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Date sent: Fri, 06 Mar 1998 13:17:21 -0500 (EST)
From: Benny J Peiser B.J.PEISER@livjm.ac.uk
Subject: CC DIGEST, 06/03/98
To: cambridge-conference@livjm.ac.uk
Priority: NORMAL

CAMBRIDGE-CONFERENCE DIGEST, 6 MARCH 1998
-----------------------------------------

(1) CONGRATULATIONS - DON YEOMANS TO LEAD U.S. SCIENCE TEAM ON
ASTEROID LANDER MISSION
Ron Baalke BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov

(2) NEO News (3/5/98)
David Morrison dmorrison@mail.arc.nasa.gov

(3) ASTEROIDS III
Tom Gehrels tgehrels@LPL.Arizona.EDU

(4) ONCE MORE ON THE LOU FRANK MINI-COMETS
Al Harris awharris@lithos.jpl.nasa.gov

=======================================================
(1) CONGRATULATIONS - DON YEOMANS TO LEAD U.S. SCIENCE TEAM ON
ASTEROID LANDER MISSION

From: Ron Baalke BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov

MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov

Contact: Mary Beth Murrill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 5, 1998

YEOMANS TO LEAD U.S. SCIENCE TEAM ON ASTEROID LANDER MISSION

Astronomer Dr. Donald K. Yeomans has been named project scientist
for the NASA portion of a joint U.S.-Japanese mission that will be
the first ever to send a lander and robotic rover to an asteroid,
and return an asteroid sample back to Earth.

Yeomans is a senior research scientist at JPL and supervisor of the
Laboratory's Solar System Dynamics Group, which is responsible for
tracking all the planets, natural satellites, comets and asteroids
in the solar system. He specializes in identifying the orbital paths
of comets, asteroids and other bodies. Yeomans will lead the work of
the U.S. science team in utilizing the scientific instruments on the
tiny book-size rover being built at JPL for the asteroid lander
mission, which is called MUSES-C. The U.S. and Japanese science
teams will collaborate on the analysis of scientific data returned
by the spacecraft, including work on the asteroid sample that
will be brought back to Earth.

Scheduled for launch from Kagoshima, Japan on a Japanese M5 rocket
in January 2002, MUSES-C will be the world's first asteroid sample
return mission and will be the first space flight demonstration of
several new technologies. "MUSES-C" stands for Mu Space Engineering
Spacecraft (the "C" signifies that it is the third in a series). It
is part of a series of flight technology and science missions
managed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of Japan
(ISAS). NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, is
managing the U.S. portion of the mission. Ross M. Jones is the
project manager at JPL.

Asteroid 4660 Nereus, a small, near-Earth asteroid nearly one mile
in diameter, is the target of the MUSES-C mission that will set a
lander down on the asteroid's surface, let loose a miniature rover
to gather photos of the terrain, and collect and return to Earth
three samples from the asteroid's surface. The lander and sample
return vehicles are provided by Japan and the rover is being
provided by JPL. All three vehicles will be combined as one package
for flight to the asteroid.

Asteroids are thought to be remnants of the material from which the
inner solar system was formed 4.6 billion years ago. They are
representative of the fundamental building blocks that coalesced
into the terrestrial planets -- Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.
Scientists want to study asteroids because of the clues these small
bodies may hold to the origin and evolution of the solar system.
Eventually, metal-rich asteroids could also serve as resources for
space mining and human exploration.

Yeomans is well-known for his precise orbit determinations of solar
system objects. He provided the accurate position predictions that
led to the first telescope sighting of comet Halley on its return
visit to the inner solar system in 1982. He provided the predictions
that led to the successful flybys of five international spacecraft
past comet Halley in March 1986. Yeomans also provided the position
predictions for asteroids 951 Gaspra and 243 Ida that helped the
Galileo spacecraft to make the first close-up images of an asteroid.
More recently, he worked with Dr. Paul Chodas, also of JPL, to
provide the accurate predictions for the impacts of comet
Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in July 1994. Yeomans is currently a
science investigator on a NASA mission to fly past three different
comets. He is also the radio science team chief for NASA's
Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission, a spacecraft headed
for an encounter with the asteroid Eros.

Yeomans has been given seven NASA awards including an Exceptional
Service Medal in 1986. In addition, he was presented with a Space
Achievement Award by the American Institute of Aeronautics and
Astronautics, an award of appreciation by the Goddard Space Flight
Center, Greenbelt, MD. Asteroid 2956 was re-named 2956 in Yeomans'
honor. He has authored four books and more than 80 technical papers
on comets and asteroids.

A native of Rochester, NY, Yeomans received his bachelor's degree in
mathematics in 1964 from Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT, and a
master's degree in 1967 and doctorate in astronomy in 1970 from the
University of Maryland. Yeomans and his wife, Laurie, have two adult
children and reside in La Canada-Flintridge, CA

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.

====================================
(2) NEO NEWS

From: David Morrison dmorrison@mail.arc.nasa.gov

NEO News (3/5/98)

Friends:

You have probably heard that Lunar Prospector has discovered water
ice near the lunar poles. The numbers are rough, but the lower limit
for the total ice content is roughly 10 million tons. I think Gene
Shoemaker would be pleased.

David Morrison

======================================
(3) FROM TOM GEHRELS:
tgehrels@LPL.Arizona.EDU

Dear Colleagues,

The Space Science Series began in 1974 and has produced 28 books on
topics in the planetary sciences and in the formation of stars and
planets. The books are not ephemeral proceedings to conferences.
Instead, they are composed of reviews by teams of collaborating
authors, and they serve as reference works for established
researchers and as thorough introductions for young scientists
entering a given field. The last three books are on Cosmic Winds,
Venus, and Pluto. "Protostars and Planets IV" is well on the way,
with a conference this July; for more information contact Vince
Mannings: vgm@astro.caltech.edu

The purpose of this message is to seek your response to a project
for an "Asteroids III" book and conference. The previous
"Asteroids II" is nine years old and many changes have come,
including three asteroid flybys and the upcoming first rendezvous.
January 1, 2001 is the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Ceres
by Piazzi at Palermo and our proposal is that the conference be
held on that date in the vicinity of Palermo. The book should
rapidly follow the conference with a 2001 publication date.

Below are a series of questions regarding our Asteroids-III
proposal. One of the questions is to take a poll on the date.
Perhaps you would not want to travel to a conference at the end of
December, just a few days after Christmas, and miss out on spending
New Year's day at home. We could do it in July 2001; there are no
classes for faculty in July.

Thank you.
Tom Gehrels

---------- Please reply to tgehrels@LPL.Arizona.EDU --------------

1. Do you see a need for a new book "Asteroids III" to replace or
update the previous volume?

2. Would you be willing to write (or contribute to) a chapter for
this new volume? What topic - title? (Your answer is
non-binding.
Participation in the conference is not required for
participation in the book.)

3. Would you prefer the January 1 date?
Or July 2001?

4---------4---------4---------4---------4---------4---------4---------4

(4) ONCE MORE ON THE LOU FRANK MINI-COMETS (FROM AL HARRIS)

On the Optical Detectability of Mini-Comets

A. W. Harris (JPL, Caltech)
J. V. Scotti (LPL, U. of Arizona)

Based on recent Polar satellite observations, Frank and Sigwarth
(GRL 24 2423--2426, 1997) have renewed their earlier claim (Frank
and Sigwarth, Rev. Geophys. 31, 1--28, 1993) that the Earth's upper
atmosphere is being pelted by icy ''mini-comets'' at the rate of
$\sim $20/minute. Taking orbital statistics for these putative
bodies as proposed by Frank and Sigwarth, and intrinsic brightness
as given by Yeates (Planet. Space Sci. 37, 1185--1196), based on his
claimed detection of these bodies with an early version of the
Spacewatch camera, we have estimated the expected rate of discovery
by the present Spacewatch camera in its normal scanning operations.
As Frank and Sigwarth have pointed out, objects viewed at opposition
with sidereal rate tracking would be too badly trailed for
detection, but we find that beginning only $\sim $30$^{\circ }$ off
of the opposition direction some objects should be moving slow
enough for successful detection. From our numerical model and a
review of the actual Spacewatch observing logs, we find that $\sim
$2000 of these objects should have been discovered by Spacewatch in
the past 7+ years of scanning. Instead not a single object
resembling the putative Lou A. Frank Objects (LAFOs) has been
detected, Thus we conclude that any real population of such objects
is at most 10$^{-3}$ that required by Frank and Sigwarth, and
that the Yeates observations must have been spurious, likely
instrumental noise and artifacts, as long claimed by the Spacewatch
investigators. We further note that the claimed detections by Yeates
correspond to objects nearly an order of magnitude ($\sim $2.25
astronomical magnitudes) fainter than the diameter and albedo (10 m
and 0.02) often cited by Frank and Sigwarth. For such brighter
objects, the rate of Spacewatch detections would be more than 100
times greater than the above estimate.

At closer distances, down to the putative altitude of breakup (above
1,000 km), the proposed mini-comets should be easily visible in the
evening sky for a couple hours after dark, by eye with only modest
optical aid. In large binoculars, they should be visible up to
magnitude 8--9 or brighter (at a typical range of $\sim$3000 km), at
a rate of about one per 40 minutes of viewing. A very large amateur
telescope (10''--20'' aperture) should reveal objects in the
magnitude range 11 -- 13, at ranges up to 25,000 km, at a rate of
more than one per 10 minutes of viewing. While such a population of
objects might arguably be concealed by the present population of
Earth-orbiting space debris, it could not have gone unnoticed to
telescopic observers in the decades, even centuries, prior to the
space age.

--------------------------------
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