Cosmic Catastrophes: Seven Ways To Destroy a Planet Like Earth

illus. by David Aguilar. 80p. (Smithsonian). further reading. index. photos. websites. Viking. Jun. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780451476845.
Gr 3–6—Using scientific principles and reasoning, Aguilar speculates on seven potentially cataclysmic events that could happen to Earth, ranging from asteroid strikes to alien invasions. Aguilar relates his hypothetical scenarios to real-life events when possible; for instance, the chapter on comets includes a discussion of the probable comet impact in Tunguska, Siberia, in 1908. The content is chilling, compelling, and clearly explained. Aguilar does take measure to reassure readers of the unlikeliness of most of these events happening anytime soon. Information on scientists who actively track asteroids, comets, and the like is also provided. The author merges his scientific expertise with his talents in Adobe Photoshop to create the majority of the dazzling images. The final section of the book offers a look into Aguilar's studio and a step-by-step overview of how he produced the digital illustrations. A handful of photographs are also featured, including a sepia-tone image of the aftermath of the probable comet impact in 1908 Siberia. It should be noted that the section "Asteroid Hit" incorrectly lists February 13, 2014, as the day the asteroid hit Chelyabinsk Oblast. The actual event took place on February 15, 2013.
VERDICT A wild and thought-provoking look at what potential calamities await our planet. A good addition for collections in need of browsables titles on space.

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