By Linda T. Elkins-Tanton
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Additional info for Asteroids, Meteorites, and Comets, Revised Edition (The Solar System)
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, currently under the leadership of Ed Weiler, takes ideas and recommendations and fashions NASA policy from them. â•‡ How did the Sun’s family of planets and minor bodies originate? â•‡ How did the solar system evolve to its current diverse state? â•‡ What are the characteristics of the solar system that led to the origin of life? â•‡ How did life begin and evolve on Earth and has it evolved elsewhere in the solar system? â•‡ What are the hazards and resources in the solar system environment that will affect the extension of human presence in space?
It was thought at the time that there would be no more than 26 new discoveries per half-month, and so each half-month of the year is assigned a letter: The first half of January is called A, the second half B, the first half of February C, and so on. Within each half-month, new discoveries are given letter designations as well, with the first asteroid of each half-month called A. For example, the first asteroid discovered in the second half of February of the year 2004 has the provisional designation 2004 DA (the D is for the second half of February, and the A means the first asteroid of that month).
Plate tectonics and the erosive action of water on the Earth create a young, fresh surface, wiping away or disguising impact craters. In 1980, Luis and Walter Alvarez, Frank Asaro, and Helen Michel published a paper in the journal Science titled “Extraterrestrial Cause for the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction,” claiming that a meteorite impact caused the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction. As a result, their hypotheses were widely criticized and disbelieved in the scientific community. A series of angry arguments raged for about a decade.