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The end of the line for our planet

A marauding near-Earth asteroid could spell doom for civilization long before the Sun starts to bake us a billion or so years from now. As intellectual exercises, however, both fates are worth pondering.
RELATED TOPICS: NEAR EARTH OBJECTS
Earth fate
As Martin Rees explained in “Is this our final century?” the threat humanity faces from asteroids is one of the few that scientists can quantify. Astronomers have found 90 percent or more of the really big objects — those with diameters of at least 0.6 mile (1 kilometer) — that potentially could hit Earth, and have started cataloging the smaller bodies that could cause significant damage.

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