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Snatched from the moon, Doug and Tony find themselves in the west of 1910. Halley's Comet is making a close approach and doomsayers are everywhere. Professor Ainsley has predicted the end of civilization and even Doug cannot disprove his calculations! To compound the problem, a large group of miners have been trapped in a cave-in, and no one is available to rescue them.
Halley's Comet did make an unusually close pass in 1910; the Earth passed through its tail. Astronomers knew the tail contained toxic compounds such as cyanogensl; the press of the time printed articles containing doomsday scenarios involving mass poisoning. The astronomers also knew the tail wasn't dense enough to poison anyone but hysteria drowned out their calls for reason. However, even the hysterical public did not believe the comet would hit Earth.