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The Young Solar System Took a One-Two Punch?

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Science  13 Apr 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6078, pp. 151
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6078.151-b

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For 40 years, scientists have debated when and how badly the rocky inner planets were battered in their youth. Some think any pounding recorded in the early geologic record was just the dwindling away of the solar system's violent birth pangs. But others, sometimes called catastrophists, see evidence that a brief "late heavy bombardment" by mountain-size bodies shook things up again about 4 billion years ago. At a preconference workshop, a planetary dynamicist suggested that each group might be partly right.