Synopses & Reviews
Meteorites are the stuff of legend, interpreted both as omens of doom and objects of power. But it was only in the eighteenth century that the study of falling space debris became a science and began unlocking the mysteries of the universe. Now new research suggests that the Earth was bombarded with meteorites 470 million years ago from an enormous collision in the Asteroid Belt, which orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter. And a revolutionary theory is emerging, stating that the bombardment resulted in the single greatest increase in biological diversity on the planet since the origin of life. Introducing these discoveries to the general public for the first time, Ted Nield challenges the view that meteorite strikes are bad news for life on Earth. He argues, for example, that the infamous K-T extinction event that everyone thinks wiped out the dinosaurs isnt the whole picture, that the causes of the mass extinction were much more diverse and complex. By examining the history of meteorites, Nield shows how our interpretations of space matter have varied and how the impacts received fresh urgency with the advent of the atom bomb. Invoking a cast of fascinating characters alongside a wealth of extraordinary research, this is the perfect introduction to the science and history of the falling sky.
Fascinating . . . rich in detail, informative, and entertaining . . . an insightful account.”
Another scrupulously researched and cleverly assembled gem of explanation and revelation from Ted Nield, who is swiftly consolidating his reputation as the go-to guy for the unraveling of geologys most fascinating mysteries.”
A fascinating account of how the arrival of extraterrestrial objects has influenced the history of life on Earth.”
Richard Fortey, winner of the Lewis Thomas Prize for science writing and winner of the Royal Society's Michael Faraday Prize for the public communication of science
Nobody writes better on matters geological than Ted Nield, and he has now broadened his scope to include impacts from space and the evolution of life on Earth. His gripping account of how the two seemingly disparate phenomena are related and how we may owe our existence to such impacts is a scientific page-turner of the best kind, rich with personal insights and anecdote as well as with sober (and not so sober) facts.”
John Gribbin, author of In Search of Schrödinger's Cat
Science for real at its very best.”
David Bellamy, current or past president of the UK Conservation Foundation, Wildlife Trusts Partnership, National Association for Environmental Education, and the Galapagos Conservation Trust
A witty and lively account not just of the perils of asteroids but also of their many mysteries. A entertaining story, delightfully told.”
Gabrielle Walker, former climate change editor at Nature and former features editor of The New Scientist
A splendid book. Nield recounts the dramatic and often amusing story of our encounters with the thunderstones but goes far beyond this. There is much fascinating science involved in the discovery of where in our solar system meteorites come from and what set them on a collision course with Earth throughout its history.”
Aubrey Manning, professor emeritus of natural history at Edinburgh University, president of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, and winner of the Zoological Society of London Silver Medal for public understanding of science
Astonishing new research suggests that 470 million years ago, an enormous collision in the Asteroid Belt, which orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter, bombarded the Earth with meteorites. That bombardment may have resulted in the single greatest increase in biological diversity on the planet since life began. Introducing these revolutionary discoveries to the general public for the first time, Nield challenges the view that meteorites are bad news for life on Earth while tracing their history from the first recorded strike to the videos made routinely today. Here is the perfect introduction to the science and history of the falling sky.
About the Author
Ted Nield is the author of Supercontinent and is the editor of Geoscientist magazine. Former chair of the Association of British Science Writers, he is a fellow of the Geological Society.