PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet, 48/2000 - 12 April 2000
------------------------------


(1) ICE BALLS KEEP FALLING FROM THE SKY
    Christian Gritzner <gritzner.eurospace@potsdam.com>

(2) CHINA'S ANTARCTIC 2000 EXPEDITION FINDS NEW METEORITE FIELD
    SpaceDaily, 11 April 2000

(3) AURORA IMAGE
    Klet Observatory <klet@klet.cz>

(4) REPORTS  FROM THE ASTROBIOLOGY CONFERENCE
    SpaceDaily, 11 April 2000

(5) WILL HUMANS ALWAYS BE CONFINED TO THE SOLAR SYSTEM?
    NASA Science News <science.news@msfc.nasa.gov>

(6) BRITAIN WANTS US MISSILE SHIELD
    The Sunday Times, 9 April 2000

(7) FORGET SELF-DEFENSE: AGGRESSORS WILL ALWAYS WIN, U.S. SCIENTISTS
    BELIEVE
    YAHOO! News, 11 April 2000

(8) MISSILE DEFENSE FLAWED, SCIENTISTS WARN
    Space.com, 11 April 2000

(9) SMALL PLANETS & PERIODIC IMPACTS
    Michael Paine <mpaine@tpgi.com.au>

(10) GLOBAL WARMING POLITICS
     Eugene F. Milone <milone@ucalgary.ca>


===============
(1) ICE BALLS KEEP FALLING FROM THE SKY

From Christian Gritzner <gritzner.eurospace@potsdam.com>

Hello Benny,

once again: chunks of ice falling from the sky...

Mittwoch 12. April 2000, 08:24 Uhr
Eisbrocken zerschlugen Hausdach in Österreich

Wien (dpa) - In Österreich sind Dutzende Fußball große Eisklumpen vom
Himmel gefallen. In Königswiesen nahe der Hauptstadt Wien habe ein
Eiskoloss ein Hausdach durchschlagen und ein zwei Quadratmeter großes
Loch gerissen, berichteten Anwohner. Schon in Spanien und Italien ist
dieses Mysterium Anfang des Jahres aufgetreten. Die Polizei vermutete,
dass die Eisklumpen sich von einem Flugzeug gelöst haben.

Best wishes,
Christian

Dr.-Ing. Christian Gritzner
EUROSPACE Technische Entwicklungen GmbH
Büro Potsdam
Lindenstr. 6
D-14467 Potsdam
Tel.: 0331-284-3305 (FAX: -3434)
E-mail: gritzner@eurospace.de
Homepage: http://www.eurospace.de

[MODERATOR'S TRANSLATION: Reports from Austria say that two dozen of
football-sized chunks of ice fell from the sky in recent days. In
Königswiesen, near Vienna, an icy object blasted a hole, two square
metre wide, in the roof of a house. Similar occurrances were reported
from Spain and Italy earlier this year. Police sources suspect that the
icy chuncks were cast off an airliner.]

================
(2) CHINA'S ANTARCTIC 2000 EXPEDITION FINDS NEW METEORITE FIELD

From SpaceDaily, 11 April 2000
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/china-00q.html

by Wei Long

Beijing - April 12, 2000 - The People's Daily reported last Wednesday
(5th) that the 16th Antarctic research expedition team has returned
home "triumphantly," with government officials joining a large crowd
to welcome the research ship Xuelong's return to Shanghai.

Dignitaries who attended the ceremony include Chen Lianzeng, Vice-chief
of the State Bureau of Oceanography (SBO), key officers from the
SBO-Shanghai branch, and head officials from other participating
departments in Shanghai.

Returning from the Antarctic expedition were 137 team members,
including five foreign scientists, and members from the 15th expedition
who spent the past winter living and working in the Chinese antarctic
research base station Zhongshan ("Middle Mountain").

The 16th Antarctic research expedition is the last of this century. The
team successfully completed research tasks, and restocked supplies
and performed maintenance at both Chinese base stations Zhongshan
and Changcheng ("Great Wall").

The expedition team spent 44 days in field studies at Grove Mountains.
During that time the team had encountered extreme weather conditions,
including blizzards, on several occasions. Key accomplishments are:

- Collecting large volume of data which enabled the production of a
   1:25,000 scale topographical map of the 110 sq. km. core area of
   Grove Mountains.

- Discovering a new meteorite strewn field at the bottom of a cliff and
   collecting 28 meteorites.

- Observing and collecting rock, soil, ice and air samples in ice
   crevices.

While sailing in the southern ocean, the Chinese research
vessel/icebreaker Xuelong ("Snow Dragon") carried out survey programs,
including key research agenda set forth by the National Nature Fund.
Xuelong also participated in the Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX),
which was an international research project to study the Indian
Ocean carbon cycle and its effects on global climate change.

After completing the task of "One Vessel Two (base) Stations", Xuelong
left Antarctica on March 1. The vessel spent a total of 157 days
navigating in the open sea and had travelled 27,053-naut. mi.
(50,102-km.), thus setting a new range record.

Copyright 2000, SpaceDaily

===============
(3) AURORA IMAGE

From Klet Observatory <klet@klet.cz>

Dear Benny,

You can find an image of the aurora borealis taken at the Klet
Observatory at

http://www.klet.cz/aurora.html

Regards
       Milos

Milos Tichy
Klet Observatory                     tel. : +420-337-711242
Zatkovo nabrezi 4                    fax  : +420-38-6352239
370 01 Ceske Budejovice         e-mail:  klet@klet.cz
Czech Republic                        WWW :  http://www.klet.cz

===============
(4) REPORTS  FROM THE ASTROBIOLOGY CONFERENCE

NOTE: Today's edition of SpaceDaily is focused on last week's Astrobiology
conference with a five part report by Bruce Moomaw. While in our third
installment to the 2000 Lunar and Planetary Science we come back to Mars
for the latest from Surveyor.

- Increasing Evidence That Europa Lives
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/life-00p1.html

Cameron Park - April 11, 2000 - Last week's First Annual Conference on
Astrobiology saw 600 scientists and over 20 journalists turnout to
discuss the possibility of life (even primitive life) on other worlds.
SpaceDaily's Bruce Moomaw was among them and provides here a detailed
report on the conference

- A Surveyor's Chronicles
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/lunarplanet-2000-00c1.html

Cameron Park - April 11, 2000 -
After a quick fly through of the rest of Sol, the 31st Annual Lunar and
Planetary Science Conference came back to the subject of Mars
dedicating most of the last two days to a thorough debate over the
latest results from Mars Global Surveyor.

===============
(5) WILL HUMANS ALWAYS BE CONFINED TO THE SOLAR SYSTEM?

From NASA Science News <science.news@msfc.nasa.gov>

NASA Science News for April 11, 2000

Where's the Edge?: Will humans always be confined to the Solar System? 
Not if NASA's Advanced Space Transportation Program has a say in the
matter! Find out how scientists are working to turn science fiction
into standard practise with new and innovative ways to reach the stars.
FULL STORY at

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast11apr_1m.htm

==============
(6) BRITAIN WANTS US MISSILE SHIELD

From The Sunday Times, 9 April 2000
http://www.the-times.co.uk/news/pages/Sunday-Times/frontpage.html

Andrew Gilligan

BRITAIN is preparing the way for full participation in the
controversial "son of Star Wars" missile defence system being planned
by the United States.

Senior defence sources say they will insist that Britain is brought
under the protective "umbrella" as the price for co-operation.

Washington is pressing to use RAF bases in Yorkshire as part of the
system, which is designed to protect against long-range ballistic
missiles being acquired by "rogue" states such as Iran and North
Korea.

The bases, RAF Fylingdales and Menwith Hill, would host a forward
sentry post - a tracking radar to detect missiles bound for America.
The United States has no plans to extend the area of protection
beyond its own shores.

Britain is likely to allow the bases to be used. Geoff Hoon, the
defence secretary, said last week: "The history of our close
friendship is that we are sympathetic to such requests."

Senior sources added that because of fears that participation could
make Britain a target, they would expect a quid pro quo in terms of
bringing this country under some form of protection. "There are
discussions that need to be had as to what would protect the UK and
the rest of Europe," said a source.

The options range from bringing Britain under the umbrella of the
main American system to giving it a mini-ballistic missile defence of
its own, or a joint system with some other European nations. Because
it could be presented as independent, the latter might be seen as a
less controversial option. Britain will take a final decision once a
formal request to use the bases has been received from President
Clinton this summer.

Copyright 2000, The Sunday Times

==============
(7) FORGET SELF-DEFENSE: AGGRESSORS WILL ALWAYS WIN, U.S. SCIENTISTS
    BELIEVE

From YAHOO! News, 11 April 2000
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000411/ts/arms_starwars_1.html

U.S. Scientists Urge Against Missile Defense System

By David Storey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A panel of prominent U.S. scientists on Tuesday
opposed plans for a national anti-missile shield, entering a fierce
public debate before President Clinton decides whether to deploy
the system this summer.

The 11 scientists, some of whom have worked in government missile
programs, said the proposed system, in which a land-based missile would
intercept an incoming missile carrying a nuclear, biological or
chemical weapon, would not work.

"Any country capable of deploying a long-range missile would also be
able to deploy countermeasures that would defeat the planned National
Missile Defense system," their report said, adding, "It makes no sense
to begin deployment."

The report, written under the auspices of the Union of Concerned
Scientists and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Security
Studies Program, said attackers could use decoys and other means to
deceive the heat-seeking anti-missiles.

It said biological or chemical weapons could be split into a number of
small warheads which would be released during the missile's flight and
avoid destruction.

Nuclear warheads could be protected by being enclosed in cooler shrouds
or could be placed in balloons with numerous empty balloons deployed
with them, making it impossible for the U.S. missile to select the
right target.

"Deployment of the planned NMD system would offer the United States
very little, if any, protection against limited ballistic missile
attacks, while increasing the risks from other more likely and more
dangerous threats to U.S. national security," it said.

Missiles "Won't Do The Job"

"This so-called national missile defense system won't do the job," said
the chairman of the group, Andrew Sessler, a senior scientist at the
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a former president of the
American Physical Society.

Pushed by the Republican-led Congress, Clinton has said he will decide
by the end of this summer whether to commit to deploying the system,
meant to defend against accidental or "rogue" firings rather than a
full-out attack from Russia.

Its deployment would require adjustments to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic
Missile treaty, a basic element in the web of international arms
control agreements. Such changes are strongly resisted by Russia and
most other countries.

The principle of U.S. nuclear weapons policy up to now has been that of
deterrence, that any power would be deterred from using a nuclear
weapons because it would provoke an enormously destructive nuclear
response.

Proponents of the NMD system, a scaled down version of the "Star Wars"
concept proposed by President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, insist that
some form of defense is essential as "rogue" states like North Korea
and Iran develop long-range missiles.

The conservative Heritage Foundation released a paper on Tuesday saying
Clinton must resist those who oppose deployment on the grounds that the
issue is too politically charged in an election year and because there
has been insufficient testing.

Researcher Baker Spring argued that the technology had been shown to be
effective in earlier tests and in tests of other anti-missile systems
like the Patriot PAC-3, although even NMD backers agree much still has
to be worked out.

PENTAGON SEES $30 BILLION COST

The Pentagon estimated last week that the system including an
anti-missile base, upgrading radars and deploying 100 interceptors,
would cost at least $30.2 billion.

That figure, far higher than previous estimates, would cover the cost
of the program from 1991 to 2026 when all 100 proposed interceptors
could be mounted at a base likely to be built in Alaska.

The military will conduct its third test of the system in late June
when it attempts to shoot down a dummy warhead high over the Pacific
Ocean. The first such test was successful in October 1999, but a second
test failed earlier this year.

Shortly after a third test flight in June, Clinton is expected to
decide whether to begin soon building a base in Alaska and deploying 20
interceptors there by 2005.

White House national security advisers say he does not intend to leave
the decision to a successor.

His decision will be based on an assessment of whether the project is
technologically feasible, on its cost and on its impact on
international affairs. The government has already determined the
national security threat justifies it.

Copyright 2000, Reuters

==============
(8) MISSILE DEFENSE FLAWED, SCIENTISTS WARN

From Space.com, 11 April 2000
http://www.space.com/space/missile_review_000411.html

By Paul Hoversten

WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon's planned National Missile Defense (NMD)
system to knock out enemy missiles from rogue nations is fundamentally
flawed because it could be easily thwarted, according to a panel of
independent senior physicists and engineers.

"The proposed system will not work against the threats it is designed
to face," said Kurt Gottfried, a physicist at Cornell University and
chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which released the
report Tuesday along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT).

The report by the 11 senior scientists is the first technical evidence
that the system could be defeated by what the scientists called
"predictable and practical" responses by attacking countries.

FULL STORY at
http://www.space.com/space/missile_review_000411.html

=============================
* LETTERS TO THE MODERATOR*
=============================

(9) SMALL PLANETS & PERIODIC IMPACTS

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

Dear Benny,

I am looking forward to the snail mail delivery of my May 2000 issue of
Scientific American. It has the following article:

'The Small Planets' by Erik Asphaug

      New space probe images offer the first close-ups of asteroids,
      the minute worlds that carry clues to how the planets formed.
      Surprisingly, many asteroids are more like gravel piles than solid
      rock.
see http://www.sciam.com/2000/0500issue/0500quicksummary.html

Also, those interested in possible causes of periodic impacts should
look at the article 'Galaxies behind the Milky Way' in the October
1998 issue: http://www.sciam.com/1998/1098issue/1098laham.html

"...the Sagittarius dwarf, it is now the closest known galaxy--just
80,000 light-years away from the solar system, less than half the
distance of the next closest, the Large Magellanic Cloud. In fact, it is
located well inside our galaxy, on the far side of the galactic center.
Because the Sagittarius dwarf lies directly behind the central bulge of
the Milky Way, it cannot be seen in direct images...Sagittarius appears
to have undergone some disruption from the tidal forces exerted by the
Milky Way."

I presume that it orbits the Milky Way more slowly than our Sun so we
should come under its tidal influence every few hundred million years
(since the Sun orbits the Milky once every 250 million years).

regards
Michael Paine

=============
(10) GLOBAL WARMING POLITICS

From Eugene F. Milone <milone@ucalgary.ca>

Benny,

I noticed that you sneaked in a silly piece on global warming
and decrying some kind of Liberal plot to 'bankrupt the Earth'. It
would be much better (as I noted before) to limit comments to serious
scientific work and forget the opinionated tracts; it just does not
help the credibility of serious concerns to have things such as this on
the net.

Cordially,
- gene


MODERATOR'S NOTE: The article by Arthur B. Robinson and Noah
Robinson on the issue of Global Warming (posted in yesterday's CCNet)
is based on their research paper "Environmental Effects of Increased
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide" [http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm]
in which they argue that increased energy consumption and CO2 levels
can have (and indeed have had) benefitial effects on social and economic progress.
From a purely scientific perspective, the Global Warming controversy goes far
beyond any party political devide given that the alarm was first raised
by conservative administrations in both the UK and the US. Equally, many
of the 17,000 U.S. scientists who publicly oppose the drastic restrictions
on energy consumption and technological development which comprise
the Kyoto Protocol are outspoken liberals. Can I assure readers that CCNet
will continue to cover this debate in a purely matter-of-fact manner.


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