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The earth is occasionally hit by craggy remnants of creation known as asteroids. About 150 are known to cross the earth’s path. These lie in a loose belt between the Mars and Jupiter like so much rubble left over from creation. The first asteroid was too faint to be seen by the naked eye. It was discovered by an Italian monk named Guiseppi Piazzi, 5 working at an observatory in Palermo, Sicily. The largest found so far is about 8 km wide.
A very big asteroid can explode with the force of a thousand hydrogen bombs lofting ample pulverized rock and dust at a speed of 26 km a second to block most sunlight. Agriculture and a big part of the society may be crippled and probably billions of people may die because of starvation. Darkness, as well as cold, may prevail for months
“The risk is real”, Dr David Morrison of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Ames Research Centre in California, who was co-chairman of the study by nearly 100 scientists, said in an interview. Dr Morrison further says that 15 the asteroid threat has dawned on scientists only slowly and is hard for the layman to comprehend. But the unambiguous fact, he said, is that mankind lives in a kind of cosmic shooting gallery.
Dr Morrison says that there are clues of the asteroids in a large number of impact craters found throughout the solar system by robot spacecraft explain mg planets. There are numerous craters found by geologists on the earth also. Some 130 have been 20 discovered with the list growing by five or six a year. The largest crater, which is in Ontario, is 198 km from rim to rim.
The new awareness of asteroid impacts has increased the appreciation of close encounters and mysterious events. In 1908 in the Tunguska region of Siberia a cosmic object that never reached the earth’s surface exploded in the atmosphere with a force of some hydrogen bombs. The resulting shock wave flattened hundreds of square miles of forest. Scientists now calculate the object was perhaps a mere 38 m in diameter.
On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the following questions as briefly as possible. Write your answers in the spaces provided.
(a) Asteroids are the cosmic killers because …
(b) If an asteroid strikes the earth, it …
(c) According to Dr David Morrison, there is a possibility of an asteroid hitting the earth because …
(d) The striking of the earth by the asteroids is supported by
(e) Find a word from lines 1-10 which means ‘things that remain.
(f) According to Alvarez, dinosaurs died 65 million years ago because of …
(g) Find a word from lines 10-20 which means ‘understand’.
(h) The third paragraph opens with ‘the risk is real’. What is the ‘risk’ involved?
(a) they explode like hydrogen bombs destroying everything
(b) will block the sunlight and destroy every living thing
(c) mankind lives in its shooting/strilcing range
(d) numerous craters on the surface of the earth
(f) an asteroid impact which raised a global pall of dust
(h) destruction of a good part of modern civilization
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