PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet DIGEST, 8 March 1999
--------------------------

     QUOTE OF THE DAY

     "The United Nations is organising the biggest financial aid
     package to Germany since the end of the second world war.
     However, efforts are being hampered by global currency turmoil.
     Ever since news broke, world markets have been in freefall,
     unable to cope with the loss of such an important financial
     centre and with rumours that the insurance bill for rebuilding
     the city could reach E$10,000 billion." (THE SUNDAY TIMES
     CHRONICLE OF THE FUTURE, 7 March 1999)



(1) GOD COMES OUT IN SUPPORT OF EURO-SCEPTICS: SUNDAY TIMES
    PREDICT IMPACT DISASTER OVER BANK OF EUROPE IN 2031
    THE SUNDAY TIMES CHRONICLE OF THE FUTURE, 7 March 1999

(2) NEAR EARTH OBJECTS DYNAMIC SITE (NEODyS)
    Andrea Milani Comparetti <milani@copernico.dm.unipi.it>

(3) NASA/JPL's NEO PROGRAMME OFFICE HOME PAGE RELEASED
    Ron Baalke <BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov>

(4) ROBONET: GLOBAL NETWORK OF ROBOTIC TELESCOPES
    Michael F. Bode <mfb@astro.livjm.ac.uk>

(5) THE LIVERPOOL TELESCOPE
    http://www.livjm.ac.uk/astro/

(6) LIFT OFF: LIVERPOOL'S ANSWER TO CAPE CANAVERAL
    BBC News Online

(7) HERE COMES THE SUN
    FLORIDA TODAY, 8 March 1999

(8) NASA HOSTS 30TH LUNAR AND PLANETARY SCIENCE CONFERENCE IN
    HOUSTON
    Ron Baalke <BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov>

==================
(1) GOD COMES OUT IN SUPPORT OF EURO-SCEPTICS: SUNDAY TIMES PREDICT
    IMPACT DISASTER OVER BANK OF EUROPE IN 2031

From THE SUNDAY TIMES CHRONICLE OF THE FUTURE, 7 March 1999
http://www.chronicle-future.co.uk

COMET CATASTROPHE

18.08.2031

The German nation was in mourning yesterday after a comet fragment hit
the city of Frankfurt. The death toll is expected to exceed 100,000. A
swath of surrounding countryside was flattened by the explosion of a
fragment of comet the size of a terrace of houses. 'It's far worse than
Hiroshima,' says Dag Tegmark, director-general of Uni-Aid. The comet
fragment was first spotted by spy sattelites in low-Earth orbit.
However, its speed was so great - estimates put it between 250,000 and
290,000kmh - that there was no possibility of issuing a useful warning.

People accross a large area of western Europe reported a blinding blue
fireball ripping through the sky before the comet fragment disintegrated
at an altitude of 9.5km. The sound of the blast, estimated to be
equivalent to a 10-megaton bomb, was heard as far away as London, Rome
and Moscow.

The United Nations is organising the biggest financial aid package to
Germany since the end of the second world war. However, efforts are
being hampered by global currency turmoil. Ever since news broke, world
markets have been in freefall, unable to cope with the loss of such an
important financial centre and with rumours that the insurance bill for
rebuilding the city could reach E$10,000 billion.

Copyright 1999, The Sunday Times

==================
(2) NEAR EARTH OBJECTS DYNAMIC SITE (NEODyS)

From Andrea Milani Comparetti <milani@copernico.dm.unipi.it>

Dear Benny,

I have just sent out an announcement, which you should also have
received, on a new NEO information service. I would like to ask your
help in advertising it. This not only because we of course would
like to have recognition of our work, but also because this kind of
transparency (glasnost) is essential in this business. If the people
not belonging to the rather exclusive club of specialists of orbit
determination get the impression that they are not being informed,
on an issue as critical as the orbits of the NEO (and their close
approaches to the Earth), the credibility of the scientific
community as a whole could be undermined, and this is a more subtle
but very dangerous version of the crying wolf story.

Thus I would like to underline the political point we are making, in
giving free and immediate access to all data, including the source
data (observations), the intermediate results (such as the residuals
of the observations best fit), the final results (orbits, close
approaches), the algorithms (documented in papers at least submitted
for publications and available as preprints), and the software used
in the computations, (which is free, as in the last week
announcement). All this is updated daily, accessible on internet
with a supposedly user friendly interface (to be improved, as it is
always the case, but good enough to begin) for everybody to look at,
and check, and redo our computations, and criticize whatever small
thing we might have forgotten. I do not want to be the only one to
do these computations: I would be scared by the responsability this
implies. Even less, however, I would accept that someone else claims
that he knows better and should be the only one allowed to do them. 

Yours Andrea Milani

Dipartimento di Matematica
Via Buonarroti 2
56127 PISA ITALY
tel. +39-050-844254 fax +39-050-844224
E-mail: milani@dm.unipi.it
WWW: http://virmap.unipi.it/~milani/homemilani.html

----------------
NEAR EARTH OBJECTS DYNAMIC SITE (NEODyS)

From Andrea Milani Comparetti <milani@copernico.dm.unipi.it> wrote:

ANNOUNCEMENT: Near Earth Objects Dynamic Site (NEODyS)

An online information system for near-Earth objects

WHERE:  http://newton.dm.unipi.it/neodys

The Near-Earth Object Dynamics Site (NEODyS) is a new online
information service for near-Earth asteroids (NEA's). At its core,
NEODyS is a database of orbital and observational information for
each NEA; however, the distinguishing feature of the system is the
degree to which the information is made available on the World Wide
Web.

In NEODyS every NEA has its own "home page" containing sections
devoted to the object's orbit, observations, planetary close
encounters, additional services, and physical information. The
orbital information includes the keplerian elements with
uncertainties, the absolute magnitude, minimum orbital intersection
distance (MOID), nodal distances, period, etc. The observational
section provides a summary of the objects observations, including
error statistics, arc length, and outlier rejections. Further
hyperlinks lead to pages with all of the observations used to
compute the orbit, along with important information such as
residuals, weights, and outlier rejections.

One of the most valuable features of the system is the database
query facility. One may of course look up an asteroid by name or
number, but it is also possible to search for all asteroids
possessing some desired orbital characteristics. This makes it easy,
for example, to find all of the asteroids which are large enough to
be hazardous, and can come close to the Earth, yet are effectively
lost.

On each object's home page any planetary close approaches along the
nominal orbit during the period 1975-2075 are listed. This
information is also searchable permitting one to find, as another
example, all the objects that come with in 0.05 AU of the Earth
during the next ten years.

NEODyS provides services to the observer in the form of standard
ephemeris as well as a graphical observation prediction. The
observation prediction provides a graphical depiction of the
uncertainty region on the celestial sphere, including nonlinear
effects, which can be of paramount importance in the recovery of
lost or nearly lost objects.

The database is automatically updated on a daily basis as new
observations are released from the Minor Planet Center. All of the
data files needed to reproduce the NEODyS results are freely
available, even the OrbFit software used for orbit determination
(at http://copernico.dm.unipi.it/orbfit.html ).

The system is being upgraded and improved continously, comments and
suggestions are welcome. NEODyS has been created, and is being
maintained, by A. Milani and S. Chesley Department of Mathematics,
University of Pisa, Italy.

=================
(3) NASA/JPL's NEO PROGRAMME OFFICE HOME PAGE RELEASED

From Ron Baalke <BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov>

Forwarded from Don Yeomans, Near-Earth Object Program Manager

The Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory is pleased to announce the availability of its Internet
website:

http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov 

The information on this site is comprehensive and up-to-date.  A
table of so-called Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) gives, for
the next 100 years, the times and close approach distances along
with their associated uncertainties, the minimum possible close
approach distances and Earth impact probabilities. This table, which
is updated on a daily basis, contains more than 375 PHA close Earth
approaches to within 0.2 AU. Interactive features on this web site
allow users to generate their own tables of comet and asteroid
positions and orbital elements and check for unknown objects in
their fields of view.  In addition, there is extensive information
on Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) including the operational NEO discovery
teams and the ongoing and planned spacecraft missions to comets and
asteroids (with links to their web sites).  There is a section on
recent NEO news, frequently asked questions, definitions, essays
upon the importance of NEOs, images of comets, asteroids, impact
craters, and meteorites, as well as more than 30 links to other
relevant international web sites.

=================
(4) ROBONET: GLOBAL NETWORK OF ROBOTIC TELESCOPES

From Michael F. Bode <mfb@astro.livjm.ac.uk>

Hi Benny,

I thought that you and your colleagues on your newsletter
circulation might be interested in a project that is expecting a
decision on funding this week.

ROBONET is a global network of 6 robotic telescopes (the Liverpool
Telescope which is already funded being one) to be used for general
astronomy in the "time domain" (i.e. involving rapid response to
targets of opportunity, systematic monitoring of objects for
significant times, simultaneous observations with space-borne
observatories etc). Part of its programme would undoubtedly be
observations of comets and asteroids and it might be a model for
SPACEGUARD-type facilities in the future. The bid is for Joint
Infrastructure Fund monies and is led by Prof Keith Horne at St
Andrews. 17 UK universities are in the consortium, including
JMU.

Further info can be found at
http://star-www.st-and.ac.uk/~kdh1/jifpage.html (including an
animation of ROBONET in action and a standard letter of support).

If you could publicise ROBONET to your colleagues as soon as
possible, that would be excellent. If they are minded to write a
note of support to Prof Ian Halliday (Chief Exec of the Particle
Physics and Astronomy Research Council - ian_halliday@pparc.ac.uk)
copied to Prof Arnold Wolfendale who will chair the panel that will
prioritise bids for the Joint Infrastructure Fund this Wednesday
(11th) that would be very helpful (probably best to request copy to
Wolfendale be forwarded by Prof Halliday at this stage). A draft
letter is on the web page.

Our feeling is that currently the ROBONET bid is lower profile with
the panel than competing large projects and we would like to redress
the balance a little if at all possible.

All the best,

Mike

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Professor Michael F. Bode             | email: mfb@astro.livjm.ac.uk
Head of Astrophysics                  | Tel:   +44 (0)151-231 2920
Liverpool John Moores University      |
Astrophysics Research Institute       |                0976 313770
Twelve Quays House                    | FAX:   +44 (0)151-231 2921
Egerton Wharf                         | WWW: www.livjm.ac.uk/astro/
Birkenhead L41 1LD                    |
United Kingdom                        |

===================================
(5) THE LIVERPOOL TELESCOPE

From http://www.livjm.ac.uk/astro/

JMU's Astrophysics Research Institute is currently building the
world's largest robotic telescope. Details of the Liverpool
Telescope and its manufacturer, TTL, can be found at:
http://www.livjm.ac.uk/astro/.

Research Access

The Liverpool Telescope will be the world's largest robotic
telescope. It is currently being manufactured by a subsidiary
company of Liverpool John Moores University, Telescope Technologies
Ltd. Agreement has been reached with the CCI and the IAC that the
telescope will be sited on La Palma. The position of the telescope
at the ORM observatory will be "down the hill" from the INT. The
scientific goals of the Liverpool Telescope are:

Monitoring of variable objects on all timescales from years to
seconds 

Rapid reaction to unpredictable phenomena and their systematic
follow up. 

Simultaneous or coordinated with other facilities, both ground based
and from space. 

Small scale surveys and serendipitous source follow up

In addition we will be promoting educational and Public
Understanding of Science use of the telescope.

MORE INFORMATION at http://www.livjm.ac.uk/astro/

==============================
(6) LIFT OFF: LIVERPOOL'S ANSWER TO CAPE CANAVERAL

From the BBC News Online
http://news.bbc.co.uk

Rocket man's dreams take off
 
One of the UK's leading amateur rocketeers has successfully launched his
latest craft. Steve Bennett watched his four-metre (14ft) Tempest climb
high into the sky over Merseyside just after 10:15GMT on Friday. The
50lb rocket took a little under 20 seconds to reach an altitude of
around 900 metres (3,000 ft) - a ceiling imposed for air safety reasons
- before returning safely to Earth by parachute.

It landed on the sands by the River Mersey. The launch brought loud
cheers from supporters and sponsors watching the blast-off on the Altcar
Military Range near Hightown, north of Liverpool.

"It has done exactly what it was meant to do, so I am very, very happy,"
Mr Bennett said after the launch. "My space dream is no longer pie in
the sky.

Steve Bennett: Countdown to a dream

"I have dreamt about moments like this for all my life and this is what
keeps me going through all the difficult times when I can't even get
someone to give me a tin of paint to finish the rocket."

The launch was a test flight for a bigger rocket that will blast-off
later in the year.

Future flights

It is just 12 months since Mr Bennett's 70,000 Starchaser 3 rocket
crashed in flames on a Dartmoor military range.
  
Tempest cost a more modest 6,000. It was packed with Salford University
physics students' experiments. They will provide the invaluable
information on the materials, parachutes and computers that will
eventually be used on the next Starchaser.

"We'll be launching that to an altitude of 36,000 metres (120,000ft).

"It's a three-stage reusable rocket. It's got a large payload area so
we'll be putting a lot of experiments on board.

"We are going to try out a variety of concepts for a satellite launch
vehicle we are working on."

The Starchaser is likely to be launched in America - probably in the
Black Rock desert.

Professional approach

The former sugar worker with Tate and Lyle has attempted to put his
organisation on to a more professional footing by forming his 26-man
team into a limited company.

There is a $10m (6.25m) prize on offer from a foundation for the first
non-governmental body to launch three people 100 km (60 miles) into
space. The university lecturer believes he is now well on course to
claim the prize.

"We are looking for cheap access to space - especially for the UK," he
said.

"There is a lot of money to made in launching small satellites and,
indeed, there are a lot of people wanting to take day trips into space.
We're going to cash-in on that."

A delighted Mrs Bennett, who was at the Altcar range to see the
successful launch of Tempest, said she was sure her husband would want
to be the one on board the rocket which went for the ultimate prize.

"He's not the nutter people make him out to be," she said. "He would
have to make sure it worked. We will have to see who goes up, but I
suppose it is his ultimate dream."

Copyright 1999, BBC
===========================
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_292000/292522.stm

==============
(7) HERE COMES THE SUN

From FLORIDA TODAY, 8 March 1999
http://www.flatoday.com/space/today/030899b.htm

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The dreaded Y2K computer bug hasn't even arrived
and already there's something else to worry about: Solar storms.

It seems this year - or next - is likely to bring the onset of another
two years of sun storms called the solar maximum. The electromagnetic
storms occur every 11 years or so, and can cause serious problems in
orbiting satellites, and in power grids and other sensitive technology
on Earth.

FULL STORY at
http://www.flatoday.com/space/today/030899b.htm

================
(8) NASA HOSTS 30TH LUNAR AND PLANETARY SCIENCE CONFERENCE IN
    HOUSTON

From Ron Baalke <BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov>

March 4, 1999
Laura Rochon
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Release: J99-6

Special "Planetary Scientists Meet the Press" Workshop set for March
14

New evidence regarding the possibility that an ocean once existed on
Mars will be among this year's topics of interest at the 30th Annual
Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC), March 15-19. The
conference, which is chaired by Carl B. Agee and David C. Black,
will be held at Johnson Space Center's Gilruth Center and the
University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL).

The "Planetary Scientists Meet the Press" workshop at the Lunar and
Planetary Institute (LPI) on Sunday, March 14 will kick off the
week's activities. The workshop will bring together scientists and
journalists to foster more effective communication of scientific
information to the public.

Technical sessions will be held at the Gilruth Center, including
oral presentations on continuing investigations of the Martian
meteorites, results from the Mars Global Surveyor mission,
discussions about astrobiology and origins of life in the Universe,
findings about Jupiter's moon Europa, and goals for near-future Mars
missions (the Mars Surveyor 2001 orbiter, lander and rover, and the
European Space Agency's Mars Express). A special plenary session
featuring the Masursky Lectures will highlight the scientific and
technical accomplishments made during the Galileo mission to the
Jovian system, and preview Cassini's exploration of the Saturnian
system.

Special sessions will include the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous
(NEAR) flyby of the asteroid Eros, new views of our Moon by the
Clementine probe, and Lunar Prospector's mapping and measurements of
the magnetic and gravity fields of the Moon's surface. New
perspectives on Mars Global Surveyor results regarding Martian
volcanism, possible lakes and oceans, the planet's polar regions and
other terrain will be discussed, as well as future missions to
understand how Earth-like planets form and evolve to become
habitable. Poster presentations are scheduled for Tuesday and
Thursday evenings at UHCL's Bayou Building.

Additional information on the conference events including
registration and text of abstracts can be found at the LPI website:
http://cass.jsc.nasa.gov/meetings/LPSC99/

To register for the media workshop, contact Pam Thompson by e-mail
(thompson@lpi.jsc.nasa.gov) or by phone at: 281/486-2175.


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CCCMENU CCC for 1999

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