Nasa has distanced itself from a "doomsday report" that claims modern civilisation is on the verge of collapse.

The space agency released a statement following the publication of the research paper addressing claims Nasa had confirmed the end of civilisation.

It said: "A soon-to-be published research paper 'Human and Nature Dynamics (HANDY): Modeling Inequality and Use of Resources in the Collapse or Sustainability of Societies' by University of Maryland researchers Safa Motesharrei and Eugenia Kalnay, and University of Minnesota's Jorge Rivas was not solicited, directed or reviewed by Nasa.

"It is an independent study by the university researchers utilising research tools developed for a separate Nasa activity.

"As is the case with all independent research, the views and conclusions in the paper are those of the authors alone. Nasa does not endorse the paper or its conclusions."

News of the study first appeared in the Guardian, and it was subsequently picked up by several news outlets, including IBTimes UK. Since publication, the Guardian story has been shared over 11,000 times on Facebook and tweeted 7,000 times.

The study, which is reportedly due to published in the Elsevier journal Ecological Economics, looks at historical data that shows cycles of rising and falling civilisations, and that collapses are very common.

It claims modern civilisation is not sustainable and that we are heading for a fall: "The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent."

"While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory 'so far' in support of doing nothing."

Researchers say that to avoid a doomsday scenario, the population must reach an "equilibrium" in terms of sustainability.