The end of the Mayan "Long Calendar" caused some to predict that the end of the world would happen on 21 December 2012. Such was the panic, that NASA even had to set up a web page to decry claims of imminent asteroid strikes etc. Well, of course, if you are reading this after this date (and God-willing you are) then you can safely assume that those doomsday prophets were wrong and that the Planet Earth and its Earthling civilisation survived.
Some of past proven-to-be-incorrect end-of-world predictors are, of course, now honoured prize winners. They won the jestful Ig Nobel prize for Mathematics in 2011 for "teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculatons."
The winners included Dorothy Martin of USA who predicted the end of the world in 1982, Clare Prophet of USA, Lee Jang Rim of South Korea, and Credonia Mwrinde of Uganda who predicted a similar finality in 1990, 1992 and 1999 rspectively, and Harold Camping had two attempts as he plumped for 21 October 2011 and before that 6 September 1994.
Of course, it could be tempting fate to make fun of these doomladen forecasters. For like hypochondriacs, sooner or later one of these "prophets of doom" will inevitably be right. But the date, which is hopefully long into the future, will be for Almighty God and/or the Universe (depending on your point of view) to decide.
Now if these forecasters could only (accurately) predict something a little more profitable, like which horse is going to win the 1pm race at Lingfield this afternoon, your space correspondent would be most grateful. He needs the winnings to pay off at least part of the debt on his Christmas-present-laden credit card (your correspondent was not prepared to chance it that Christmas would be called off due to a lack of planet).
A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all our readers from the Flightglobal Space Team: David, Phil, Dan, Zach and Andrew.