It was a year ago today, or was supposed to be.
The world was supposed to end in some kind of conflagration: a rogue planet smashing into Earth; a solar flare enveloping our small, frail planet (never mind that the current solar maximum is among the weakest in recorded history); a spaceship plucking the meritorious before doom descends. All because some people thought that the ancient Maya, having meticulously detailed the end of their Long Count calendar, had given up on time.
The world had waited with collective bated breath since December 1, when the final countdown began.
This despite ongoing coverage from NASA, the space agency, which released a video days beforehand titled, “Why the World Didn’t End Yesterday.”
“If you're reading this story, it means the world didn't end on Dec. 21, 2012,” NASA said in a statement on December 22, 2012. “Despite reports of an ancient Maya prophecy, a mysterious planet on a collision course with Earth, or a reverse in Earth's rotation, we're still here.”
The Mayan connection "was a misconception from the very beginning," said John Carlson, director of the Center for Archaeoastronomy, in NASA’s statement. "The Maya calendar did not end on December 21, 2012, and there were no Maya prophecies foretelling the end of the world on that date."
In the weeks leading up to the non-event, the inevitable memes were spawned.
Tourists converged on various parts of the world where they thought they’d be safe—or, in the case of one mountaintop in France, where they’d be picked up by a spaceship.
But when everyone woke up on December 21 last year, it was business as usual. Thus did December 21, 2012, earn its place on the roster of doomsday predictions that did not come to pass.