By Clark R. Chapman
The authors talk about such themes as "impacts with asteroids, the greenhouse impression, nuclear wintry weather, fringe catastrophism, supernovae and an review of risks." (New Scientist)
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Extra resources for Cosmic Catastrophes
By measuring the ratio of "daughter" decay products to radioactively unstable "parent" isotopes in the Moon rocks, scientists can apply the known decay rates and calculate ages for the rocks. 5 billion years ago, but most of the highland rocks were formed somewhat later and their ages were "reset" by intense shock (as in a cratering event) about 4 billion years ago. Most rocks from the lunar maria are younger, between 3 and 4 billion years old. Belatedly, scientists agreed with Bill Hartmann's earlier chronology for lunar history.
A couple of asteroids can occasionally be discerned from Earth-in dark rural skies-at the limit of vision, as very faint stars. But even from within the middle of the main belt, only a few might be dimly visible at any one time. With such vast distances between the asteroids, even though they zoom around at many miles per second, it can be millions or even billions of years before a particular asteroid hits another one large enough to break it into pieces. Yet the solar system is very old, so there has been time enough for most asteroids to have been blown apart.
Only after much additional data have been accumulated have Hartmann's colleagues, sometimes grudgingly, accepted the essential correctness of his views. As a graduate student in the early 1960s, Hartmann became mesmerized by the large, round circular features on the Moon. His associates at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, which had just moved from Chicago to Tucson, had projected Earth-based photographs of the Moon onto a white sphere. When Hartmann stood to the side, he Craters on the Moon and Mars 53 Bill Hartmann-scientist, author, and artist-was one of the first scientists to calculate cratering rates and surface ages for the terrestrial planets.
Cosmic Catastrophes by Clark R. Chapman