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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Cosmic Collisions for showing us how Earth
has been radically changed by many cosmic collisions for a long, long time.

Cosmic Collisions
Our Explosive Universe

Cosmic Collisions (2010) - 225 minutes
Cosmic Collisions at Amazon.com

Right now, massive meteors and asteroids are orbiting dangerously close to Earth. Some may even be poised to hit us in the foreseeable future! Where are they? What type of damage will they cause? What can we do stop a caroming asteroid that's headed toward us, or prevent future Near Earth Objects from lining us up in their sites.

Episodes:

  • EARTH:
    • They have left deep scars all over the face of our planet and are responsible for one of the biggest extinctions in history. Scientists believe that its not a question of if they'll strike again, but when. Cosmic Collisions: Earth covers everything there is to know about meteor clashes with our planet and how scientists are preparing for the next deadly assault on Earth.
  • SOLAR SYSTEM:
    • Our solar system is a cosmic pinball machine. Rock piles as big as cities plow into planets and leave destruction in their wake. Cosmic Collisions: Solar System travels through our cosmic neighborhood as we examine how collisions created our moon, left gashes on Jupiter, and how pieces of Mars ended up in our own backyard.
  • GALAXIES:
    • Galaxies smash into each other, stars collide with the force of several nuclear bombs and black holes fuse in a deadly fireworks display. Even our own galaxy marches toward a clash with its closest neighbor, Andromeda. Cosmic Galaxies journeys through space as we examine the cosmic battles being waged between celestial bodies.
  • PREHISTORIC DISASTERS:
    • Since the Earth's creation 4.5 billion years ago, the planet has been struck by a series of catastrophes, each one pushing life to the edge of extinction. But from disaster comes new life - and while the dominant species on the planet were wiped out, hardier creatures survived and thrived, moving into the vacuum left by the extinction. These creatures in turn took over the planet until they themselves fell victim to yet another mass extinction. The Earth's history is rife with prehistoric disasters that have molded the planet and changed the course of evolution. But with each disaster came another leap forward on the evolutionary trail from single celled bacteria to humankind itself. Without this series of events, neither mankind nor any of the life we see around us would be here today.
    • Episodes: Birth of the Planet, Snowball Earth, Planet of Fire, Asteroid Strike.

5-25-17 Huge impact could have smashed early Earth into a doughnut shape
Huge impact could have smashed early Earth into a doughnut shape
Many rocky worlds may have spent time as a newly named planetary form called a synestia – a loosely connected blob of molten rock and dust with a dented middle. For a brief time during its infancy, Earth was not a planet. It was a hot, doughnut-shaped blob called a synestia. Rocky worlds can be pulverised by collisions with each other, mushrooming into synestias before cooling off and becoming more familiar-looking celestial spheres, a new study says. Worlds across the universe come in all shapes and sizes, from planetesimals to dwarf planets to giants with rings, but researchers don’t fully understand the ways they can change shape and size throughout their lifetimes, says Simon Lock, a graduate student at Harvard University. In the solar system’s early days, huge impacts would have frequently occurred as small bodies smashed into each other, broke apart, re-formed and smashed again. Previous studies have suggested such impacts could pulverise a section of a planet, leaving behind debris that would coalesce into a moon or a ring like the ones surrounding Saturn. But sometimes, the most violent collisions can vaporize entire worlds, heating them up and sending them spinning. Unlike a solid body in which all parts rotate at the same angular velocity, these gas blobs spin so fast that the outer edges spin at a higher rate than the inner material. Once they reach a certain point, called the co-rotation limit, the planet takes on a new structure with an inner region rotating at a steady rate, loosely connected to a bulbous disc that rotates around it. The disc is not disconnected from the central region like a planet and its rings, but it sits at the outer limit of the planet’s gravitational pull. “What happens is, eventually its radius goes far enough out that the edge of the body has the same velocity that it would if it was in orbit,” Lock says. “For Earth, the edge of where its satellites orbit would be the co-rotation limit.” It resembles a puffy red blood cell, or a doughnut with a dented middle.

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Cosmic Collisions
Our Explosive Universe

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Cosmic Collisions for showing us how Earth
has been radically changed by many cosmic collisions for a long, long time.