The doomsday-mongers are worried.
Ahead of December 21, which marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year “Long Count” Mayan calendar, panic buying of candles and essentials has been reported in China and Russia, along with an explosion in sales of survival shelters in America. In France believers were preparing to converge on a mountain where they believe aliens will rescue them.
The precise manner of Armageddon remains vague, ranging from a catastrophic celestial collision between Earth and the mythical planet Nibiru, also known as Planet X, a disastrous crash with a comet, or the annihilation of civilisation by a giant solar storm…
Shanghai police said scam artists had been convincing pensioners to hand over savings in a last act of charity.
Meanwhile in Mexico, where the ancient Mayan civilisation flourished, the end time has been seen as an opportunity. The country has organised hundreds of Maya-themed events, and tourism is expected to have doubled this year.
Nasa has been aggressively seeking to dispel doomsday fears. It says there is no evidence Nibiru exists, and rumours it could be hiding behind the sun are unfounded.
“It can’t hide behind the sun forever, and we would’ve seen it years ago,” a Nasa scientist said.