Is it the End of the World as We Know it?

This Wednesday isn’t just hump day, or another day closer to the end of 2011, it marks one year until the supposed end of the world. As I’m sure most people know, the Mayans predicted the end of the world would fall on Dec. 21, 2012. So you believe the end is imminent, you’ve got some time to prepare if you hope to survive the aftermath or a year to enjoy life if you don’t expect to be around afterward.

There are many theories about what exactly is going to happen this day next year. However, at NASA, an astrobiologist has been answering questions about the event for the last four years, and he’s pretty clearly convinced that absolutely nothing will happen Dec. 21, 2012.

According to astrobiologist David Morrison, each disaster that people suggest will end the world has been disproved. There is no planet Nibiru that will collide with Earth or any planet alignment at all.

“The Earth’s magnetic flied is not headed for a reversal, while large shifts in the rotational pole are impossible,” he writes. “Solar activity is below normal, and the next solar maximum will not happen until 2013. Although we had one exceptionally large earthquake in Japan this year, overall there has been no increase in earthquakes world-wide.”

The truth of the Mayan calendar is that it uses long cycles, and the current cycle ends next year. Still, there’s no denying that the fear as already struck. People are building bunkers or buying into underground condominiums in the hopes of surviving the apocalypse.

So do you spend all of your money? Do you continue to invest and save? CNBC — which has a whole special on the 2012 apocalypse frenzy — has suggestions for what you can do with your money. If you want to play it safe, just in case there is some global disaster, then you should put your money in commodities like energy and metals.

And alcohol companies will became awfully popular as people get stressed out. Unfortunately, if these pay out you won't really be able to enjoy the money you made.

Not that 2012 is the first supposed "end of the world" situation. It will probably make people feel better to know just how often the apocalypse has been incorrectly predicted.

People have been predicting the end of the world for thousands of years. The Bible Student Movement — from which Jehovah’s Witnesses spun off — has incorrectly predicted the end of the world at least eight times: 1874, 1878, 1881, 1916, 1918, 1920 and 1925.

Nostradamus predicted July of 1999 as well as 3797. Interpretations of the Talmud say 2240 and one man going off the Quran believes 2280. The year 2000 was an incredibly popular year with 17 different groups predicting the apocalypse, including Jerry Falwell, Mormons and Isaac Newton (who also predicted 2060). Of course, there was also the big Y2K scare.

Probably one of the most well-known, recent end-of-world predictors is Harold Camping, who first said the end of the world would occur in 1994, then 1995. This year he had predicted the end of the world was coming on May 21, 2011, and when that didn’t happen he revised his statement, instead believing that it had been a spiritual Rapture and the physical Rapture would occur on Oct. 21, 2011.

The more scientific community has said the Earth will die sometime around 5 billion years, because the Sun will swell and either swallow the Earth or scorch it. Others suggest the heat death of the universe will occur much further into the future.

All in all, there’s no way to know for sure, so it’s up to each individual how seriously he or she wants to take all of these predictions. But, perhaps, it’s best not to worry too much.

“Doomsday is not real, but [the] fear promoted by countless websites and YouTube videos is unfortunately very real, and especially harmful for children,” writes Morrison.