News & AnalysisNewsmaker Interview: David Morrison

Into the Stretch for Science's Point Man on Doomsday

Science  19 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6045, pp. 928-929
DOI: 10.1126/science.333.6045.928

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The Internet is roiling with warnings of doom from the sky. Alien beings are rumored to be steering Comet Elenin our way to knock Earth off its axis. Worse still, other sites assure us, a rogue planet called Nibiru is barreling through space to trigger the end of the world on 21 December 2012. Elenin is real enough, scheduled to make a distant flyby of Earth in mid-October. Nibiru, astronomers say, exists only in the fears of credulous denizens of the Web. But one thing is certain: As the scientific community's unofficial defender of reason against the onslaught of such "cosmophobia," planetary scientist David Morrison sees a long year or so ahead for him.