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Near-Earth Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us Hardcover – November 11, 2012
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Donald K. Yeomans, One of Time Magazine's 100 most influential people 2013
"Balancing the wonders of astronomy with the looming potential for an epic, planet-wide disaster, Yeomans, a fellow and research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, explores the origins of near-Earth objects--asteroids, comets, meteors, and meteoroids--and the threat they can pose to our planet. . . . Yeomans's book is an accessible and far-ranging primer on the science of near-Earth objects."--Publishers Weekly
"As Earth creaks on its course around the Sun, it is exposed to a relentless barrage of asteroids and comets. Donald Yeomans, who manages NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office, offers an introduction to the science of these lethal monsters, one of which may have seen off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago and created the Chicxulub crater. Yeomans shows how the threats are balanced by potential boons, such as the theoretical delivery of the building blocks of life on Earth. Can these reeling masses even become interplanetary pitstops on the road to Mars?"--Nature
"[Near Earth Objects] gives readers an inside account of the latest efforts to find, track and study life-threatening asteroids and comets."--ScientificAmerican.com's Observations blog
"Near-Earth Objects is a fascinating tour guide of the asteroids we should worry about."--Marcus Chown, New Scientist
"Despite its title, Near-Earth Objects offers a concise and informative overview of the formation of the entire solar system: why the planets differ, the latest theories on how they lined up and the origin of such leftovers as comets and asteroids. Yeomans also makes a good case that a near-Earth asteroid is an accessible target for our next space adventure, readying us for Mars and preparing us for a time when we might depend on them as a source of rare minerals."--Marcia Bartusiak, Washington Post
"[C]ompact and readable. . . . [Near-Earth Objects's] main goal is to invite readers to share a topic that is fascinating beyond its practical importance."--Fred Bortz, Dallas Morning News
"[Yeomans's] book offers an excellent introduction to the layperson on near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), those objects that can potentially pass within about 29 million miles of Earth as they orbit around the sun. . . . I highly recommend the book. Since it covers so many aspects of these fascinating asteroids, I found it comprehensive and a great read. While Yeomans covers a topic that some of us worry about, he provides the facts needed to stay cool yet informed."--Astro Bob blog
"Yeomans makes it seem like we're uncomfortably close to an asteroid-induced apocalypse. Luckily, he has a sense of humor about it, and he has some sensible scientific solutions."--Sarah Rothbard, Slate.com
"This is a superb book that brings the reader up-to-speed on those menacing denizens of the deep--Near Earth Objects, or NEOs for short. Moreover, this book is good bedtime reading for those that stay awake at night awaiting celestial calamity."--Leonard David, Coalition for Space Exploration
"The book has an impressive from-the-horse's-mouth authority, yet it also has a pleasing, storytelling style, wry humour and some fun facts."--Hazel Muir, BBC Sky at Night
"Sixty-five million years ago, a 10-km-wide asteroid slammed into Earth, killing off the dinosaurs. While that's the best-known Earth-asteroid collision, the truth is, space debris rains down on us all the time, notes Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office. He and other scientists are on a mission to track the largest asteroids that swarm around our planet, and his book is a behind-the-scenes look at how they do it--hopefully finding them before they find us."--Maclean's Bookmarked blog
"Unlike many books involving space exploration I didn't get the feeling of fantasy, wishful thinking or sabre rattling. Yeomans just gives us good, reasoned arguments, presented in the main in a likeable, friendly fashion. . . . [I]f you are interested in astronomy, the solar system or the survival of the human race, this is a book that should spark your interest."--Brian Clegg, Popular Science
"This authoritative book, written in a lucid style well suited to intelligent laypersons, addresses this subject. . . . [E]xcellent."--Choice
"Near-Earth Objects is an excellent, short, very detailed, complete reference on rocks flying through Earth-space. . . . [T]his book is highly recommended. It is a wonderful resource, very well written and full of great footnotes."--Haym Benaroya, Quest
From the Back Cover
"This is a wonderful and timely book, not to mention a great read! Asteroids are indeed wondrous objects, and it is simply a matter of time before we find one with our address on it. Yeomans' unparalleled expertise, storytelling skills, and wry sense of humor are a savory delight. Enjoy!"--Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 astronaut
"The nearby asteroids are Earth's closest neighbors and key stepping stones for our expansion into space. Yet these rogue space rocks can also threaten our planet. Noted scientist Donald Yeomans is one of NASA's 'men in black,' keeping an eye out for wayward asteroids. He clearly explains what we know about these celestial denizens--and what discoveries will help us avoid a cosmic catastrophe."--Tom Jones, veteran astronaut, author of Sky Walking
"Many people consider near-Earth objects to be important only because they pose a threat to Earth, but there are many other reasons for studying them. This book explains why. I know of no better introduction to the subject."--Michael F. A'Hearn, University of Maryland
"This is an excellent and interesting book. I found it enjoyable and informative, and I strongly recommend it to anyone seeking a better understanding of near-Earth objects and the solar system in general."--Daniel J. Scheeres, University of Colorado at Boulder
"This is a fine book. Yeomans treats all the important aspects of his topic, including finding near-Earth objects and calculating their orbits, the broader issues of solar system origins and early evolution, the threat of impacts by near-Earth objects of various sizes, and approaches to preventing impacts from occurring. The scholarship is at a high level."--Clark R. Chapman, Southwest Research Institute
Top Customer Reviews
For me the most salient point made by the book - and repeatedly so - is that the most dire threat to Homo sapiens comes from long-period comets, since, even though they become "near-Earth objects" with far less frequency than asteroids, they tend to give us very little advance warning of their trajectory or even existence. Thus, if one happened to have our name on it, there would likely be insufficient time for us to prepare an adequate defense against it. Add to that fact that these objects will be traveling much faster than a typical in-coming asteroid and can also be huge, and you have the makings for humanity's ultimate catastrophe.
Although Yeomans makes no bones about this sobering situation, his remarks throughout the book tend to be on the positive side. What he emphasizes is that, given a robust enough program of detecting near-Earth objects, we are in a position to defend against the vast majority of them even with present-day technology. Indeed, the achievements of the Spaceguard program and others in a very short period of time have been utterly impressive.Read more ›
What I found that stands out the most in this fascinating book is the prose's superb clarity. This is extremely important in a book on a technical subject. The author, a seasoned expert in this field, is able to communicate his knowledge in a very friendly, captivating, lively and straightforward way. This book can be enjoyed by any interested reader; however, I believe that science and astronomy enthusiasts would be likely to relish it the most.
I was introduced to this reality twenty years ago at the annual meeting of this professional society when a noted scientist gave a presentation entitled "Chicken Little Was Right." He claimed that humans had a greater chance of being killed by a comet or asteroid falling from the sky than dying in an airplane crash. This is true, especially as one projects the risk over a very long period of time. Mathematical calculations confirm that every person alive today faces 1 chance in 5,000 that he or she will be killed by some type of extraterrestrial impact during his or her lifetime since several thousand meteorites, comets, and asteroids cross Earth's orbit, and many small pieces enter the atmosphere every day. One need only look at the craters on the Moon, and such wonders as Meteor Crater in Arizona, to verify the fact that solar system bodies make fine targets for comets and asteroids. More than ever before, as Yeomans's makes clear, throughout history asteroids and comets have struck Earth with destructive consequences.Read more ›
A minor gripe is that the diagrams and charts were not so good when viewed on my Kindle.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good introduction to NEO's for the uninitiated. Good information and well written.Published 7 months ago by Bernard Lavallee
This is an excellent book to introduce the topic of Near-Earth Objects (NEO). I have used it for lesson plans with high school students in an earth science class. Read morePublished 11 months ago by scientist99
I just finished this book. The big question I have is should I start reading it again now or move on to something else and come back to it later. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Robert E. Walston
Yeomans explains asteroids beautifully. My only disappointment was there was not reference to the B612 Sentinel Mission, but perhaps that was not defined at the time the book was... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Sammy Welsh
Like a murder mystery, Near Earth Objects builds up a drama. The highlight of this documentary is molded in the last two chapters, Near Earth objects and Predicting the Likelihood... Read morePublished on June 18, 2014 by D. Wayne Dworsky
Yeoman's book is a well-constructed, informative, easy to read book that discusses the human and scientific history of things that hit Earth. Read morePublished on March 15, 2014 by Andrew Wilson
This is an excellent and up to date book on near earth objects. The author has done his research well and is extremely knowledgeable on the subject. Read morePublished on October 10, 2013 by Gerald Black
This is a good book with some history and examples. I have a pretty extensive knowledge of this subject and found this a valuable guide with some points I hadn't known.Published on September 22, 2013 by Charles Springer
You can't beat Don Yeomans as an authority on near-Earth objects (NEOs). If you'd like to know what's out there and how we might prevent a serious impact one day, this is a great... Read morePublished on August 18, 2013 by Science Writer