Science: The Comets Did It

Does the wobbling of the earth on its axis cause reversals of the earth's magnetic field? Have these periodic reversals of the field temporarily allowed more cosmic radiation to strike the earth, killing off whole species of plants and animals? Were tektites—small, glassy globules strewn in distinctive patterns on the earth's surface—formed on the moon or on the earth? Impatient with a piecemeal approach to the solution of these major scientific mysteries, two physicists at the University of Birmingham in England have proposed a single phenomenon that could account for them all: the...

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