factual. It is possible that solar violence is increasing; but Marshalls' view many times uses the phrase, "if this were true," or "it might make sense."

Historical Basis for views

Uses Jeremiah from Old Testament (25:32); prediction of disasters. Egyptian and other Ancient predictions (Flood or Deluge Story), etc.

Contextual proofs can be used to mean multiple viewpoints; that there are cycles of mass-destruction (earthquakes, floods, and extreme weather) is true, and observant Ancient cultures would see patterns occurring in a different way than modern; post-1600 European, scientific viewpoints.

Surviving 2012

Solar flares will be first indication of rapid changes; Marshall says many solar satellites are already in place. Use of Antarctic observatory; believes certain people will be chosen to survive underground in equipment already being constructed (hierarchy ranked by profession). People will not know who is chosen until they are taken away. It is possible to prepare for the catastrophe; safe havens outside of urban or disaster prone areas: Service is the Rule. The human species must service, the individual is not as critical.

Again, these are all possible events. Science documents solar flare cycles; and if solar flares are large enough; they will affect life on earth to a negative degree. The real issue is whether multiple science experiments can confirm Marshalls' data.

Beyond 2012

What will happen to the "new earth?" Mother Nature will rebuild the food chain; it will just take a while. Global economic systems will change to a resource-based system. Cooperative cultures. Colonization of solar system and other galaxies will be a focus.

Much of this segment is based on science fiction (Star Trek) and is very optimistic and positive in the sense of what should happen for humanity.

It is difficult to completely dismiss all the claims made in Marshall's film, may seem plausible, he seems like a reasonable person, not a fanatic, etc. However, it is also true that one of the predominant views in his video series is suggesting that people purchase his materials in order to be "ready" for 2012. Just as there were a number of predictions for the millennium, there are a number for 2012. We must,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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