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Resources for Addressing Student and Public Fears About Astronomical Causes for the End of the World in 2012

Status Report From: Planetary Exploration Newsletter
Posted: Monday, August 27, 2012


As students return to school this fall and the media and web hype about Doomsday 2012 reaches a final, fevered pitch, all of us in science education will need to be prepared to respond to concerns from those who are genuinely worried or confused.

Two new resources are now available for educators, parents, youth group leaders, and science communicators to address fears that world-wide disaster is coming on Dec. 21, 2012:

A guide to accessible written and audio-visual materials (most of them freely available on the Web) has just been published in the journal "Astronomy Education Review":

http://dx.doi.org/10.3847/AER2012021

A video recording of the plenary session "Doomsday 2012 and Cosmophobia" at this summer's meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific has now been posted by NASA's Lunar Science Institute at: http://lunarscience.nasa.gov/articles/cosmophobia/

The panel, held Aug. 7, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona, includes astronomers, educators, and an expert on Mayan civilization. Panelists examine some of the key claims about end-of-the-world predictions and the more general idea of "cosmophobia" - fear of celestial events and phenomena. And they answer questions from educators in the audience.

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