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Episode 9

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 asteroid.jpgWhen German physicist Ernst Florens Chladni published a pamphlet in 1794 arguing that meteorites had their origins in outer space, the idea was received with widespread mockery by the scientific community. Now, meteorites are recognised as an important astronomical process. But it has taken geologists a long time to acknowledge their significance to the history of the Earth - particularly as uniformitarianism overtook catastrophism as the prevailing theory of geologic change.

Sarah talks to the Natural History Museum's Kieren Howard about the significance of meteorites to Earth - not only their impact on Earth's surface, but the effect they have on people. And we discuss the most famous meteorite to strike Earth - the Chicxulub impact. Long held responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs, the Chixculub impact has been the focus of debate amongst scientists almost from the moment of its discovery. Sarah talks to a group of scientists who have been involved in a project to lay the debate to rest, once and for all.