Comet and Asteroid Impact Hazards on a Populated Earth

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Abstract

As the movies would have it, in the last couple of years, inhabitants of planet Earth have had some narrow escapes. The world pulled together temporarily to launch everything but the kitchen sink at a giant killer comet coming our way and, thankfully, Earth received only minor damage (well, I live in Alaska, so total destruction of the eastern seaboard could be considered minor). Then NASA launched a wildcat team into space to blast apart that Texas-sized asteroid just in the nick of time.

Of course, these are only the plots of a couple of the latest Hollywood disaster flicks, but they do reflect a real cultural curiosity about impact hazards. Inquiring minds want to know: Is there a real danger that an asteroid or comet might strike our planet and if so, where is the safest place to buy retirement property? To feed this hunger, a plethora of books has been published within the last 5 years on the subject of past and present impact hazards. It has become a thriving cottage industry

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