PLEASE NOTE:


*

CAMBRIDGE-CONFERENCE DIGEST, 27 March 1998
------------------------------------------

"Days occur when the House of Commons takes on an 'Alice
Through the Looking Glass' air. Questions and answers
never make contact with each other - or with reality. What
everyone wants to know is what nobody seems to ask.
Ministers pontificate in response to inquiries nobody has
put. [...] On Monday ministers had advised, in a written
answer, that the giant asteroid that dominated the news a
week ago was not, repeat NOT, going to hit the Earth. We
have this on new Labour's authority. The pledge should
perhaps be printed on a sixth coffee mug, to add to the
set of five coffee-mug pledges already marketed by
Millbank Tower: 'Treat More NHS Patients'; 'Smaller Class
Sizes'; 'No Increase In Income Tax Rates'; 'Tough On
Crime'; 'More Jobs For Young People' ... and now: 'No
Collision With Asteroid'.
(Matthew Parris in THE TIMES, 25 March 1998)


(1) SOFT LANDING OF ASTEROID 1997 XF11 IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
    Jonathan Tate [SPACEGUARD UK} <fr77@dial.pipex.com> wrote:

(2) 5,000 COMET HALE-BOPP IMAGES
    Ron Baalke <BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov>

(3) HYPERVELOCITY IMPACT CRATERING OF CO2 ICE AND IMPLICATIONS
    J. Leliwa-Kopystynski et al., UNIVERSITY OF WARSAW

(4) NEW STUDY ON LOCKNE IMPACT CRATER, SWEDEN
    E.F.F. Sturkell, UNIVERSITY OF STOCKHOLM

==========
(1) SOFT LANDING OF ASTEROID 1997 XF11 IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS

On Monday 23 March, John Battle, Britain's Science Minister,
responded to questions Mr Opik (MP) had raised in the House of
Commons the week before, when asteroid 1997 XF11 made the world's
news headlines. Member of Parliament Mr Opik, the Liberal
Democrat's spokesman for Northern Ireland, is - to our pleasant
surprise - also the grandson of one of Britain's most eminent
cometary astronomers and early NEO researchers, the late Ernst
Opik who, almost three decades ago, was Mark Bailey's predecessor
as the director of the Armagh Observatory.

Jonathan Tate, director of Spaceguard UK, was so kind to forward
Mr Opik's questions and John Battle's rather trivial answers. The
British Government's continuing head-in-the-sand policies regarding
the NEO threat in general and the cold-blooded termination of NEO
research at the Anglo-Australian Observatory in particular is
perhaps the only reason why I, in moments of foolishness, regret
that Jim Scotti's XF11 changed its mind (and course). 

Benny J Peiser

============================================
From: Jonathan Tate [SPACEGUARD UK} <fr77@dial.pipex.com>

---- From the House of Commons, 23 March 1998

Asteroids

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department

(1) if he will evaluate the reports concerning an asteroid on a
near-collision course with the Earth; and if he will make a statement;
[34873]

(2) what contingency plans have been made in the event of a threat
arising from asteroids colliding with the Earth; and if he will make a
statement; [34874]

(3) what provision exists for international consultation and
co-operation over potential dangers arising from asteroids striking the
Earth; and if he will make a statement. [34875]

Mr. Battle: I have been asked to reply.

The asteroid 1997 XF11, which was discovered last year, has an orbit around
the Sun which crosses the Earth's orbit. It will pass by the Earth in 2028.
Computations made by American scientists earlier this month indicated that
the asteroid could come within 30,000 miles of the Earth. However, I
understand that scientists from the American space agency NASA have now
been able to locate pre-1997 images of the asteroid. This has enabled
them to calculate a more precise orbit for 1997 XF11 which indicates
that it will miss the Earth by a much larger margin of 600,00 miles (or
about 2.5 times the distance to the Moon).

The probability of a major impact from an asteroid is extremely low, but the
emergency services and the emergency planning community in the UK prepare
for a wide range of disasters and scenarios and they would respond if the
need arose.

International co-operation and consultation on this issue are taken forward
in Europe through the European Space Agency and globally through the United
Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS). The UK is
involved in both.

==================================
(2) 5,000 COMET HALE-BOPP IMAGES

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

March 26, 1998

There is now over 5,000 images of Comet Hale-Bopp on my Comet Hale-Bopp
home page. This is the world's largest collection of images of the
comet available on the Internet.   I would like to thank again all of
the people who have contributed their images to share with the rest of
the world.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/comet/
http://galileo.ivv.nasa.gov/comet/

The images cover a period of nearly 3 years for this exciting comet. The first
image in the archive was taken on July 24, 1995 - the day after
Comet Hale-Bopp's discovery - and the latest image was taken just a week ago.

Ron Baalke
baalke@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov

======================
(3) HYPERVELOCITY IMPACT CRATERING OF CO2 ICE AND IMPLICATIONS

J. Leliwa-Kopystynski*), W. Brooke-Thomas, M. J. Burchell, J.C.
Zarnecki: Hypervelocity impact cratering of CO2 ice and implications
for planetary sciences, ADVANCES IN SPACE RESEARCH, 1997, Vol.20, No.8,
pp.1577-1580

*) UNIVERSITY OF WARSAW, INSTITUE OF GEOPHYSICS, PASTEURA 7, PL-02093
   WARSAW, POLAND

We present our experimental data for hypervelocity impacts at 5
km s(-1) on compact CO2 ice. We have examinated crater morphology
(depth, diameter, shape and volume) for impacts by stainless steel
projectiles of diameter from 0.4 mm to 2 mm. Relationships between
crater and projectile parameters have been derived and extrapolation to
other projectile sizes is considered By means of comparison of these
results to impacts on H2O ice as presented in the literature, we
discuss the influence of icy target material on impact crater records
in the Solar System. (C) 1997 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier
Science Ltd.

===============================
(4) NEW STUDY ON LOCKNE IMPACT CRATER, SWEDEN

E.F.F. Sturkell: Resurge morphology of the marine Lockne impact crater,
Jamtland, central Sweden, GEOLOGICAL MAGAZINE, 1998, Vol.135, No.1,
pp.121-127

UNIVERSITY OF STOCKHOLM, DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY, S-10691 STOCKHOLM,
SWEDEN

In the Brunflo area of Jamtland, central Sweden, a Cambrian to
Ordovician sedimentary sequence rests on a Proterozoic crystalline
basement. The area lies just outside the site of the middle Ordovician
Lockne impact, and it later experienced Caledonian overthrusting. The
degree of Caledonian tectonization of the Palaeozoic varies, but an
autochthonous Cambrian and Ordovician sequence apparently occurs in the
greater part of the area, particularly in the north. The pre-impact
sedimentary succession is 81 m thick in the autochthon, with the Middle
Ordovician Furudal Limestone as uppermost member. Brunflo village is
located just outside the crater, 8-9 km north of its centre, but the
area was affected by the impact. The impact-generated ejecta and
resurge deposits rest on a surface which cuts the sedimentary strata at
a low angle. This surface cuts at progressively higher stratigraphic
levels at increasing distance from the crater. According to
observations in the autochthon the impact generated an erosion
surface dipping 1-2 degrees towards the crater centre. The sequence of
events that shaped this surface began with bombardment with high-speed
ejecta closely followed by resurging water. The resurge mixed ejecta
clasts with the products of resurge erosion to form the resurge
deposits. No rim wall can be traced at the Lockne impact structure,
probably because a rim wall, if it formed, collapsed in the
modification stage owing to local lithological conditions and because
the remains of it were completely eroded in the resurge phase. It is
suggested the rim wall formed in sedimentary strata with unlithified
clays at their base, and that this clay was unable to support it.
Copyright 1998, Institute for Scientific Information Inc.

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