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The moon it turns out is gently swinging like a bell, just as if it had been hit by an asteroid less than a thousand years ago. Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, Cosmos: Heaven and Hell, 1979
The largest planet in our solar system is Jupiter. On its dark side super-bolts of lightning illuminate the clouds, as first revealed by the Voyager space-craft in 1979. Inside the orbit of Jupiter are countless shattered and broken worldlets – the asteroids. Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, Cosmos: The Shores of the Cosmic Ocean
The Asteroid Belt [is] located between Mars and Jupiter. These warm ice-bearing bodies may have the same water as Earth because they were all formed in the inner solar system which is closer to the Sun. What’s more, startling new evidence suggests that these usual comets may not only have delivered water to Earth, they may also have seeded our planet with the building blocks of life itself. The Universe s1e6: Spaceship Earth, History 2007
The apocalyptic event has been called the K-T Extinction, because of a thin band of geological signatures dating to that time all over the world, known as the Cretaceous Tertiary, or K-T boundary. It separates the age of reptiles and the age of mammals. Dinosaur bones are not found above the K-T boundary. The Universe s2e12: Cosmic Collisions
In the 1990s a Mexican oil company found the smoking gun. While drilling off the Yucatan peninsula they discovered a hundred-mile-wide impact crater buried under water beneath three thousand feet of limestone. Analysis of the rock confirmed the crater had been formed by an asteroid. ibid.
Asteroids and comets: once thought to be very different cosmic bodies: maybe more closely related than people thought ... Some comets actually mimic asteroids. After a comet has orbited around the Sun many times it losses its icy gaseous components becoming essentially dormant and showing a drab surface. The Universe s3e6: Deadly Comets & Meteors
For as long as Earth has existed, comets and asteroids have been crashing into it. Soon after its formation about four and a half billion years ago our planet became a frequent target in a cosmic shooting gallery. According to the Earth Impact Database more than one hundred and sixty impact craters have been identified. The largest is one called Chicxulub, Mayan for Tail of the Devil. This crater measures more than one hundred and seventy kilometres in diameter. It was made by the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs when it crashed in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The Universe s3e8: Stopping Armageddon
Measuring about 270 meters in length, or more than 800 feet, Apothis has the energy of a 500 hundred megaton bombs – enough to wipe out a major city or cause a devastating tsunami. ibid.
Asteroids are rocky leftovers from the formation of the Solar System. These space rocks primarily obit within the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. The Universe s3e10: Strange Things
Toutatis also has a highly elliptical orbit which carries it from the asteroid belt to inside the Earth’s orbit. In September 2004 Toutatis got too close for comfort. It came within a million miles of Earth. Or about four times the distance to our Moon. ibid.
They appear out of nowhere and threaten our very existence ... We investigate meteorites and space debris. The Universe s4e3: It Fell From Space
A region between Jupiter and Mars where asteroids and comets take up residence. In this crowded galactic neighbourhood these fossil relics form the formation of the solar system occasionally collide with each other and explode into smaller pieces. It’s these fragments that can migrate towards Earth. ibid.
Every few hundreds years Earth gets hit with rocks the size of a football field that can destroy entire cities. ibid.
The Asteroid Belt ... Leftovers from the formation of the Solar System ... We traverse through one hundred million miles of rocks, some as small as a metre or two, others bigger than cities. The belt probably contains millions of rocky pieces, yet if all the asteroids were condensed into one boulder it would be smaller than our moon. The Universe s5e1: Seven Wonders of the Solar System IV
Ceres is the biggest asteroid in the solar system ... A fourth of the entire mass of the Asteroid Belt ... Scientists recently listed it as a dwarf planet – the same designation given to Pluto. ibid.
It harbours potential weapons of mass destruction. ibid.
They’ve already wiped out the dinosaurs. And many other species. And there’s no doubt they will strike again. Investigation of asteroids isn’t just about Science. It’s about Survival. Could the latest asteroid discoveries and daring new space exploration one day save our planet? The Universe s5e6: Asteroid Attack
Asteroids are the Earth’s nemesis. They bombarded our world for billions of years. Yet asteroids are also a valuable resource: giant boulders rich with valuable metals that are icy with more fresh water than Earth. Asteroids help to create planets: without them our planet would not be here. They can create life but can destroy it too. How the Universe Works s2e7: Asteroids: Worlds that Never Were, Science 2012
Asteroids gathered into rock piles similar to two cars locked together. As more asteroids collided more rock piles grew … When asteroids reached mountain size gravity accelerated the process. ibid.
‘It’s only a question of when.’ ibid. Michelle Thaller
Comets and icy asteroids can contain huge reserves of water. How the Universe Works s2e8: Birth of the Earth
An impact from out of space: could it have been an asteroid strike? Tony Robinson, Catastrophe III: Planet of Fire, Channel 4 2008
Planet Earth: a cradle of life floating peacefully through space. Or is it? Our planet can be one of the most hostile places in the universe. How the Universe Works s6e7: Asteroid
‘Asteroid: this is a huge natural disaster that we can prevent.’ ibid. Phil Plait
The most potent weapon that planetary protectors can currently utilize is a nuclear bomb. However, using one to blow up an asteroid has its drawbacks. ibid.
Destroy them before the even become a threat. Scientists are drawing up battle plans. ibid.
We need to find them early in order to have time to deflect them. ibid
Speed, size and distance from the earth determine degree of danger. ibid.
Asteroids can be made of rock, metal or a combination of the two. ibid.
Vast cosmic shotgun shells … Planetary protectors want to stop an apocalypse. Their mission is to protect the Earth from these seemingly inevitable asteroid impacts. ibid.
Sixty-five million years ago an asteroid the size of Mount Everest smashed into the Earth at sixty times the speed of sound. It unleashed a series of events that wiped out 70% of all species including the dinosaurs. Tony Robinson, Catastrophe IV: Asteroid Strike
Scientists have found this same layer all around the world. Below it fossils from countless species, above it 70% of them are gone including the dinosaurs. ibid.
The iridium suggested that sixty-five million years ago a massive asteroid hit the planet. At the exact same time as the death of the dinosaurs. ibid.
An ice sheet could have masked the impact of a powerful impact 13,000 years ago. Tony Robinson, Catastrophe V: Survival Earth
But the dinosaurs days of grazing were about to end abruptly. Sixty five million years ago an asteroid ten kilometres wide across killed them off. The grasses survived. But they in turn would face their own crisis. Professor Iain Stewart, How to Grow a Planet II: The Power of Flowers, BBC 2012
The vast majority of iridium-bearing meteorites started life as asteroids, most of them in an orbit between Mars and Jupiter ... Luis’ [Alvarez] theory is that sixty-five million years ago a huge asteroid six miles wide smashed into the earth with devastating effect. Horizon: Death of the Dinosaurs, BBC 1981
The asteroid may have landed in the sea. ibid.
Life clearly had begun during this maelstrom ... Comets and asteroids also shed tiny organic particles into space – they’re called Inter-Planetary Dust Particles. Horizon: Life is Impossible, 1993
The Asteroid Belt: a collection of rocky debris between Mars and Jupiter. Horizon: New Asteroid Danger, BBC 1999
[Luis] Alvares proposed that an asteroid hit had been so devastating that it wiped out most life on Earth. It was a radical theory. Most palaeontologists found the killer asteroid theory difficult to follow. And their initial reaction was predictable. ibid.
In a far corner of our solar system orbiting quietly lurks one of the biggest threats to the survival of the human species. Somewhere up there is an asteroid with our name on it. Horizon: Killer Asteroids, BBC 2003
How much longer can the Earth’s luck hold? In 2001 an asteroid exploded high above the Pacific Ocean with all the power of ten Hiroshima bombs. In 2002 another blew up over the Mediterranean. ibid.
A kilometre-wide asteroid with our name on it: it’s known as 19-50DA. ibid.
All eyes turned to a small probe – the MIR/Shoemaker craft that was coming to the end of its long three-year journey through space. One of its main mission aims was to find out all about the composition of Eros – a thirty-kilometre-wide asteroid ... Secretly the team had a much more ambitious aim – no craft had ever tried to land on an object so small or so fast-moving ... It landed safely. ibid.
High above us out in space there are millions of very strange but very special chunks of rock tumbling between the planets. These are the asteroids – debris from an extraordinary event, the birth of our solar system four and a half billion years ago. But asteroids continue to present a threat to the very future or our planet. Horizon: Asteroids – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, BBC 2010