Cosmic Catastrophes by Clark R. Chapman

By Clark R. Chapman

The authors speak about such themes as "impacts with asteroids, the greenhouse influence, nuclear iciness, fringe catastrophism, supernovae and an review of risks." (New Scientist)

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Sample text

Often they are cracked and shattered, sometimes destroyed. Asteroid sizes, shapes, and spins have been molded by such events. Nevertheless, astronomers, who have been watching asteroids for nearly two centuries, have yet to witness a collisional explosion in our skies. The reason is that interplanetary space is very voluminous and very empty. The terrifying asteroid swarms depicted in science fiction movies simply don't exist in our solar system. You could be in the very middle of the asteroid belt and might be unable to see a single one.

Planetary Science Institute) 54 Chapter 4 could see the features near the edge of the Moon as though he were above them. He became impressed with the pervasiveness of the numerous circular basins-indeed he first applied the term "basin" to these very large craters-and he measured their associated radial and concentric features. Elaborating on Baldwin's early suggestion, Hartmann developed the case that the basins resulted from immense impacts. " Bill Hartmann applied a new technique, first suggested by Gene Shoemaker, to measure the ages of the mare basins.

Baldwin remained a scientific loner during ensuing decades as he tended to his company and pursued lunar science as a sideline. He owes debts to few others, as he developed, single-handedly, a perspective on the Moon that still seems remarkably cogent 40 years later, two decades after the Apollo landings. The Face of the Moon and its 1963 successor, The Measure of the Moon, laid out arguments for the impact origin of lunar craters in strict logical detail. Baldwin supported his thesis with extensive tables of his own measurements of crater sizes and shapes.

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