PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 24/2001 - 12 February 2001: NEAR-SHOEMAKER SPECIAL
--------------------------------------------------------


"The NEAR -- Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous -- Shoemaker spacecraft
has been circling around the Eros asteroid since February 14, 2000.
NASA is hoping the spacecraft's camera will capture surface details as
small as a 4-inch rock in the final minutes before the craft touches down,
helping scientists answer questions about the asteroid's geology. [...]
The spacecraft was never meant to land, she added, and may not make it in
one piece. "Chances are less than one per cent for it to land intact,"
she said. "Plus, all the instruments are on the bottom."
--CNN, 12 February 2001


"The recently published suggestion for moving the Earth in response
to solar evolution may or may not have significant potential for
realization. However, it does open the door for a possible method of
PHO deflection. Most proposals for risk mitigation involve a direct
approach using high (nuclear) or low (solar, mass driver, etc.) energy
transfer methods. Perhaps a better way, which I have been thinking
about for some time, is to use a much smaller asteroidal objects as a
deflection mass."
--Joe H Frisbee, United Space Alliance, 12 February 2001



(1) MISSION INCREDIBLE THAT IS VITAL FOR PLANETARY DEFENSE
    Benny J Peiser <b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk>

(2) NEAR SHOEMAKER TEAM SEEKS ANSWERS IN DECENT IMAGES
    Near Earth Asteroid Rendevouz JHUAPL, 11 February 2001

(3) NEAR SHOEMAKER'S CONTROLLED DESCENT TO EROS: PROJECTED SCHEDULE OF
MANEUVERS
    Near Earth Asteroid Rendevouz JHUAPL,
http://near.jhuapl.edu/media/EoM.html

(3) NEAR SHOEMAKER'S DESCENT TO EROS: SCHEDULE OF EVENTS & SATELLITE, LIVE
WEB INFORMATION
    Near Earth Asteroid Rendevouz JHUAPL,
http://near.jhuapl.edu/media/eom_events/index.html

(4) FIRST-EVER ASTEROID LANDING ATTEMPT TODAY
    CNN, 12 February 2001

(5) NASA READY FOR ASTEROID TOUCHDOWN
    BBC Online News, 12 February 2001

(8) THE PLANETARY SOCIETY ASSISTS SEARCH FOR NEAR EARTH OBJECTS
    The Planetary Society <tps@planetary.org>

(9) EARTH MOVING SUGGESTION HAS SIGNIFICANT POTENTIAL FOR PHO DEFLECTION
    Joe H Frisbee <Joe.H.Frisbee@USAHQ.UnitedSpaceAlliance.com>

(10) RECIPE FOR STARTING LIFE: MOVE IT
     Pat McNulty <StackGenerator@cs.com>

(11) RECIPE FOR SAVING EARTH
     <Stephen Ashworth> sa@astronist.demon.co.uk>

(12) MORE CLARIFICATIONS BY VADIM SIMONENKO
     Vadim A. Simonenko  <sva@sva.ch70.chel.su >

=========
(1) MISSION INCREDIBLE THAT IS VITAL FOR PLANETARY DEFENSE

From Benny J Peiser <b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk>

In less than eight hours time, one of NASA's most successful missions in
recent years will end when the NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft attempts to land on
Eros. From the perspective of NEO research and planetary defense, the NEAR
mission has provided us with a plethora of vital information. One day, who
knows, this data might help us to deal effectively with another asteroid on
collision course with our planet.

Interestingly, on the day of this historic landing, Joe Frisbee of the United
Space Alliance has come up with a novel proposal that has all the potential
to improve asteroid deflections in the future. In his proposal posted on
CCNet below, Joe Frisbee suggests that to deflect a potential impactor, one
could simply use another small asteroidal object "as a deflection mass.
Either through direct impact or fly by, relatively significant (for the
deflection problem at least) changes in velocity could be achieved by moving
fairly small objects into intercept trajectories."

Although the overall practicalities of Frisbee's idea remain unclear, the
suggestion looks extremely promising. "Since just about any change in
velocity would alter the collision outcome, the targeting requirements might
not be as stringent as for other more direct means of deflection."

Nevertheless, the future of future NEO missions and the necessary increase
in NEO searches as well as space experiments essential for planetary defense
will require much better funding than is currently made available. In a
timely reminder, Michael Gerrard, one of the world's leading law experts on
legal issue regarding outer space activities, points out just how irrational
current spending policies are when it comes to hazard risk reduction.

Gerrad contrasts the $6 billion that is spent annually in the U.S. on the
cleanup of hazardous waste sites, with the $3.0 million currently spent by
the U.S. on NEO detection. While the latest estimates suggest that less than
one life per year is lost in the U.S. due to toxic waste, anticipated NEO
impacts over the course of 1 million years yield 4,000 deaths per year. Of
course, Michael is not suggesting that the embarrassingly small amount of $3
million should be increased 4000 fold. Nevertheless, the mismatch between
ridiculously high levels of funding for make-believe ecological scares on
the one hand and a real, generally accepted and inevitable natural hazard
such as the impact risk is inexcusable. One can only hope that political
decision makers will take notice and move forward on these facts.

Benny J Peiser

========
(2) NEAR SHOEMAKER TEAM SEEKS ANSWERS IN DECENT IMAGES

From Near Earth Asteroid Rendevouz JHUAPL, 11 February 2001
http://near.jhuapl.edu/news/flash/01feb11_1.html
 
As NEAR Shoemaker closes in on asteroid 433 Eros, mission scientists hope
the camera will capture surface details as small as a hand-size rock before
the spacecraft touches down on the boulder-strewn surface Feb. 12.

Since last October, NEAR imaging team members have been puzzling over
strange surface features seen in new, high-resolution images. They hope the
close-ups taken in the final minutes before the spacecraft drops onto the
surface will help to answer their questions about the geology of the
21-mile-long asteroid more than 196 million miles (316 million kilometers)
from Earth.

"Since last October we have seen details of Eros at 1-meter resolution that
we haven't seen anywhere else before and don't understand," says Cornell
University astronomer Joseph Veverka, who heads the imaging team. "That's
why we are so excited about getting close to the surface."

The controlled descent is a highly risky maneuver, involving four
intermittent thruster firings intended to slow the rate of descent to about
5 mph from 20 mph. In the final 45 minutes, when the spacecraft is about 3.5
to 4.5 miles (about 6 to 7.5 kilometers) from its landing site at the edge
of the saddle-shaped depression Himeros, the camera will begin taking a new
image about every 30 seconds.

The final clear picture could be snapped at just 550 yards (500 meters) from
the surface, enough to capture details as small as 4 inches (10 centimeters)
across. Mission team members at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory, which built the spacecraft and manages the NEAR mission for
NASA, do not expect images to be transmitted from the surface because Eros's
spin and topography will almost certainly prevent communication between
Earth and the craft.

Veverka says his team wants a close-up look because it is puzzled by what it
has seen on Eros over the past few weeks. Last October, with much of NEAR's
mission accomplished, the spacecraft was sent into orbit just 4 miles (about
6 kilometers) or so from the asteroid's surface. For the first time team
members saw details as small as a yard (just under a meter) across, compared
with the approximately 5.5 yards (5 meters) resolution that had been
captured by the camera since the spacecraft went into orbit around Eros on
Feb. 14, 2000.

"Suddenly, we started seeing things we didn't expect and hadn't seen on
other surfaces in the solar system," says Veverka. "It's like another door
has opened."

The biggest surprise, says Cornell researcher Peter Thomas, who has been
interpreting the geology of the asteroid's surface, "is that some small
craters and other small depressions have flat, smooth floors, unlike most
craters you see on Eros and other objects. It looks as if fine-grain
material has slid down the craters' sides and ponded in the bottoms."

Apparently, he says, there is some mechanism "we hadn't anticipated" that
moves fine-grain material around on the surface. Although gravity on Eros is
only one one-thousandth of that on Earth - an average person would weigh
only an ounce or two - it is still "very effective in gathering materials in
very flat floors on the bottom of depressions."

Another surprise, says Veverka, is the discovery that some small boulders
are surrounded by material that appears to have disintegrated from the
boulders' surfaces. "There is some process that is very gentle that somehow
disintegrates rock. We haven't seen this on the moon, and we haven't seen
this before on Eros. But it seems to be very common."

On Jan. 24 the spacecraft entered a close flyby sequence, including a
four-day orbit that produced images from as close as 2 miles (3.2
kilometers) above the surface. The new images have enabled imaging team
members to accumulate data at a resolution of about 1.1 yards (1 meter).
"The hope is that during the descent we can improve this resolution by
perhaps a factor of 10 so that we can find out more about what is going on
there," says Veverka.

====================
(3) NEAR SHOEMAKER'S CONTROLLED DESCENT TO EROS: PROJECTED SCHEDULE OF
MANEUVERS

From http://near.jhuapl.edu/media/EoM.html

February 12, 2001

NEAR Shoemaker's controlled descent is expected to take about 4 1/2 hours,
from the maneuver that brings NEAR Shoemaker out of a circular orbit to the
spacecraft's touchdown near Eros' distinctive saddle-shaped depression. The
current schedule (all times Eastern, EST): 

10:31 a.m.
De-orbit Maneuver
Duration: 20 seconds
Approximate altitude: 25 kilometers (15.5 miles)

2:16 p.m.
Braking Maneuver 1
Duration: 3 minutes
Approximate altitude: 5 kilometers (3 miles)

2:31 p.m.
Braking Maneuver 2
Duration: 5 minutes, 12 seconds
Approximate altitude: 3 kilometers (1.85 miles)
 2:47 p.m.

Braking Maneuver 3
Duration: 6 minutes
Approximate altitude: 1 kilometer (0.6 miles)
2:59 p.m.

Braking Maneuver 4
Duration: 4 minutes, 14 seconds
Approximate altitude: 400 meters (1,320 feet)

3:04 p.m.
Contact with surface

===========
(3) NEAR SHOEMAKER'S DESCENT TO EROS: SCHEDULE OF EVENTS & SATELLITE, LIVE
WEB INFORMATION

From http://near.jhuapl.edu/media/eom_events/index.html

NASA attempts something never before done Monday, Feb. 12, when, starting at
10:31 a.m. EST, mission controllers at The Johns Hopkins University Applied
Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD, will initiate a series of engine
burns over a 4-hour period designed to bring NASA's NEAR Shoemaker
spacecraft down to the surface of asteroid Eros.

Due to the STS-98 mission of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, NASA Television
will not be available to provide coverage of NEAR's descent and the
post-mission briefing, now scheduled for Feb. 14.

These events will be broadcast live on a separate Ku Band satellite, Telstar
K5, 97 degrees West Longitude, Transponder 12, Downlink Frequency 11936 MHz
Horizontal Polarity, Audio 6.2 & 6.8.

NASA will also provide an Internet video stream of the activities
originating from APL. Members of the media who wish to follow the NEAR
encounter activities on the Internet can contact either the NASA HQ or APL
Public Affairs offices for access instructions and passwords.

General public access will be available on a first-come, first-served basis
on NASA's home page at http://www.nasa.gov and the NEAR page at
http://near.jhuapl.edu/.

The satellite and web feed schedule is as follows (all times EST):

Monday, Feb. 12:

7 a.m. to 8 a.m. - Live shots from the NEAR Mission Operations enter (MOC) -
APL broadcast on Telstar K5
Noon - Breaking news to report results of scheduled 10:31 a.m. engine
firing, followed by NEAR Video File - APL broadcast on Telstar K5
1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. - Descent Activities from NEAR MOC. Broadcast live
via Telstar K5 with simultaneous Web cast
4 p.m. to 8 p.m. - Live shots from the NEAR MOC broadcast on Telstar K5
Wednesday, Feb. 14:

Noon - NEAR Video File - APL broadcast on Telstar K5
1 p.m. - NEAR Post-Landing Press Briefing in APL's Kossiakoff Center
broadcast on Telstar K5 and live Web cast
Panelists for the post-mission briefing will be:

Dr. Jay Bergstralh, Acting Director, Solar System Exploration, NASA
Headquarters, Washington, DC
Robert Farquhar, NEAR Mission Director, APL
Bobby Williams, Navigation, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
Joseph Veverka, Imaging Team Leader, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Thomas Coughlin, NEAR Project Manager, APL

To receive NASA's video stream you will need the latest version of
RealPlayer installed on your computer and an active Internet connection. The
latest version of the software is available at:
http://www.real.com/R/RC.HP0207t2.buttons2.txt..R/www.real.com/player/index.html

Media interested in covering the descent activities from APL should contact
Helen Worth or Mike Buckley of the APL Public Affairs Office, at (240)
228-5113 or (240) 228-7536. Registration is also available through the NEAR
mission Web site at http://near.jhuapl.edu/media/current_press_events.html.

===============
(4) FIRST-EVER ASTEROID LANDING ATTEMPT TODAY

From CNN, 12 February 2001
http://www.cnn.com/2001/TECH/space/02/12/near.preview/index.html

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- NASA scientists Monday plan the first-ever "controlled
descent" of an unmanned spacecraft onto the surface of an asteroid.

Scientists said there is a high risk the craft will be damaged in the
process, but they hope to collect invaluable pictures of the 21-mile-long
asteroid's surface as the craft descends.

The NEAR -- Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous -- Shoemaker spacecraft has been
circling around the Eros asteroid since February 14, 2000. NASA is hoping
the spacecraft's camera will capture surface details as small as a 4-inch
rock in the final minutes before the craft touches down, helping scientists
answer questions about the asteroid's geology.

Beginning at 10:31 a.m. EST, mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, will command the
craft to initiate a series of engine burns designed to bring it down to the
asteroid's surface. The procedure is expected to last about four hours.

High-risk maneuver

The controlled descent is a high-risk maneuver, NASA said, and is intended
to slow the rate of descent from 20 mph to 5 mph. The camera will begin
snapping pictures about every 30 seconds during the final 45 minutes of
descent.

The camera will cease taking pictures at about 200 meters above the surface,
said Helen Worth, spokeswoman for the Johns Hopkins laboratory.

"The purpose of the camera was to take pictures at a much greater distance,"
she told CNN. "It comes out of focus between 500 and 200 meters."

The spacecraft was never meant to land, she added, and may not make it in
one piece. "Chances are less than one per cent for it to land intact," she
said. "Plus, all the instruments are on the bottom." Once the craft lands,
it will stay there and NASA has no plans to retrieve it.

NASA puzzled by images of asteroid

NASA said NEAR imaging team members have been puzzling over strange surface
features first spotted in images in October. They hope the close-ups taken
by the spacecraft will help to answer their questions about the geology of
the asteroid more than 196 million miles from Earth.

"Since last October we have seen details of Eros at 1-meter resolution that
we haven't seen anywhere else before and don't understand," Cornell
University astronomer Joseph Veverka, who heads the imaging team, said in a
statement. "That's why we are so excited about getting close to the
surface."

The Johns Hopkins laboratory built the spacecraft and manages the NEAR
mission for NASA.

Cornell researchers say the biggest surprise is the discovery that some
small craters have flat, smooth floors, indicating fine-grain material has
pooled at the bottom. Although gravity on Eros is only one one-thousandth of
that on Earth, the researchers say it is strong enough to collect material
in the asteroid's depressions.

Another surprise, Veverka said, is that some small boulders are surrounded
by material that appears to have disintegrated from the boulders' surfaces.
"There is some process that is very gentle that somehow disintegrates rock.
We haven't seen this on the moon, and we haven't seen this before on Eros.
But it seems to be very common," he said.

Pictures of the asteroid landing attempt will be shown live on NASA's Web
site, www.nasa.gov.

Copyright 2001, CNN

==========
(5) NASA READY FOR ASTEROID TOUCHDOWN

From the BBC Online News, 12 February 2001
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1162000/1162463.stm

By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse

Space exploration is about to take an historic step forward with an attempt
to land a probe on a 21-mile long asteroid. The Near Earth Asteroid
Rendezvous (Near) craft will attempt to alight on the surface of rocky Eros
millions of miles from the Earth. Near has been orbiting Eros for about a
year performing a survey of unprecedented accuracy of the large
potato-shaped chunk of rock.

Scientists plan to broadcast images from the space probe on the internet as
it drifts down towards the asteroid's surface and tries to land at about
three miles an hour. The mission will begin at 1631GMT on Monday 12 February
when Near begins a series of engine burns that, over a four-hour period,
will control its descent.

The craft is not actually designed to land - the manoeuvre is only being
attempted because it is close to the end of its useful life.

Whatever happens to Near, the data obtained will tell astronomers a lot
about the strength and make-up of the surface, creating scientific history
in the process.
 
The encounter will take place 316 million km (196 million miles) away, just
beyond the orbit of Mars. Starting at 35 km (22 miles) above the surface,
Near will slow to about 10 km an hour (6 miles) on its way down.

Because the spacecraft will be using its thrusters to hover for about an
hour while it scouts the surface, there is the possibility that it may
exhaust its fuel supply. It will aim for the edge of a protruding region of
Eros known as Himeros, near the boundary of two different types of terrain.

'Rogue' asteroids

Whatever its fate, Near will be sending back pictures to the very end. Eros
is important because it is made of material left over from the birth of the
solar system and the planets some 4.5 billion years ago.

Eros belongs to a rogue population of asteroids that split from the main
asteroid belt. The asteroid that is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs
67 million years ago came from the same family.

Near's planned descent
 
From Near's data, astronomers believe that Eros broke off a much larger body
early in the history of the Solar System. When Near nudges Eros it will be
only the fifth object to be touched since the start of the space age, after
the Moon, Mars, Venus and Jupiter.

Mission director Dr Robert Farquhar said: "It's never been tried before and
it certainly is a complicated set of manoeuvres, but at this point the only
real risk is not taking one.

"The whole sequence of engine burns has to go right, or it might not be a
very soft touchdown.
"The unknown nature of the surface makes it hard to predict what will happen
to the spacecraft, especially since it wasn't designed to land. "The most we
can hope for is a beacon from Near Shoemaker that says it's still
operating."

Copyright 2001, BBC

=============
(7) COMPARING NEO AND HAZARDOUS WASTE RISKS

From Michael B. Gerrard <Michael_Gerrard@aporter.com>

Michael B. Gerrard, Risks of Hazardous Waste Sites versus Asteroid and Comet
Impacts: Accounting for the Discrepancies in U.S. Resource Allocation RISK
ANALYSIS 20:(3) 895-904  2000

The risks, risk reduction goals, and expenditures for the cleanup of
inactive hazardous waste sites and the detection of near earth objects
(NEOs) are compared. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the U.S. Superfund law for the
cleanup of hazardous waste sites, the risk reduction goal is 10(superscript:
-6). For NEOs, the goal is to detect objects of 1 km or greater; such an
object could cause one billion deaths, and thus the implicit risk reduction
goal is 10(superscript: 9). This is a difference of 15 orders of magnitude.
In contrast, approximately $6 billion is spent annually in the U.S. on the
cleanup of CERCLA sites, while approximately 0.05% of this amount, or $3.0
million, has been spent by the U.S. on NEO detection. Estimates of the lives
saved by CERCLA are difficult to obtain, but the latest estimate (by
Hamilton and Viscusi) is less than one life per year. Anticipated NEO
impacts over the course of 1 million years would yield deaths that, when
annualized, total approximately 4,000 per year. This article argues that the
much lower risk-to-resources ratio for CERCLA cleanups than for NEO
detection can be explained by four primary factors: (1) the regard for
future generations, since CERCLA benefits mainly the unborn; (2) concrete
fears, since toxics are much more feared than asteroids or comets; (3) the
source of the threat, since toxic contamination is caused by human beings,
unlike impacts from space objects; and (4) the greater political
constituences for hazardous waste cleanup than for space object detection.

This article is not available in electronic form, but reprints may be
obtained by sending mailing address to Michael_Gerrard@aporter.com.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
This communication may contain information that is legally privileged,
confidential or exempt from disclosure.  If you are not the intended
recipient, please note that any dissemination, distribution, or copying of
this communication is strictly prohibited. Anyone who receives this
message in error should notify the sender immediately by telephone or by
return e-mail and delete it from his or her computer.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Michael Gerrard                    Michael_Gerrard@aporter.com
Arnold & Porter                    Telephone:  (212) 715-1000
399 Park Avenue                    Fax:  (212) 715-1399
New York, NY  10022-4690           http://www.arnoldporter.com

=============
(8) THE PLANETARY SOCIETY ASSISTS SEARCH FOR NEAR EARTH OBJECTS

From The Planetary Society <tps@planetary.org>

NEWS RELEASE

The Planetary Society
65 N. Catalina Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91106-2301 (626) 793-5100 Fax (626)
793-5528 E-mail: tps@planetary.org  Web: http://planetary.org

For Immediate Release: February 8, 2001 Contact: Susan Lendroth

The Planetary Society Assists Search for Near Earth Objects

The Planetary Society Gene Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grants for 2000 have
just been awarded to researchers in five nations. Named for one of the
pioneers in the field, the grants fund the discovery and tracking of
near-Earth objects (NEO's) -- asteroids and comets whose orbits come close
to Earth. One of them could impact our planet with devastating results.

The Society has been a leader in advocating and funding the search for NEO's
for nearly two decades. With the Shoemaker grants, the Society enables
international and amateur observers to make greater contributions to the
field. In keeping with that goal, the winners come from five nations:
Brazil, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, the United States, and Uruguay.
(winners listed below)

About 40% of the estimated total number of one-kilometer or larger objects
that cross Earth's orbit have been discovered. Even though various
astronomical groups and NASA advisory committees have recommended that the
search for NEOs be accelerated, government support for searches and
follow-up programs remains modest.

"Is the sky falling?" asks Planetary Society Executive Director, Louis
Friedman. "Not today, and hopefully, not tomorrow. But Earth has been hit by
objects with catastrophic results as recently as 100 years ago. We need to
find and map the orbits of the NEO's in our planet's neighborhood."

A SWARM OF NEAR EARTH OBJECTS

Earth travels through a swarm of near-Earth objects of various sizes and
orbits. Scientists have only recently begun to understand the significant
contribution NEOs have made to the evolution of Earth -- and to life on our
planet. It is now believed that impacts from comets and asteroids have
shaped the evolution of all planets in our solar system. The data gathered
by NEAR's mission to Eros will greatly increase our understanding of this
large swarm of small bodies.

So far, over 1250 near-Earth asteroids have been discovered; more than 460
of these are larger than one kilometer across. Scientists estimate, however,
that there are about 1000 near-Earth asteroids larger than one kilometer and
50,000 to 200,000 objects larger than 100 meters in size.

NEO's have collided with Earth in the past, wreaking devastation. The
Chicxulub crater off the north coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula was
created by an Earth-colliding meteor 65 million years ago, generating a
global catastrophe that many scientists believe led to the extinction of the
dinosaurs. Visit the Planetary Society's website at http://planetary.org to
read field diaries from a 2001 expedition to Belize to search for evidence
of the Chicxulub impact.

Eros, the asteroid on which the NEAR spacecraft is scheduled to land next
week, is an NEO.

THE GENE SHOEMAKER NEO GRANTS

Gene Shoemaker was a leader in the study of impact structures and an
advocate for NEO discovery and tracking programs before his death in 1997.
Shoemaker was one of the first scientists to demonstrate that the mile-wide
crater in Arizona -- now known as Meteor Crater -- was the result of an
impact by an asteroid 50,000 years ago. Prior to Shoemaker's work, Meteor
Crater was believed to be the remnant of an extinct volcano.

The Gene Shoemaker NEO Grants are awarded to amateur observers, observers in
developing countries, and professional astronomers who, with seed funding,
could greatly increase their programs' contributions to this critical
research.

Funding for the Gene Shoemaker NEO Grant program comes from the Planetary
Society's 100,000 members, whose voluntary dues and donations permit
targeted support of research and development programs in a number of areas.

An international advisory group recommends candidates to receive the grant
awards. The advisory group includes grant coordinator Daniel D. Durda, as
well as noted near-Earth object scientists Andrea Carusi, IAS Planetologia;
Alan Harris, Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Brian Marsden, Smithsonian
Astrophysical Observatory; Alain Maury, Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur;
Syuichi Nakano, Japan; and Jorge Sahade, Argentina.

-o0o-

CONTACT INFORMATION:
For more information, contact Susan Lendroth at (626) 793-5100 or by e-mail
at susan.lendroth@planetary.org.

THE PLANETARY SOCIETY:
Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in
1980 to advance the exploration of the solar system and to continue the
search for extraterrestrial life. With 100,000 members in over 140
countries, the Society is the largest space interest group in the world.

ATTACHMENT:
The Planetary Society Gene Shoemaker Grant Recipients for 2000

Cristovao Jacques
Belo Horizonte
BRAZIL
The Planetary Society is awarding a Gene Shoemaker NEO grant for $7,900 to
Cristovao Jacques with the Wykrota Observatory near Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
A local astronomy club founded this observatory in 1998. They began with a
Meade LX-200 12-inch f/10 telescope for their NEO observations. They now
have a 25-inch telescope, a second Meade LX-200 12-inch telescope, and a
4-inch refractor. The two Meade telescopes are dedicated entirely to NEO
research. The observatory will use the grant money to purchase two CCD
cameras.

Jana Ticha
CZECH REPUBLIC
The Planetary Society is awarding a Gene Shoemaker NEO grant for $6,000 to
Jana Ticha with the Klet Observatory in the Czech Republic. The Klet
Observatory is a small professional observatory that has been using a 0.57
meter telescope and CCD camera to do CCD astrometry of NEOs. They are now in
the process of constructing a 1 meter telescope. The grant money will be
used to finish the optical system of the new telescope.

Herman Mikuz
SLOVENIA
The Planetary Society is awarding a Gene Shoemaker NEO grant for $7,300, to
Herman Mikuz with the Crni Vrh Observatory to help complete the construction
of a new 0.6 meter telescope. The Crni Vrh Observatory is a privately owned
observatory in Slovenia that has had a regular observing
program since 1985. In 1997, it began an asteroid observation program. The
Observatory has been using a 0.36 meter telescope with a CCD camera and
filter wheel to conduct their NEO research. They are now planning to upgrade
their observing program with a 0.6 meter telescope. The Shoemaker Grant will
also help to fund their ambitious project.

David Dixon
UNITED STATES
The Planetary Society is awarding a Gene Shoemaker NEO grant for $7,300 to
David Dixon with the Jornada Observatory, an amateur observatory in Las
Cruces, New Mexico, United States. With his grant money, Mr. Dixon will
upgrade the observatory's current CCD camera to a larger CCD chip, thus
increasing the sensitivity of the telescope. In addition, the grant is
providing the funds necessary to automate the observatory's dome.

Tabare Gallardo
URUGUAY
The Planetary Society is awarding a Gene Shoemaker NEO grant for $5,000 to
Tabare Gallardo with the Los Molinos Astronomical Observatory, located just
north of Montevideo, Uruguay. Students from a local university and area
amateur astronomers use the observatory's 0.35 meter telescope to scan the
southern skies for NEOs. The observatory also has an educational program set
up for middle and high school students as well as an outreach program for
the general public. The observatory will use the grant money to replace
their broken CCD camera and purchase a filter wheel.


The Planetary Society
65 N. Catalina Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91106-2301
Tel:  (626) 793-5100
Fax:  (626) 793-5528
E-Mail:  tps@planetary.org
 
============================
* LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR *
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(9) EARTH MOVING SUGGESTION HAS SIGNIFICANT POTENTIAL FOR PHO DEFLECTION

From Joe H Frisbee <Joe.H.Frisbee@USAHQ.UnitedSpaceAlliance.com>

Dr. Peiser,

The recently published suggestion for moving the Earth in response to solar
evolution may or may not have significant potential for realization.
However, it does open the door for a possible method of PHO deflection. Most
proposals for risk mitigation involve a direct approach using high
(nuclear) or low (solar, mass driver, etc.) energy transfer methods. Perhaps
a better way, which I have been thinking about for some time, is to use a
much smaller asteroidal objects as a deflection mass.

Either through direct impact or fly by, relatively significant (for the
deflection problem at least) changes in velocity could be achieved by moving
fairly small objects into intercept trajectories. Having such a body
naturally placed is not likely so to have a workable system it would be
necessary to preposition and maintain several objects at various locations
(Earth-Sun Lagrangian points perhaps). Such a process might be the only way
to deflect the larger objects.  Since just about any change in velocity
would alter the collision outcome the targeting requirements might not be as
stringent as for other more direct means of deflection. It might be possible
to loosely target a direct impact, with a low probability of impact, and
count on the near miss to deflect the object away from its original,
impacting course.

Joseph H. Frisbee, Jr.

United Space Alliance, USH-483L
Debris Avoidance and Collision Probability Analysis
600 Gemini
Houston, TX  77058

WkPh      281.282.2816
WkFax     281.282.4826
email     joe.h.frisbee@usahq.unitedspacealliance.com

The contents of this message reflect the opinions of the writer and are
intended to represent the position of United Space Alliance or the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration

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(10) RECIPE FOR STARTING LIFE: MOVE IT

From Pat McNulty <StackGenerator@cs.com>

Benny,


If Europa was closer to Jupiter would the ice melt? Here was an interesting
Article That I read. Maybe by moving a cold body closer to an energy source
the ice would melt and turn to water and give a boost to the probability of
life occurring. The exact opposite of this article. That movie
Water World might happen one day. GOTO:
http://space.com/scienceastronomy/planetearth/earth_move_010207.html

 

                        Thanks

                          Pat McNulty

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(11) RECIPE FOR SAVING EARTH

From <Stephen Ashworth> sa@astronist.demon.co.uk>

Dear Dr Peiser,

According to Don Korycansky, Gregory Laughlin and Fred Adams (with further
comment by Matthew Genge), one can envisage the Earth being saved from solar
overheating in about a billion years time by moving its orbit outwards from
the sun (CCNet 23/2001 - 8 February 2001).

Just to put this in context, we should consider that, if engineering on such
a scale becomes possible, then the expectations of the space visionaries
(including myself) will have been realised, and civilisation will have
become a galactic rather than a one-planetary phenomenon.
Therefore, long before the year one billion A.D., the vast majority of our
descendents (who will resemble us even less than we resemble the early
Cambrian creatures of the Burgess Shale) may neither know nor care which of
the billions of stars in their galaxy warms the planet on which intelligent
life once began and which was the cradle of technological panspermia.

Stephen Ashworth
Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society
Oxford, UK
10 February 2001 -- 32nd Apollo Anniversary Year

=========
(12) MORE CLARIFICATIONS BY VADIM SIMONENKO

From Vadim A. Simonenko  <sva@sva.ch70.chel.su >

Dear Dr. Peiser,

Thank you for publishing my answer so quickly regarding Mr. Crouch's
questions of February 6 (L1 for references). There were several additional
remarks of Mr. Crouch in the CCNet issue of February 8 (L2 for references),
which impelled me to give some summary and additional explanations to
achieve better understanding. I am happy that on the basis of previous
explanations there was achieved a mutual understanding for the major part of
points touched in L1. However, I feel that there is need to give a short
resume for the main points of mutual understanding and more extended
comments for the points, which still remains unclear.   

1. There is no any technology ready now to prevent any space impact of
Tunguska-type through moderate-global-scale to K/T-type of objects.

2. There is a realistic technological background to develop (for about ten
years) the technologies with limited opportunities for space impact
prevention based on use of nuclear explosive devices. These technologies can
be developed and improved during subsequent several tens of years to provide
reliable protection against the most probable space impacts.

3. The protection technologies should be different for different kind of
impacts.

4. For the moderate global-scale impactors (of kilometer(s) size), which can
and should be discovered with several years warning time, the technology of
orbit correction should be applied. It will be necessary to study the
properties of threaten object and use them to choose the specific, most
reliable and efficient scheme of explosive transfer of momentum to correct
the orbit.

5. For local- and regional scale objects it should chosen the technology
based on discovery the threaten impactor on the stage of final approach to
the Earth (it is impossible now to discover all the threaten objects of
these types). To neutralize this threat the technology  of destruction and
dispersion of threaten object should be applied. For this purpose it is
necessary to have the permanent-on-duty system consisting, at least, of two
large subsystems (1) means of observation for reliable discovery of threaten
object on sufficient distance (several million kilometers) from the Earth,
(2) space delivery and targeting of means of  monitoring and protection
(nuclear explosive device(s)).

6. Non of nuclear weapons available in existed nuclear arsenals can be used
directly for space protection purposes. In the best case it can be used
physical package of some of them. However, for the most probable cases there
should be used new types of physical packages better adjusted for new
applications.

7. Comet-impact-prevention system should be more complex in comparison with
the systems, which were described for antiasteroid moderate-global scale and
local/regional scale protection. It should be able to discover threaten
comets with 2-3 (better more) years warning time. It should have
ready-for-launch exploratory space missions to study the potentially
threaten comet directly. It should include also the threat-comet-termination
subsystem with rather powerful and developed array of nuclear explosive
devices. The more probably that the decision to launch this subsystem will
be made without of final information about the threat and comet properties.
So, the mitigation system should allow to choose during the stage of
delivery the specific scheme and to have the ability implement it for
explosive transfer of energy and momentum to correct the comet orbit.

8. The most complicated problem will be the K/T-type-objects (10 km or more)
impact prevention. However, it looks possible for new generations of people
to extend and develop the early mentioned approaches for such objects both
of comet and asteroid types.

9. The general notions about the terminology. Taking into account the global
international scale of the space threat and impact prevention, I guess, it
is very important to use an agreed terminology independently on specific
peculiarities of different languages. It is really difficult to use correct
words, spelling templates or grammatical constructions in foreign language.
So, each time when I personally try to explain some of ideas in English I
have fear do not be able to deliver some of them as clear as I like, or
expect to have some of them to be totally distorted. Beside that for the
native speaking people it is very difficult to percept seriously even an
interesting and new thoughts if they were delivered on wrong language (even
with minor distortions). So, there are some psychological obstacles and not
only of  the types that were mentioned before.
 
However, we should use the correct terminology. In this respect I do not
believe that it's correct to use word "chaotic" in application to long
periodic or parabolic comets or even fragments of asteroids and comets. Yes,
their appearance and orbit parameters are not predictable. However, they
have the definite orbits (being in their clouds or during their intrusion
into inner part of the Solar system) even if the non-gravitational forces
are essential. Nobody use the word "chaotic" in application to the motion of
electrons in the atom though it is accepted a totally probabilistic
terminology to describe the electron and/or atom behavior. Even, if the
orbit parameters of the space objects we are discussing here are not known,
their motion is definite in the solar system and it is the reason why we
have the chance to win in our intention to prevent space impacts.
 
There were chaotic stages for solar system objects evolution. E.g.,
first-generation planetesimals in the protoplanetary disc could have
essential chaotic components of their momentum (in addition to Kepler
motion), which were caused by mutual collisions. The chaotic components
could be also adherent to multiple asteroid fragments during the initial
stage of their origin, when they were formed  in mutual collisions of
asteroids. However, after the spreading far from the body of origin their
mutual collisions become very rare. Their motion becomes governed by
gravitation with correction of small forces like solar-wind-drag and light
pressure and so becomes regular and predictable in principle.
 
Even for Oort cloud objects which positions and orbits are totally unknown
now it looks preferable to use approach with distribution of objects'
parameters in rather definite area of the object-orbits phase space and to
develop the expectation theories for long-term comet-wave intrusion
forecast.

Yes, nobody can predict now the global-scale (GS) or local/region-scale
(L/RS) asteroid collisions. However, for GS ones we can expect to reach such
opportunity with good confidence during the next ten years. In this case and
for this type of objects there will be definite forecast. For small L/RS
objects taking into account a large amount of them and current restrictions
for registration technology, it looks impossible now to have a complete
catalog though it is possible that 100-200 years later the essential part of
largest L/RS objects, the most dangerous of them, will be analogized with
the help of ground- and space-based observations.
 
There is no evidence now to expect definite forecast for long-period comets.
So, comet-impact-prevention system should be developed (similar to described
earlier) with account of their appearance random in time and directions,
which looks similar to chaotic but is not the same on the essence.

10. I agree with the thought that the defense should be overwhelming. But in
the beginning it will be deficient. In the initial point, that is now, we
have total deficiency of the defense. Each subsequent step in the defense
system construction will decrease the deficiency. The questions are in the
way and the rate for the system development, which would be acceptable for
the community and the most efficient for the implementation.

11. As for the intention to "disperse our species and transport the
symbiotic life that is essential to our existence", I guess it takes much
more time than it is necessary for even overwhelming space defense
development though I hope there is such prospect for human civilization.
However, as we can conclude now basing on current knowledge of Solar System,
the planet of our origin, in spite of various expected catastrophes and
environment evolution, for a long time, will be the best place in the
Universe for the human civilization and we should defend it and ourselves.
The civilization space-expansion will be and can be based on the
technologies developed and implemented for space defense. The next probable
technological step space can be asteroids and comets  resources use to
provide "soft implantation" of human technologies and infrastructure into
sensible environment of the Moon and other planets. The steroid or comet
chosen for resources will be exhausted as it happens now with ore deposits
on the Earth. In some sense, exactly the space between the objects provides
an environmental protection of other objects in this scenario of
technological mastering of the Space. Even in case of favorable development
it'll take several hundred years. During this time the Earth will be
essential for civilization expansion. The ability for independent existence
of human civilization clones on other planets can be expected of about a
thousand years later. And even after that the Earth for a long time (at
least of about 10000 years) still continue to be the most comfortable place
for people. So they should defend it at least during this time and we should
start it now.

Vadim A. Simonenko

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