PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 3/2003 -  10 January 2003
------------------------------


"A mysterious flash on the Moon caught on camera 50 years ago is
still provoking disagreements about its origin. Astronomer Bonnie
Buratti says her new results show that the flash was caused by a 20-metre
asteroid hitting the Moon. If Buratti is right, such impacts may be more
frequent than thought - about once every 30 years on the Earth, and
every 500 years on the Moon. But other asteroid watchers think the flash was
due to a small meteor burning up in Earth's atmosphere."
--Jeff Hecht, New Scientist, 8 January 2003


"All theories of this region [Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt] predict that
there are many more small objects than large objects. Conventional
telescope searches principally find objects that are larger in
diameter than about 100 kilometers. An ambitious program with the Hubble
Space Telescope may find objects as small as 10 kilometers in size. The
scientists in TAOS believe they will be able to extend this lower limit
to about 3 kilometers. It is believed there are billions of objects this
small in the outer solar system."
--Anne Stark, DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, 7
January 2003


"What about going back to the Moon first? I know we have 'been there
and done that' and that it doesn't have the biological dimension of
Mars, but a joint Nasa-Esa (possibly India and China as well?) moonbase
at the south pole near the places where the Sun almost shines forever, and
the pools of eternal dark where there could be ice, would be far cheaper,
far quicker (we would not be old when it happened) and, because far more
people could be involved it would be far more attractive."
--David Whitehouse, 9 January 2003


(1) MORE DOUBTS ABOUT LUNAR IMPACT IN 1953
    New Scientist, 8 January 2003

(2) ASTRONOMERS POISED TO APPLY NOVEL WAY TO LOOK FOR COMETS BEYOND NEPTUNE
    Eurekalert, 7 January 2003

(3) ROSETTA: A COMET RIDE TO SOLVE PLANETARY MYSTERIES
    ESA, 8 January 2003

(4) DANCING WITH NEPTUNE
    BBC News Online, 9 January 2003

(5) FINDING LIFE AWAY FROM EARTH WILL BE TOUGH
    Science Daily, 8 January 2003

(6) INTERNATIONAL METEOR CONFERNECE 2003
    Ron Baalke <baalke@zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

(7) FIRST LET'S GO TO THE MOON AGAIN
    David Whitehouse <davidwhitehouse@ntlworld.com>

(8) RE: DID PLUTO TAKE A PUNCH?
    Tom Van Flandern <tomvf@metaresearch.org>

(9) AND FINALLY: "TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR HUMANS" - AGAIN
    Dawn, 10 January 2003


=======
(1) MORE DOUBTS ABOUT LUNAR IMPACT IN 1953

>From New Scientist, 8 January 2003
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99993242

NEW CRATER REVIVES MOON MYSTERY
 
A mysterious flash on the Moon caught on camera 50 years ago is still
provoking disagreements about its origin. Astronomer Bonnie Buratti says her
new results show that the flash was caused by a 20-metre asteroid hitting
the Moon.

If Buratti is right, such impacts may be more frequent than thought - about
once every 30 years on the Earth, and every 500 years on the Moon. But other
asteroid watchers think the flash was due to a small meteor burning up in
Earth's atmosphere.

Amateur astronomer Leon Stuart's 1953 photograph of the Moon shows a light
spot near the centre of the Moon's visible surface. It would take a
half-megaton explosion to produce such a flash, says Buratti, of NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena.

The resulting crater would not be visible from Earth, but it should appear
on close-ups taken by lunar probes. In a future issue of the journal Icarus,
Buratti reports a fresh impact scar at the site of the 1953 flash on images
collected by the Clementine spacecraft as it orbited the Moon in 1994. A
bright blanket of ejected material covers an area that is about 1.5
kilometres across, and the colour of the debris indicates that the crater is
relatively new.

Point meteors
 
But the odds against such a big lunar impact are too long for Peter Brown of
the University of Western Ontario, who has used US military satellite data
to estimate meteor impact rates on the Earth.

"I think they are going too far," he told New Scientist. Instead, he
believes that the flash was a meteor falling to Earth, which appeared as a
bright spot because it was moving directly towards the observer.

Although such "point meteors" are rare, they are much more common than lunar
impacts. He is not impressed by the crater's appearance. "We have no
absolute criteria" for the age of lunar craters, he says. "'Fresh' could be
20 million years old."

Buratti calls Brown's claim "preposterous". She says Stuart was an
experienced observer, his half-second exposure shows no trace of motion, and
the flash was near a point on the leading edge of the Moon where impacts are
most likely. "Our identification of the crater validates Stuart's claim that
it was an impact."
 
Jeff Hecht
 
Copyright 2003, New Scientist

==========
(2) ASTRONOMERS POISED TO APPLY NOVEL WAY TO LOOK FOR COMETS BEYOND NEPTUNE

>From Eurekalert, 7 January 2003
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-01/dlnl-apt010703.php

Contact: Anne Stark
stark8@llnl.gov
925-422-9799
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Astronomers poised to apply novel way to look for comets beyond Neptune

SEATTLE, Washington- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory astronomers are
major partners in a scientific collaboration that will conduct an extremely
novel search for small, comet-like bodies in the outer solar system using
four half-meter telescopes. The work was described today at the winter
meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Rather than look for the light reflected directly by these objects (as is
customary astronomy practice), this project will search for those very rare
moments when one of these objects passes between the telescopes and a nearby
background star. This brief "eclipse" lasts less than a second, but will
allow the scientists to study objects that are much too faint to be seen in
reflected sunlight, even with the largest telescopes.

This work was presented today by Sun-Kung King, on behalf of the TAOS
Project (TAOS: Taiwanese-American Occultation Survey) and by Matthew Lehner
of the University of Pennsylvania. King is an astronomer from the Institute
of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the Academia Sinica in Taiwan. Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory scientists have played a key role in the
design and building of the telescopes and are members of TAOS.

The region probed by TAOS is known as the Kuiper Belt, and sometimes as the
Edgeworth-Kuiper Belt, after the two scientists who independently proposed
its existence more than 50 years ago. There were only two objects (Pluto and
its moon Charon) known in this region until the 1990s, when a flood of
exciting discoveries of new bodies was started by David Jewitt (at the
University of Hawaii) and Jane Luu (then at UC Berkeley). Despite hundreds
of discoveries later, much more remains unknown.

All theories of this region predict that there are many more small objects
than large objects. Conventional telescope searches principally find objects
that are larger in diameter than about 100 kilometers. An ambitious program
with the Hubble Space Telescope may find objects as small as 10 kilometers
in size. The scientists in TAOS believe they will be able to extend this
lower limit to about 3 kilometers. It is believed there are billions of
objects this small in the outer solar system.

"The TAOS survey will provide data on remnants of our early solar system and
early planet formation," said Kem Cook, a TAOS astronomer who works at
Livermore's Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics. "It will provide
us insight into how the solar system evolved. We'll be looking at the
smallest objects than anyone else has seen."

Current observations and theories can say very little about regions many
times farther from the sun than Neptune. TAOS is unique among astronomical
surveys in its ability to probe these great distances. TAOS is able to do
this because it does not rely on reflected sunlight. These small objects are
thought to be directly related to the new comets that wander into the
planetary system. Composed of dust and ice, they begin to evaporate when
they come closer to the sun, producing the spectacular and beautiful tails
that astronomers believe are the oldest objects in the solar system, which
makes them especially interesting.

"The small objects we will detect are much too faint to be seen directly,
even by the largest telescopes in the world," King said. "We will find them
silhouetted against the background stars, which will make it possible for us
to detect them."

TAOS will consist of four telescopes (only half a meter in diameter), which
will be used to monitor up to 2,000 stars. The telescopes will operate in
the central highlands of Taiwan.

The optical performance of the TAOS telescopes proved difficult to achieve
in a compact design.

"We depended on LLNL precision engineering, optical design and fabrication
capabilities to build these telescopes," Cook said. "Without that expertise
we would not have been able to build the TAOS telescopes."

###
The TAOS collaboration is made up of: King, A. Wang, C.Y. Wen, S.Y. Wang,
and T. Lee from the Academia Sinica's Institute of Astronomy and
Astrophysics in Taiwan; C. Alcock, R. Dave, J. Giammarco and Lehner from the
University of Pennsylvania; Cook, S. Marshall and R. Porrata from the
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; W.P. Chen and Z.W. Zhang from the
National Central University in Taiwan; Y.I. Byun from Yonsei University in
South Korea; J. Lissauer from NASA's Ames Research Center; and I. De Pater,
C. Liang and J. Rice from UC Berkeley.

TAOS is funded by the Academia Sinica and the National Central University,
which receive support from the Ministry of Education and the National
Science Council in Taiwan; by the Korean Research Foundation in South Korea;
and by NASA at the University of Pennsylvania and the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national
security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply
science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for
the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

=========
(3) ROSETTA: A COMET RIDE TO SOLVE PLANETARY MYSTERIES

>From ESA, 8 January 2003

ESA INFO 01/2003. ESA's Rosetta will be the first mission to orbit and land
on a comet, one of the icy bodies that travel throughout the Solar System
and develop a characteristic tail when they approach the Sun. Rosetta is
scheduled to be launched on-board an Ariane-5 rocket in January 2003 from
Kourou, French Guiana. A decision on the launch date will be taken by
Tuesday 14 January (see Arianespace press release N° 03/02 of 7 January 2003
or at http:www.arianespace.com).
 
The mission's target is Comet Wirtanen and the encounter will occur in 2011.
Rosetta's name comes from the famous Rosetta stone, that almost 200 years
ago led to the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics. In a similar way,
scientists hope that the Rosetta spacecraft will unlock the mysteries of the
Solar System.

Comets are very interesting objects for scientists, since their composition
reflects how the Solar System was when it was very young and still
'unfinished', more than 4600 million years ago. Comets have not changed much
since then. By orbiting Comet Wirtanen and landing on it, Rosetta will
collect essential information to understand the origin and evolution of our
Solar System. It will also help discover whether comets contributed to the
beginnings of life on Earth. In fact comets are carriers of complex organic
molecules, that - delivered to Earth through impacts - perhaps played a role
in the origin of living forms. Furthermore, 'volatile' light elements
carried by comets may have also played an important role in forming the
Earth's oceans and atmopshere.

Decoding the mysteries of the Solar system
  
"Rosetta is one of the most challenging missions ever undertaken so far",
says Prof. David Southwood, ESA's Director of Science, "No one before
attempted a similar mission, unique for its scientific implications as well
as for its complex and spectacular interplanetary space manoeuvres".

Before reaching its target in 2011, Rosetta will circle the Sun almost four
times on wide loops in the inner Solar System. During its long trek, the
spacecraft will have to endure some extreme thermal conditions. Once it is
close to Comet Wirtanen, scientists will take it through a delicate braking
manoeuvre; then the spacecraft will closely orbit the comet, and gently drop
a lander on it. It will be like landing on a small, fast-moving cosmic
bullet that still has - at present - an almost unknown 'geography'.

An amazing 8-year interplanetary trek

Rosetta is a 3-tonne box-type spacecraft about 3 metres high, with two
14-metre long solar panels. It consists of an Orbiter and a Lander. The
Lander is approximately 1 metre across and 80 centimetres high. It will be
attached to the side of the Rosetta Orbiter during the journey to Comet
Wirtanen. Rosetta carries 21 experiments in total, 10 of them on the Lander.
They will be kept in hibernation during most of its 8-year trek towards
Wirtanen.

During its eight-year trek to Comet Wirtanen, Rosetta will bounce around the
inner Solar System
 
What makes Rosetta's cruise so long? To reach Comet Wirtanen, the spacecraft
needs to go out in deep space as far from the Sun as Jupiter. No launcher
could possibly get Rosetta there directly. ESA's spacecraft will gather
speed from gravitational 'kicks' provided by three planetary fly-bys: one of
Mars in 2005 and two of Earth in 2005 and 2007. During the trip, Rosetta
will also visit two asteroids, Otawara (in 2006) and Siwa (in 2008). During
these encounters, scientists will switch on Rosetta's instruments for
calibration and scientific studies.

Long trips in deep space include many hazards, such as extreme changes in
temperature. Rosetta will leave the benign environment of near-Earth space
to the dark, frigid regions beyond the asteroid belt. To manage these
thermal loads, experts have done very tough pre-launch tests to study
Rosetta's endurance. For example, they have heated its external surfaces to
more than 150°C, then quickly cooled it to -180°C in the next test.

Deep Space Hibernation and Comet Rendezvous
 
The spacecraft will be fully reactivated prior to the comet rendezvous
manoeuvre in 2011. Then, Rosetta will orbit the comet - an object only 1.2
km wide - while it cruises through the inner Solar System at 135 000
kilometres per hour. At the time of the rendezvous - around 675 million km
from the Sun - Wirtanen will hardly show any surface activity. It means that
the characteristic coma (the comet's 'atmosphere') and the tail will not be
formed yet, because of the large distance from the Sun. The comet's tail is
in fact made of dust grains and frozen gases from the comet's surface that
vapourise because of the Sun's heat.

For six months Rosetta will extensively map the comet surface, prior to
selecting a landing site. In July 2012, the Lander will self-eject from the
spacecraft from a height of just one kilometre. Touchdown will take place at
walking speed - less than 1 metre per second. Immediately after touchdown,
the Lander will fire a harpoon into the ground to avoid bouncing off the
surface back into space, since the extremely weak comet's gravity alone
would not hold onto the lander. Operations and scientific observations on
the comet surface will last 65 hours as a minimum, but may continue for many
months.

Landing on the Comet
 
During and after the lander operations, Rosetta will continue orbiting and
studying the comet. Rosetta will be the first spacecraft to witness at close
quarters the changes taking place in a comet when the comet approaches the
Sun and grows its coma and tail. The trip will end in July 2013, after 10.5
years of adventure, when the comet is closest to the Sun.

Studying a comet on the spot

Rosetta's goal is to examine the comet in great detail. The instruments on
the Rosetta Orbiter include several cameras, spectrometers, and experiments
that work at different wavelengths - infrared, ultraviolet, microwave, radio
- and a number of sensors. They will provide, among other things, very
high-resolution images and information about the shape, density,
temperature, and chemical composition of the comet. Rosetta's instruments
will analyse the gases and dust grains in the so-called 'coma''that forms
when the comet becomes active, as well as the interaction with the solar
wind.

Rosetta will drop a lander onto a comet for the first time
  
The 10 instruments on board the Lander will do an on-the-spot analysis of
the composition and structure of the comet's surface and subsurface
material. A drilling system will take samples down to 30 centimetres below
the surface and will feed these to the 'composition analysers'. Other
instruments will measure properties such as near-surface strength, density,
texture, porosity, ice phases, and thermal properties. Microscopic studies
of individual grains will tell us about the texture.

In addition, instruments on the Lander will study how the comet changes
during the day-night cycle, and while it approaches the Sun.
 
Ground operations

Data from the Lander are relayed to the orbiter, which stores them for
downlink to Earth at the next ground station contact. ESA has installed a
new deep-space antenna at New Norcia, near Perth in Western Australia, as
the main communications link between the spacecraft and the ESOC Mission
Control in Darmstadt, Germany. This 35-metre diameter parabolic antenna
allows the radio signal to reach distances of more than 1 million kilometres
from Earth. The radio signals, travelling at the speed of light, will take
up to 50 minutes to cover the distance between the spacecraft and Earth.

Rosetta's Science Operations Centre, which is responsible for collecting and
distributing the scientific data, will share a location at ESOC and ESTEC in
Noordwijk, The Netherlands. The Lander Control Centre is located in DLR in
Cologne, Germany, and the Lander Science Centre in CNES in Toulouse, France.
 
Building Rosetta

Rosetta was selected as a mission in 1993. The spacecraft has been built by
Astrium Germany as prime contractor. Major subcontractors are Astrium UK
(spacecraft platform), Astrium France (spacecraft avionics), and Alenia
Spazio (assembly, integration, and verification). Rosetta's industrial team
involves more than 50 contractors from 14 European countries, Canada and the
United States.

Scientific consortia from institutes across Europe and the United States
have provided the instruments on the Orbiter. A European consortium under
the leadership of the German Aerospace Research Institute (DLR) has provided
the Lander. Rosetta has cost ESA Euro 701 million at 2000 economic
conditions. This amount includes the launch and the entire period of
development and mission operations from 1996 to 2013. The lander and the
experiments, the so-called 'payload', are not included since they are funded
by ESA's Member States through the scientific institutes.

Note to editors

Europe is certainly a pioneer in comet exploration. In 1986, ESA's
spacecraft Giotto performed the closest comet fly-by ever achieved by any
spacecraft (at a distance of 600 kilometres of Halley). It sent back
wonderful pictures and data that showed that comets contain complex organic
molecules. These kinds of compounds are rich in carbon, hydrogen, oxygen,
and nitrogen. Intriguingly, these are the elements which make up nucleic
acids and amino acids, which are essential ingredients for life as we know
it. Giotto continued its successful journey and flew by Comet
Grigg-Skjellerup in 1992 within about 200 km distance. Now scientists will
be eagerly waiting to be able to answer some of the new intriguing questions
that arose from analysing the exciting results from Giotto.

Other past missions that have flown by a comet were: NASA's ICE mission in
1985, the two Russian VEGA spacecraft and the two Japanese spacecraft Suisei
and Sakigake that were part of the armada that visited comet Halley in 1986;
NASA's Deep Space 1 flew-by comet Borelly in 2001 and NASA's Stardust will
fly-by comet Wild 2 in early 2004 and will return samples of the comet's
coma in 2006. Unfortunately NASA's Contour launched in Summer 2002 failed
when it was inserted onto its interplanetary trajectory. In 2004 we will see
the launch of Deep Impact, a spacecraft that will shoot a massive block of
copper into a comet nucleus.

For more information please contact:

ESA - Communication Department
Media Relations Service
Tel: +33(0)1 53 69 7155
Fax: +33(0)1 53 69 7690

For more information on the Rosetta mission and the launch activities visit
the ESA web pages at: http://www.esa.int/rosettalaunch

For more information on the ESA Science Programme visit: http://sci.esa.int

========
(4) DANCING WITH NEPTUNE

>From BBC News Online, 9 January 2003
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2642065.stm
 
By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor 
 
Astronomers have discovered an object orbiting the Sun on a similar path to
the planet Neptune.
The rare body is a type of asteroid known as a Trojan.

Clusters of Trojans are known to share the same orbit as Jupiter.

The object, known as 2001 QR322, is the first to be found in association
with Neptune.

"Neptunian Trojans were long suspected to exist and it is gratifying to
finally know that they do," said US team member Eugene Chiang of the
University of California at Berkeley.

The first Trojan associated with Jupiter was discovered in 1906 and about
1,600 such objects are now known.

However, until the discovery of 2001 QR322, Trojan-like objects associated
with other giant planets had not been confirmed.

Pristine object

It was found during a survey of the outer Solar System using telescopes in
the US and Chile funded by the US space agency (Nasa).

It is estimated to be about 230 km (140 miles) in diameter and, like
Neptune, requires about 166 years to orbit the Sun.

Researchers originally found it on 21 August 2001 in deep digital images
taken with the 4-metre Blanco Telescope at Cerro Tololo.

However, it took over a year of observations along with orbital calculations
to prove that 2001 QR322 is a Neptune Trojan.

Astronomer Eugene Chiang said: "The orbit of 2001 QR322 is remarkably
stable; projections of its trajectory into the future reveal that it can
co-orbit with Neptune for at least billions of years.

"It is likely that 2001 QR322 is a dynamically pristine object whose orbital
eccentricity and inclination have been largely unaltered by processes that
afflicted the majority of bodies in the outer Solar System."

Copyright 2003, BBC

=========
(5) FINDING LIFE AWAY FROM EARTH WILL BE TOUGH

>From Science Daily, 8 January 2003
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/01/030108071845.htm

Source: University Of Washington
 
Finding Life Away From Earth Will Be Tough Task, Says Noted Paleontologist

Earth's most ancient fossils are hard to find. Some scientists think a few
of the earliest fossils might still be preserved in Earth rocks blasted to
the moon by an asteroid or meteor. Others believe much of the evidence has
been erased forever by the constant heat and pressure of plate tectonics.

But learning as much as possible about the earliest life on Earth is
probably the best starting point for trying to find life somewhere else,
said Roger Buick, a paleontologist who became the first faculty member hired
specifically for the University of Washington's pioneering graduate program
in astrobiology. He also is an associate professor of earth and space
sciences.

"The earliest organisms were presumably very simple, both in their structure
and their chemistry," he said. "The evidence we're used to seeing for modern
life may not be a good guide for what to look for in earliest life."

As a doctoral student nearly two decades ago, Buick discovered
stromatolites, or mounds of sedimentary rock, formed by microbes 3.5 billion
years ago in western Australia. Those mounds remain the oldest visible
evidence of life on Earth.

Buick suggested that using basic techniques to search for the simplest
evidence of ancient life on Earth is the best approach to finding evidence
of life elsewhere. That is a message he delivered today at the American
Astronomical Society's annual meeting in Seattle during a session called
"The Biology of Astrobiology for Astronomers." There are a variety of
difficulties associated with searching for early life based on what we know
of biology and geology, he said, yet both disciplines must be involved if we
are to be successful in the search for life elsewhere.

"We have to go from what we know, but we also must have an open mind because
we might be surprised by what we find," he said. "We have to be
hypercritical so that we're not misled by superficial resemblances to what
we know."

It will be a tough chore for astrobiologists to turn their field into a
self-sustaining endeavor because for so long science fiction has made the
idea of life away from Earth a fanciful notion of all sorts of intelligent
aliens, Buick said.

"It will take a lot of work to turn it from science fiction into science,
and because it is so interdisciplinary it's going to require a rethinking of
how science is done," he said.

The UW started the first graduate program in astrobiology four years ago
with a National Science Foundation grant for graduate education and
research. That later was supplemented by a major award from the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration's Astrobiology Institute and money from
the UW. The curriculum involves 11 degree programs - including astronomy,
microbiology, chemistry and oceanography - and graduates receive degrees
from one of those programs with an endorsement certificate in astrobiology.
Graduates will have broad, interdisciplinary knowledge, the kind many of
their professors are just starting to gain now.

Buick said fossil evidence of early life, whether from Earth or somewhere
else, could be so tiny that it is at the limits of - or beyond - current
capabilities in optic microscopic resolution. Those life forms might have
existed without hard bodies, so fossil evidence would be exceedingly
difficult to find and might consist only of poorly preserved organic
polymers.

He noted there are three instances - two in Greenland and one in Australia -
in which evidence for life on Earth was discovered that was as old or older
than what he found. But in two of the cases the evidence is not clear-cut
and there are ongoing scientific disputes about the meaning of the data. To
resolve these arguments, he said, it is important for scientists to
understand how signatures for biological life can be altered or erased from
rocks, primarily by heat and pressure.

To sort out the terrestrial evidence and to apply it to the search for
simple extraterrestrial life will involve many, if not most, of the existing
scientific disciplines, each adding bits of knowledge to crystallize the
science of astrobiology, Buick said.

"The bottom line is that we don't know much yet, but it's going to be a huge
amount of fun finding it out," he said. "And everyone has something to
contribute."

===========
(6) INTERNATIONAL METEOR CONFERNECE 2003

>From Ron Baalke <baalke@zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

http://aipsoe.aip.de/~rend/2003imc.html

International Meteor Conference 2003

General remarks

The International Meteor Organization (IMO) will hold its next International
Meteor Conference (IMC) in Bollmannsruh, Germany, on 18-21 September 2003.
The location is about 40 km west of Berlin, or about 20 km northeast of the
city of Brandenburg. The IMC 2003 is organized by the Arbeitskreis Meteore
e.V.

This page provides information for people interested in the IMC and
preparing their travel and stay in Germany. Please look for updates of the
contents. (Pre-)registered participants will also receive mail messages if
important information is added.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Registration

If you wish to attend the conference, please fill out a registration form
and send it to:

   Ina Rendtel
   Mehlbeerenweg 5
   D-14469 Potsdam, Germany

The registration fee includes lodging, meals and the Proceedings. We offer
an early registration fee of 115 EUR if your registration reaches us by 11
July 2003. Participants registrating after that pay a late registration fee
of 130 EUR. Reduced fee: we are currently checking possibilities for a
limited number of reduced registration fees. People interested in such a
reduced fee should
indicate this on the (pre-)registration. The details will be mentioned here
as soon as they are defined.

Please note that the IMO also offers travel support (guidelines to be
published in the IMO Journal WGN).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Travel to the IMC location

Bollmannsruh is located about 20 km northeast of Brandenburg at the lake
Beetzsee. We will organize transfer for participants from the Brandenburg
(main) railway station (Brandenburg Hbf) on Thursday, 18 September 2003.
People arriving on Friday (or later) should arrange a pickup with the
organizers. However, there is also a public bus transport from Brandenburg
(railway station) to Bollmannsruh.

People arriving by plane at one of the Berlin airports (Tegel, Schönefeld,
Tempelhof) should go to the Berlin-Zoo (Zoologischer Garten) train station.
Here you reach trains to the city of Brandenburg (RE1) leaving every hour.
Detailed information will be added later after the time schedule for
September 2003 is available.

We also provide road and other travel information through this web site
later.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Local organizing committee

Several members of the Arbeitskreis Meteore living near Berlin are involved
in the preparations for the IMC 2003:

   * Jürgen Rendtel, Marquardt
   * Ina Rendtel, Potsdam
   * Rainer Arlt, Berlin

Please do not hesitate to contact us: by e-mail, regular mail: Arbeitskreis
Meteore, PF 600118, D-14401 Potsdam, Germany or phone +49 33208 50753
(evening) or +49 331 7499356 (daytime).

============================
* LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR *
============================

(7) FIRST LET'S GO TO THE MOON AGAIN

>From David Whitehouse <davidwhitehouse@ntlworld.com>

Hi Benny,

I hope you had a happy Christmas and New Year.

Regarding Paul Davies' 'memo' to George Bush Jnr (CCNet, 9 January 2003).

We do not know how much a manned Mars mission would cost, but we do know it
would be very, very expensive. For many years cost estimates were literally
plucked out of the air. Hundreds of billions of dollars were mentioned with
little real rationale behind them. But even with our best technology (we
didn't have CAD and electronics in the Apollo days) and our imagination
(inflatable spacecraft, in-situ production of resources, non-chemical
propulsion etc) it will undoubtedly have an astronomical cost.

I know that the full cost will be spread over many years and that money
spent on space is spend on the ground going into the technology
infrastructure and the wider economy. I do not believe that money spent on
space is wasted in any way. (George Bush Snr said that the Apollo program
was the best return on an investment since Leonardo bought a sketchpad - and
I don't think he was talking about Leonardo di Caprio!) But with a war
looming, the global economy uncertain and presidential elections on the
horizon, and the example of the egg on his father's face after the 1989
speech, George Bush Jnr will not make a commitment to man on Mars.

Nasa fudges the issue, saying that the US does not have a manned mission
programm but if it did, its early stages would look exactly like the series
of unmanned probes they are preparing. They do have a point, partly.

What about going back to the Moon first? I know we have 'been there and done
that' and that it doesn't have the biological dimension of Mars, but a joint
Nasa-Esa (possibly India and China as well?) moonbase at the south pole near
the places where the Sun almost shines forever, and the pools of eternal
dark where there could be ice, would be far cheaper, far quicker (we would
not be old when it happened) and, because far more people could be involved
it would be far more attractive.

We have been to the Moon using crude and primitive technology. Unlike Mars
we do not need to develop radical new technology to build a moonbase. If the
powers -that-be said go ahead with a manned Mars mission we would still be
arguing about its architecture in several years time - but we could converge
on a moonbase plan in weeks.

I hope that China and India are serious about their plans for the
exploration of the Moon. If they are it could shake the US to venture more
than two hundred miles into space and go round and round in circles and
actually go somewhere. They the public will take an interest again. But I
believe it has to be the moon first and that, initially, it should not be
tied to a Mars mission in any way, because if it is, it would be bound to be
cancelled by some political move sometime.

David.

============
(8) RE: DID PLUTO TAKE A PUNCH?

>From Tom Van Flandern <tomvf@metaresearch.org>

Benny,

In connection with your CCNet title story, the following note was just
published at: http://www.boulder.swri.edu/ekonews/issues/.

Best wishes. -|Tom|-

---------
Regarding the Putative Eccentricity of Charon's Orbit
S. Alan Stern1, William F. Bottke1, and Harold F. Levison1

1 Department of Space Studies, Southwest Research Institute, 1050 Walnut
Street, Suite 400, Boulder, Colorado 80302, USA

Based on astrometry from an orbit derived by HST imagery, Charon's orbital
eccentricity has been reported to be in the range of 0.003-0.008 (Tholen &
Buie 1997, Icarus, 125, 245). Solar and planetary tides are orders of
magnitude too small to induce the reported eccentricity (Weissman et al.
1989, GRL, 16, 1241). This non-zero value, if correct, therefore indicates
some significant forcing against the two-body tidal equilibrium value, which
should formally be zero. Here we follow up on a preliminary study (Levison &
Stern 1995, LPSC, 26, 841) to investigate whether the reported eccentricity
of Charon's orbit could be due to gravitational perturbations by KBO flybys
through the Pluto-Charon system and KBO impacts directly onto Pluto and
Charon. We find it is unlikely that Charon's reported eccentricity could be
caused by this effect. Although we cannot rule out some additional source of
eccentricity excitation (e.g., an undiscovered satellite in the system, or a
Kozai resonance), our analysis indicates it is plausible that Charon's
actual orbital eccentricity is substantially smaller than the 0.003 lower
limit reported previously.

To appear in: The Astronomical Journal (2003 February)

For preprints, contact astern@swri.edu

==========
(9) AND FINALLY: "TIME IS RUNNING OUT FOR HUMANS" - AGAIN

>From Dawn, 10 January 2003
http://www.dawn.com/2003/01/10/int12.htm

LONDON: The human race has only one or perhaps two generations to rescue
itself, according to the 2003 State of the [Depressed] World report by the
Washington-based Worldwatch Institute.....

--------------------------------------------------------------------
CCNet is a scholarly electronic network. To subscribe/unsubscribe, please
contact the moderator Benny J Peiser < b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk >. Information
circulated on this network is for scholarly and educational use only. The
attached information may not be copied or reproduced for any other purposes
without prior permission of the copyright holders. The fully indexed archive
of the CCNet, from February 1997 on, can be found at
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cccmenu.html. DISCLAIMER: The opinions,
beliefs and viewpoints expressed in the articles and texts and in other
CCNet contributions do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and
viewpoints of the moderator of this network.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------



CCCMENU CCC for 2002

The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of

The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of Georgia or the University System of Georgia.