Asteroids

Overview

Most asteroids, also called minor planets, are found in an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Jupiter's intense gravity prevented the rocky matter from forming into a separate planet. Scientists believe that an asteroid struck Earth about 65 million years ago. The impact changed conditions on Earth so dramatically that many creatures, including the dinosaurs, died out. Today, scientists are monitoring many Earth-crossing asteroids that may one day hit our planet. They have also sent a space craft (the NEAR) ...
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Overview

Most asteroids, also called minor planets, are found in an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Jupiter's intense gravity prevented the rocky matter from forming into a separate planet. Scientists believe that an asteroid struck Earth about 65 million years ago. The impact changed conditions on Earth so dramatically that many creatures, including the dinosaurs, died out. Today, scientists are monitoring many Earth-crossing asteroids that may one day hit our planet. They have also sent a space craft (the NEAR) to study one of these asteroids.

Describes the location and content of the asteroid belt, the formation and composition of asteroids, and the history of collisions between asteroids and the earth.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
Approximately 65 million years ago, scientists postulate that an asteroid of between six and twelve miles in length crashed into our planet. The aftereffects of that collision were cataclysmic. An explosion equal to 100 million nuclear weapons caused massive destruction. After the terrible initial impact, trillions of tons of iridium-rich dust were thrown up into the atmosphere. This asteroid-induced nuclear winter led to the death of over 70% of all life on Earth. Thus, in one theoretical model, we see the end of the dinosaurs and much of the plant and animal life of our planet. It is with this catastrophic story that this study of asteroids begins. What follows is an enriching review of how asteroids were discovered, what they are, and how people currently study them. Pieces of asteroids in the form of meteors strike the Earth with regularity. In some instances, these particles of once huge asteroids have actually struck people. The author describes such incidents as well as the still mysterious nature of larger asteroid strikes in remote regions of our world. Current efforts to predict potentially disastrous asteroid collisions and to develop preemptive strategies are also presented. This small book contains quite a punch in the form of a vivid text, colorful illustrations, and an intriguing story line. As such it would make a fine addition to a science unit aimed at astronomy and planetary study.
Children's Literature - Scott S. Floyd
Asteroids enter our atmosphere regularly. Most burn up before they become a threat. Some make it through and make craters on the Earth's surface. It is believed that an asteroid large enough to create the explosion of 100 million nuclear bombs hit the Earth and wiped out the dinosaur population. This book is loaded with great facts and resources for the budding astronomer. Although I hardly agree with Bonar's statement that the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs "may be responsible for our very existence," I believe that there is enough useful information to make this a great classroom resource. Look for great pictures and a useful glossary to help the eager science student. Part of the "Books About Space" series.
Library Journal
Gr 4-6-As scientists have recently discovered, it is not always necessary to send probes out into space to learn more about the solar system. Sometimes parts of the solar system come to us, with effects that range from pretty streaks in the night sky to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Though most meteorites have a cometary origin, in Asteroids, Bonar discusses the rocky debris that has taken up closer residence-not just between Mars and Jupiter but all over the inner system-debris that intersects Earth's orbit often enough to engender an international search and mapping effort (not to mention several disaster movies). Landau updates Saturn (Watts, 1991) with a report on observations gathered with the Hubble Space Telescope, plus a chapter on the construction and mission of the Cassini/Huygens probe, currently en route. Both surveys are profusely illustrated with color photos, attended by captions specifying computer manipulations and enhancements, and end with lists of books and Web sites. Bonar's book is flawed by oversimplifications ("Only 60 people have been struck by a meteorite in the last 3000 years." "The risk of dying from an asteroid impact is about the same as the risk of dying from a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or flood") and so makes a weak alternative to Seymour Simon's Comets, Meteors and Asteroids (Morrow, 1998); Landau's title is a surer bet, taking Larry Brimner's Saturn (Children's, 1999) to a higher level of detail.-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780531164181
  • Publisher: Scholastic Library Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/28/2000
  • Series: Watts Library Series
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.93 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.18 (d)

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