PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet DIGEST 26 JANUARY 1999
----------------------------

Sorry for yesterday's transmission problems - and don't even think
about mentioning that match..... BJP


(1) PLANET/ROCK (A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL)
    BOSTON GLOBE, 25 January 1999
    http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/025/editorials/Planet_rock+.shtml

(2) SPACEDEV AWARDED MICROSPACECRAFT STUDY CONTRACT BY NASA's JPL
    Jim Benson <jim@spacedev.com>

(3) NOT BAD: SIR ARTHUR TALKS CHINA (& CHICAGO) AROUND
    INSIDE CHINA TODAY
    http://www.insidechina.com/china/news/99012005.html

(4) SPACEGUARD AUSTRALIA
    Michael Paine <mpaine@tpgi.com.au>

(5) STUDYING LIFE IN ORBIT
    ABCNews Science Online
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/DailyNews/spacecolony990125.html

(6) ENOUGH (SPACE) DUST TO MAKE A HOUSEKEEPER WEEP
    THE NEW YORK TIMES, 26 January 1999
http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/012699sci-science-watch.html

(7) ROSETTA SCIENCE WORKING TEAM REPORTS EXCELLENCE PROGRESS
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(8) DETECTION OF WATER ICE ON CENTAUR 1997 CU26
    M.E. Brown & C.D. Koresko, CALTECH

=====================
(1) PLANET/ROCK (A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL)

From BOSTON GLOBE, 25 January 1999
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/025/editorials/Planet_rock+.shtml

Anyone planning to march on the International Astronomical Union for
demoting Pluto to a "minor planet" or, worse, to a "Trans-Neptunian
object" should cancel the demonstration. Good old Number Nine still
stands tall in the solar system.

"This is not a demotion," said an exasperated Brian Marsden, a
Cambridge astronomer and an official of the Astronomical Union, who,
along with other members in the group, has been fielding criticism
from citizens and scientists alike incensed by international media
reports on what appeared to be the denigration of a venerable
celestial body.

"We're giving Pluto dual citizenship in the universe," Marsden
explained in a telephone interview. He noted that because of the
planet's position out there beyond Neptune in what's known as "the
Kuiper Belt" or the "Trans-Neptunian Belt" and its resemblance to
objects that appear to be links between planets and comets, Pluto
could be considered a resident of two countries - the largest object
in the belt and the smallest planet in the solar system.

"We're adding to Pluto's status," he said, sounding a bit like a
politician trying to redirect negative spin on an unintended
pejorative.. "Pluto is being celebrated."

Nothing pushes the public outrage button quite like semantics or the
fear that something familiar is being scrapped, even if it's several
billion miles from Earth and has been the subject of scientific
debate for years.

Because of its size, its distance from the sun, and its unusual,
egg-shaped orbit, so different from the more circular orbits of the
other planets, astronomers have been arguing the merits of including
Pluto in the planetary lineup almost since its discovery by Clyde
Tombaugh in 1930. Those favoring inclusion have denounced the
Astronomical Union's new classification as silly, anti-Tombaugh, or
both.

But if Marsden's conciliatory explanation can get through the roar,
the Plutonian community, layman and expert, should be able to relax.
The facts broaden rather than diminish the world's understanding of a
fascinating ball of rock.

This story ran on page A14 of the Boston Globe on 01/25/99.
Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.

==================
(2) SPACEDEV AWARDED MICROSPACECRAFT STUDY CONTRACT BY NASA's JPL

From Jim Benson <jim@spacedev.com>

SpaceDev To Provide Guidance For Low Cost Mars Missions

SAN DIEGO, CA  January 25 -- SpaceDev (OTC BB: SPDV), the world's first
commercial space exploration and development company, announced its ISS
(Integrated Space Systems) subsidiary has been awarded a contract from
NASA's JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) to study the feasibility of and
concepts for low-cost microspacecraft which could provide scientific,
probe-carrying, telecommunications and navigation services for future
NASA Mars missions. 

SpaceDev was one of nine companies in competition for the JPL study.
The most significant aspect of the contract is that JPL and SpaceDev
will explore NASA's possible development of a Mars microspacecraft bus
which could be used for many future missions. The microspacecraft bus
will have the common capability to perform as a science orbiter, a
telecommunications orbiter, and a probe carrier with minimal, or no
modular modifications, to support the Mars MicroMissions and Mars
Telecommunications and Navigation Infrastructure Pre-Projects.

"We view this contract as recognition that SpaceDev has the right stuff
-- broad capabilities in the small, low-cost spacecraft and mission
design arena," said Jim Benson, founder and Chief Executive Officer of
SpaceDev. "This two-month project is a perfect match for the skills and
experiences of our ISS and SIL (Space Innovations Limited) subsidiaries
which design and manufacture microsatellites and their subsystems."

Using NASA's public/private partnership model, ISS has formed a small
business alliance team that includes: Utah State's Space Dynamics
Laboratory, (Logan UT), Alliance SpaceSystems Inc., (Pasadena, CA),
Advanced Computational Intelligent Systems (San Diego, CA) and Fortune
Eight Aerospace Industries, (Boulder, CO). SpaceDev firmly supports
NASA's better, faster, cheaper philosophy of doing business. This
project is another example of how SpaceDev is able to achieve that
quest by combining high caliber science and engineering expertise
within budgetary considerations.   

San Diego-based Integrated Space Systems, acquired in 1998 by SpaceDev,
is an aerospace engineering company specializing in launch vehicle and
spacecraft design and analysis.  "For the past six months we have been
analyzing possible SpaceDev commercial Mars micromissions, so this
exciting opportunity came along at the right time," said Phil Smith,
founder and Chief Executive Officer of ISS.

Being an integral part of these early design and concept studies,
SpaceDev plans to participate in evolving space science and exploration
programs for the next century. This is a corporate goal whose
initiation began with NEAP (Near Earth Asteroid Prospector). NEAP is
SpaceDev's proposed commercial deep space mission to be  financed with
contracted payloads and scientific data gathering instruments.

SpaceDev's capabilities include design as well as construction of small
satellites, ground stations, spacecraft subsystems, and launch
vehicles; plus aerospace design and analysis services.  Headquartered
in San Diego, SpaceDev is a Colorado chartered corporation with
additional sales offices in Washington, DC.

The foregoing press release includes numerous forward-looking
statements concerning the company's business and future prospects and
other similar statements that do not concern matters of historical
fact. The federal securities laws provide a limited "safe harbor" for
certain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this
press release relating to product development, business prospects and
development of a commercial market for technological advances are based
on the company's current expectations. The company's current
expectations are subject to all of the uncertainties and risks
customarily associated with new business ventures including, but not
limited to, market conditions, successful product development and
acceptance, competition and overall economic conditions, as well as the
risk of adverse regulatory actions. The company's actual results may
differ materially from current expectations. Readers are cautioned not
to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The company
disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly these
forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information,
future events or for any other reason.

Note: News releases and other information on SpaceDev can be accessed
at: www.spacedev.com  ISS: www.spaceinc.com  SIL: www.sil.com

Contacts: Tom Brown, SpaceDev CFO: 619-684-3570
          Ron Ventre, SpaceDev Investor Relations: 760-943-9065 

=======================
(3) NOT BAD: SIR ARTHUR TALKS CHINA (& CHICAGO) AROUND

From INSIDE CHINA TODAY
http://www.insidechina.com/china/news/99012005.html

SCIENTISTS ORDERED TO DEFINE MILLENNIUM'S BEGINNING

BEIJING, Jan. 20, 1999 -- (Reuters) Amid mounting global concern that
the so-called millennium bug will stall computers and fuel chaos on
January 1, 2000, China's leaders have ordered scientists to tackle a
more basic question: when does the new millennium begin?

Top astronomers tasked with resolving the conundrum speak with one
voice. The new millennium would not begin until Jan. 1, 2001, they
said on Wednesday.

"Some people are beginning their celebrations a bit early because the
year 2000 is an important date," said Lu Benkui, director of the
Zijinshan Observatory in eastern Nanjing.

"But we believe the 21st century and the third millennium will not
begin until the year 2001."

Zijinshan has set China's national calendar since 1928 and is the
only observatory in the country dedicated to such research.

Lu said he had already submitted his team's formal decision on the
date to the central government and was awaiting a reply.

"They asked and I responded," he said, noting that Beijing's say in
the matter was final.

"I have yet to receive an official response."

Debate over when to mark the start of a new millennium was fuelled
this month when science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke issued a
public statement to counter the common perception that the year 2000
marks the opening of a new era.

"Because the Western calendar starts with Year 1, and not Year 0, the
21st century and the third millennium do not begin until Jan. 1,
2001," Clarke said.

"They are not my views, I am just stating the fact," he added on
Wednesday.

However, Clarke emphasized that the so-called millennium bug could
cause real chaos a year ahead of schedule as computer chips confuse
the year 2000 for 1900 and shut down.

Chicago will postpone its millennium celebrations to 2001 on Clarke's
advice, but other cities are reluctant.

Lu said he has been following debate about the question on the
Internet and defended his team's decision. "We have the same view as
the top observatories in the United States, Britain and France," he
said.

However, Lu admitted that most people in China would spend midnight
on Dec. 31, 1999, marking what they believe is the beginning of the
new millennium. "It's a big event and I can understand their
enthusiasm."

(c) 1999 Reuters

=====================
(4) SPACEGUARD AUSTRALIA

From Michael Paine <mpaine@tpgi.com.au>

1. I have created a small animated GIF (27kb) from the NASA "movie" of
Eros (made from images taken by the NEAR spacecraft). It will give
subscribers an idea of the content of the movie which is a 2.3Mb MPG
file (and well worth downloading).
See http://www1.tpgi.com.au/users/tps-seti/spacegd.html#eros
including a link to the official NEAR website

2. I am looking at the feasibility of preparing a book on NEOs, with
emphasis on Australian researchers (in Australia or overseas). I
anticipate that it would cover the search for NEOs, research on
asteroids, comets and meteoroids, investigation of craters,
impact-related extinctions and transport of microbes between planets. I
would be interested in hearing from any subscribers who could assist
with information or contacts.

Michael Paine
New South Wales Coordinator
The Planetary Society Australian Volunteer Coordinators

=====================
(5) STUDYING LIFE IN ORBIT

From ABCNews Science
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/DailyNews/spacecolony990125.html

Experts Study Plant, Animal Life in Zero-G

A N A H E I M,  Calif. Jan. 25 — For the first time in history,
humans are making serious plans to carry life to other worlds, but
experts said it’s uncertain whether plants and animals from Earth can
thrive and evolve on other planets......

More at:
http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/DailyNews/spacecolony990125.html

======================
(6) ENOUGH (SPACE) DUST TO MAKE A HOUSEKEEPER WEEP

From THE NEW YORK TIMES, 26 January 1999
http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/012699sci-science-watch.html

SCOURING SPACE FOR DUST

By HENRY FOUNTAIN

Space may look pristine, but the part of it near Earth, at least, is
really quite trashy. In orbit is the weightless flotsam of human
exploration -- a used package of Tang here, a spent rocket stage
there -- as well as enough dust to make a housekeeper weep.

The larger debris is generally accounted for and tracked, for even a
lost spacesuit glove whizzing along at an orbital speed of 17,000
miles an hour an damage a satellite or other object in its path. But
dust bombardment can cause damage as well, and less is known about
the scope of the dust problem.

An instrument being carried aboard an unclassified Air Force
satellite is designed to get some answers. The experiment, kind of a
white-glove test in space, will measure the mass and speed of
individual dust particles, as well as their trajectory, in order to
determine their origin and distribution.

Some dust particles are left behind by comets; others are the result
of human activity. And by continually colliding with and abrading
larger orbiting objects, dust begets more dust.....

More at:
http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/012699sci-science-watch.html

Copyright 1999, The New York Times

=======================
(7) ROSETTA SCIENCE WORKING TEAM REPORTS EXCELLENCE PROGRESS

From Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

ESA Science News
http://sci.esa.int

Rosetta science working team reports excellent progress

Some 100 scientists and engineers came together during the latest
meeting of the Rosetta Science Working Team (SWT) at the European Space
Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, on 14
and 15 January. Those present included representatives from the United
States as well as all ESA member states.

Following the completion of various design reviews, it was generally
agreed that Rosetta is making excellent progress. With very few
exceptions, the project was proceeding smoothly and attendees expressed
confidence that the mission would be a great success.

Reporting on the current status, Rosetta project manager Bruno Gardini
noted that the ESA Industrial Policy Committee had given final approval
for the phase C/D contract and that the build-up of the Rosetta
industrial team is now complete.

Mr Gardini also noted the following points:

* The locations of the various scientific instruments on the spacecraft
  have now been finalised.
* The thermal design of the spacecraft has been confirmed as satisfactory,
  bearing in mind the great changes in temperature which the spacecraft
  will have to undergo.
* In addition to the S-band up/down link, an X-band radio uplink will be
  installed. This is due to potential conflicts with frequencies used by
  future mobile telephone systems involving constellations of satellites
  in low-Earth orbit.
* Arianespace is confident that the upgraded Ariane-5 will be sufficiently
  powerful to launch Rosetta, but there is little margin to spare so science
  and engineering teams must take care to meet their specified target
  weights.
* With the spacecraft industrial consortium now complete, activities
  are focusing on detailed design at unit level. Payload Design Reviews are
  under way, and system level Mechanical and Electrical Hardware Design
  Reviews are planned for later in the year.
* The programme to develop the spacecraft structural and thermal model
  will be given priority in the immediate future.

USEFUL LINKS FOR THIS STORY

Rosetta scientific instruments pages:
http://www.estec.esa.nl/spdwww/rosetta/html/instrum.html

==================
(8) DETECTION OF WATER ICE ON CENTAUR 1997 CU26

M.E. Brown & C.D. Koresko: Detection of water ice on the Centaur 1997
CU26. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 1998, Vol.505, No.1 Pt2, pp.L65-L67

CALTECH, DIV GEOL & PLANETARY SCI, PASADENA, CA, 91125

We report the detection of the 1.5 and 2.0 mu m absorption bands due to
water ice in the near-infrared reflection spectrum of the Centaur 1997
CU26, which is currently located just outside the heliocentric distance
of Saturn. The water ice hands are weaker than those detected on the
surface of any other solar system body; the spectrum is well fit with a
model surface consisting predominantly of a neutral dark absorbing
substance with only similar to 3% areal coverage of water ice. The
spectrum thus appears very different from that of the Centaur 5140
Pholus, although both objects are of similar brightness and are at
similar heliocentric distances. Copyright 1999, Institute for
Scientific Information Inc.

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