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Teroid Impacts

Asteroids are small stony bodies that orbit the sun along with the planets. The orbits of some asteroids bring them near Earth. During the 1980s, scientists from a range of disciplines debated whether an asteroid colliding with Earth might have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. In the 1990s, a small group of astronomers and defense scientists argued that the possibility of a future asteroid impact with Earth was a threat to civilization and required immediate action. Both the impact extinction hypothesis and the asteroid impact threat attracted widespread media coverage and public interest. In both cases, the notion of global annihilation drew on nuclear imagery and the networks of cold war science. These two episodes illustrate the role of popular media in the development ...

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