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Circa 1959 I read a short novel (possibly tit-bits sf but I'm not sure) in which four men return from the first expedition into space, to find the Earth deserted.

After much research, including another spaceflight, they discover that they are the cause of it, having unknowing disrupted "Millington's Boundary", a kind of super-ionosphere protecting Earth from deadly space radiation.

They return to Earth, but die instantly as they leave the ship, since their second take-off has disrupted the Boundary again.There is an epilogue recording a visit by aliens centuries later, who are puzzled to find life re-evolving from micro-organisms in the ashes of the dead.

I've tried emailing Lionel Fanthorpe, but it's not one of his. Can anyone help?

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    Welcome to the site! You have a good start here. If you could take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit in any more details, that would be great. Every little bit helps us. – amflare Nov 16 '17 at 19:56
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Exit Life by John Russell Fearn and Volsted Gridban

Exit Life - Book Cover

"Hello Earth! Hello London!"

But no reply was forthcoming to the message sent out by the spaceship in which the four pioneers had been exploring all the planets en route to Pluto, and which was now on its way back to London after two long years. Even the silence failed to dismay the voyagers; it could well be explained by a major fault of the airport's wireless transmitter. It was only when they touched down that they realised some terrible catastrophe had hit Earth in their absence...

I found it by doing a Google search for "Millington's Boundary", which took me right to the mention of it in the Google Books copy.

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