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Published: 18 December 1997

256 Pages | 40 halftones, 3 linecuts

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780195119190

Also Available As:


Bookseller Code (06)


The Threat of Comets and Asteroids

Gerrit L. Verschuur

In Impact, Gerrit L. Verschuur offers an eye-opening look at the catastrophic collisions of comets and asteroids with our planet. Perhaps more important, he paints an unsettling portrait of the possibility of new collisions with earth, exploring potential threats to our planet and describing what scientists are doing right now to prepare for this frightening possibility.
Every day something from space hits our planet, Verschuur reveals. In fact, about 10,000 tons of space debris fall to earth every year, mostly in meteoric form. But meteors are not the greatest threat to life on earth, the author points out. The major threats are asteroids and comets. The reader discovers that astronomers have located some 350 NEAs ("Near Earth Asteroids"), objects whose orbits cross the orbit of the earth. Comets, of course, are even more deadly. He discusses Comet Swift-Tuttle--"the most dangerous object in the solar system"--a comet far larger than the one that many scientists believe killed off the dinosaurs, due to pass through earth's orbit in the year 2126. In addition, the author describes the efforts of Spacewatch and other groups to locate NEAs, and evaluates the idea that comet and asteroid impacts have been an underrated factor in the evolution of life on earth.
Whether discussing monumental tsunamis or the innumerable comets in the solar system, Impact will enthrall anyone curious about outer space, remarkable natural phenomenon, or the future of the planet earth.

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