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Earth as a target

Evidence of impacts is evident all over Earth’s surface.
Impact-crater
About 50,000 years ago, an asteroid impacted Earth’s surface and created Barringer Crater (also known as Meteor Crater) in northern Arizona. It dug out a hole nearly a mile wide. Peter Kresan
In May’s article “What will happen when the next asteroid strikes?” planetary scientist Clark R. Chapman overviews recent asteroid impacts on Earth and the chances of a large collision happening in the next century. He also explains the consequences of such an impact, and possible ways to deflect the object or lessen the devastation.

Earth has been hit by asteroids and comets in the past — our planet’s surface is riddled with the evidence. A few years ago, we published an article that described many impact craters. You can download this article, “Earth under fire,” below.

Also, if you’re interested in concocting your own collision, and seeing the aftereffects, “Impact: Earth” (http://www.purdue.edu/impactearth/) is a great web application. In May’s article, we modeled the illustration on page 34 after effects described on that site.

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