In his day job, Dr. David Morrison is the senior scientist at NASA’s Astrobiology Institute in the Ames Research Center in California. There he specializes in asteroid impact, terrestrial defense from same, planetary exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life. The asteroid 2410 Morrison was named in his honor because “his research into the infrared radiometric properties of asteroids has been fundamental in revealing the diversity of asteroid surface albedos and compositions.”
In an extracurricular capacity, though, he’s the closest thing that NASA has to an expert on the apocalypse.
For the past eight years Morrison has run the Ask an Astrobiologist feature on the institute’s website. Started by a civic-minded intern, the column has become the go-to place for concerned citizens to write to NASA and ask if, as they’d heard on the internet, the world will truly end on December 21, 2012. Before he took the helm on Ask an Astrobiologist, Dr. Morrison hadn’t heard anything about such theories. Now he can’t escape them.
“I don’t know why they write to NASA at all,” he told me over the phone recently. “Probably because there’s nowhere else to write.””
frontline anti-woopocalypse warrior