CCNet 78/2001 - 13 June 2001

"Two centuries since the first asteroid, Ceres, was spotted, space
rocks are becoming identified as forces that mould our planet, wiping
out species or crowning them, in a brutal act of death and creation."
--Agence France-Press, 9 June 2001

    Andrew Yee <>

    Andrew Yee <>

    Andrew Yee <>

    Andrew Yee <>

(5) ASTEROIDS 2001
    Andy Smith <>

    Mark Hess <>


    Peter Haines <>

    Andy Smith <>

     Worth Crouch <>
     Hermann Burchard <>

     Alasdair Beal < >


From Andrew Yee <>

From Agence France-Presse, 9 June 2001

Saturday, June 9, 2001, 12:27 AM EDT

Asteroids cast as the bringers of death -- and life

PARIS (AFP) -- Two centuries since the first asteroid, Ceres, was spotted,
space rocks are becoming identified as forces that mould our planet, wiping
out species or crowning them, in a brutal act of death and creation.

It is popular knowledge that an asteroid or comet slammed into modern-day
Mexico around 65 million years ago, leaving behind a gigantic crater and
extinguishing much of the life on Earth, notably ending the long reign of
the dinosaurs.

But it is now clear that this was not a one-off. Scientists have evidence of
four other cataclysms that have occurred over the last quarter of a billion
years, and conclude that space plays a key role as kingmaker of the species.

A study published last month by University of Washington paleontologist
Peter Ward suggests a mass extinction suddenly occurred 200 million years
ago, destroying the mammal-like reptiles that dominated the planet and
handing the throne to T. rex and his ilk.

"Something suddenly killed off more than 50 percent of all species on Earth,
and that led to the age of the dinosaurs," says Ward.

His team's research is based on a count of fossilised marine plankton that
died en masse because of rapid climate change. Ward suggests asteroid impact
was the likely cause but does not rule out other factors, such as a surge of
volcanic activity.

In their hurtling track around the Sun, comets or big asteroids, say 10
kilometers (six miles) across, can unleash enormously destructive energy if
they smack into the Earth.

They can release a shockwave equal to thousands of Hiroshima bombs and kick
up a dust cloud that is borne by winds around the planet, filtering out the
sunlight and changing weather patterns.

In this "impact winter," plants shrivel and die from lack of photosynthesis,
denying food to life farther up the food chain. The extinction studied by
Ward occurred in less than 10,000 years, "the blink of an eye, geologically

Benny Peiser, a social anthropologist at Liverpool John Moores University,
says the emerging importance of asteroids as changers of planetary life
poses a challenge to evolutionists.

Man, he argues, rose not as a gradual process of selective fitness and
genetic supremacy but simply because he was lucky.

"The reason that Homo sapiens have survived in spite of these global
disasters has little to do with the traditional explanations given by
neo-Darwinists," says Peiser.

"It is sobering to realise that we are alive due to cosmic luck rather than
our genetic makeup. After all, the populations of hominids and early modern
humans were extremely small. Had any of these impacts occurred in the
proximity of these population groups, we might also have gone the way of the

For all their destruction, asteroids may also have provided the seed for
life on Earth billions of years ago, according to some minds.

Under this "panspermia" theory, asteroids or a comet delivered the chemical
building blocks for DNA when the planet was in its infancy.

Testing the idea, astrobiologist Louis Allamandola of NASA's Ames Research
Center froze a mixture of ice, carbonated gas, carbon monoxide, ammonia and
methanol at temperatures nearing absolute zero.

He then bombarded the chilly soup with ultraviolet rays, seeking to
replicate the conditions in the dense interstellar clouds in which the Solar
System was born.

Complex, diverse molecules were created. And when water was added to the
mixture, some of the solids spontaneously formed pouch-like membranes that
converted energy from ultraviolet light into visible light, necessary to
create life.

Panspermia is still struggling to rise above the "giggle threshold" -- the
point at which a new theory is no longer considered ludicrous and is widely
accepted in mainstream thinking.

But the same used to apply to the threat of asteroid collision, which was
considered outlandish three or four decades ago.

That risk, while mathematically minute, is now pushing the United States,
Britain and other countries to step up monitoring of galactic bruisers and
prompt thinking about how any threatening rock could be nudged aside or

Mankind's ambivalence towards asteroids was spelt out last year by a
government-appointed British panel, the Task Force on Potentially Hazardous
Near Earth Objects, which urged closer international cooperation to detect
large rocks.

"As a species, humans would not exist without them. On the one hand we can
rejoice in them; on the other, we can fear for our future."

Copyright © 2001 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.


From Andrew Yee <>

[ ]

Tuesday June 12, 12:05 PM EDT

Newly-found meteorite may point to water under Martian surface

PARIS (AFP) -- A meteorite found in the western Sahara contains water that
may have come from below the surface of Mars, French researchers said

The rock, weighing 104 grammes (three and a half ounces), was discovered by
French meteorite hunters last December.

It is the fourth meteorite to be identified as a nakhlite, a Martian
mineral, the National Institute for Sciences of the Universe (INSU) said,
confirming a report in the daily Le Monde.

INSU scientists carried out research into the ratio of deuterium and
hydrogen in the meteorite, a figure which varies according to whether the
rock was exposed to water and indicates the origin of that water.

Analysis of the three other nakhlites showed that they had been exposed to
water, but which was on the planet's surface.

However, the new meteorite, NWA 817, was different.

"We detected a very low deuterium/hydrogen ration, close to a reading for
Earth," INSU Director Philippe Gillet told Le Monde.

"Our interpretation is that this points to a fluid that came from the
planet's interior, not its surface."

Gillet did not rule out the possibility that the meteorite may have been
contaminated by water molecules when it landed on Earth.

"However, if we are right, that means part of the water contained in the
Martian mantle did not rise to the surface of the planet," he said.

Whether water, the stuff of life, exists or has existed on Mars has excited
enormous debate since NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter sent back pictures
a year ago, showed Martian valleys and gullies that some US analysts believe
were dug out by ice flows, floods or even oceans.

Where the water is now is another question, with speculation that it has
entirely evaporated into space or may still linger just below the surface.

Martian meteorites are believed to have been knocked off the surface of the
planet by an asteroid collision millions of years ago. The chunks wandered
in space until they were finally drawn into the Earth's gravity and made
landfall, surviving a fiery plunge through the atmosphere.

NWA 817's finders were Bruno Fectay and Carine Bidaut, who have discovered
more than 400 meteorites.

One of the finds, a Martian rock named NWA 480, was sold to the National
Centre for Space Studies (CNES), where it is being put to use to prepare for
planned missions to Mars.

Copyright © 2001 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.


From Andrew Yee <>

[ ]

Monday, 11 June 2001

Cones on Mars

Cones poking out from the surface of Mars could be evidence for recent water
ice on the red planet -- this time just beneath some of the most parched
regions of its rocky terrain [1].

High-resolution images of an area the size of Canada taken by the Mars
Orbiter Camera reveal what appear to be rootless cones. These geological
formations are found on Earth where molten lava has flowed over waterlogged

The images show vast fields of the objects, which can measure between 20 and
300 metres across at the base. But unlike ordinary martian volcanoes, the
cones are not associated with rock fissures.

The location of the cones, in Mars' equatorial region, is "rather
disturbing", says Peter Lanagan of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the
University of Arizona in Tucson who carried out the work. It suggests water
was present "in an area of Mars where we don't expect to see water", he
says. Most distribution models predict that water occurred only around Mars'

Drawing geological analogies between Earth and Mars "can be a dangerous
game", cautions John Mustard, who studies martian climate at Brown
University in Providence, Rhode Island. But the shape and location of the
cones make the analogy probable, he concedes, indicating that there might
well have been water around the equator.

Rootless cones are so called because they are not produced by lava erupting
through cracks in surface rock. On Earth, they form when hot lava flows over
damp ground causing the water beneath to boil. The water flashes to steam
very quickly fuelling an explosive release of lava upwards, which builds a

The cones on Mars occur in an area that was flooded by lava within the past
10 million years and where there are channels hinting at the presence of
water before then. This suggests that water was present when the lava flowed

"Although 10 million years ago sounds like a long time," says Lanagan, "for
people studying Mars that's recent." Water was thought to have evaporated
from equatorial Mars hundreds of millions of years ago.

The big question, says Mustard, "is whether that reservoir of water is still

Martian researchers may not have to wait for too long for confirmation.
NASA's Mars Odyessy mission en route to Mars is equipped with a gamma-ray
spectroscope that will look for the signature of hydrogen atoms in water

[1] Lanagan, P. D., McEwen, A. S., Keszthelyi, L. P., & Thordarson, T.
    Rootless cones on Mars indicating the presence of shallow equatorial
    ground ice in recent times. Geophysical Research Letters 28, 2365-2367

© Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2001 - NATURE NEWS SERVICE


From Andrew Yee <>

[ ]

Tuesday 12 June 2001

Wind blows west on Titan

Gale-force winds on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, blow from west to east,
researchers have now discovered [1]. Knowing which way the winds blow should
help international space agency scientists in their plans to land a probe on
the icy moon in 2004.

Using the 3-metre-wide Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, Hawaii,
Theodor Kostiuk of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt,
Maryland, and his colleagues found that the winds some 200 kilometres above
Titan's surface were blowing at tornado speeds of about 750 kilometres per

Not knowing the direction of the winds complicated plans by NASA and the
European Space Agency (ESA) to explore Saturn, its rings and its 17 moons,
including Titan. Launched in 1997, ESA's 350-kilogram Huygens probe will
parachute in from NASA's 2-tonne Cassini orbiter.

The probe will beam data about Titan's clouds, atmosphere and surface to
Earth via the Cassini spacecraft orbiting above. Knowing the wind direction
will help NASA and ESA to predict the probe's path as it descends through
Titan's thick, smoggy atmosphere. They can then point Cassini's antenna more
precisely towards the probe as it lands.

Huygens' batteries will last only 153 minutes, and so it is important to
maximize the contact between the orbiter and probe to gain as much
information as possible from Titan's surface.

But these measurements of Titan's stratospheric wind are at only one height.
It "tells us nothing about what's going on below, where Huygens will spend
most of its time", warns Michael Bird of the University of Bonn in Germany,
leader of an experiment the probe will carry out to investigate wind on
Titan's surface. "We have to be there to see which way the wind is blowing,"
says Bird. "We're ready for surprises."

To measure Titan's wind, Kostiuk and his team used a technology analogous to
that used by police to detect speeding drivers. A police officer sends out a
signal of a specific frequency; this frequency changes as it bounces back
from a moving car, and the change is dependent on the car's speed.

The telescope and other equipment detected infrared light emitted by gaseous
ethane in Titan's upper atmosphere. The speed and direction of the moving
ethane molecules altered the frequency of the infrared light. Thus, by
comparing the frequencies from the eastern and western edges of Titan, the
researchers calculated which way, and how fast, the wind was blowing.

Now they plan to confirm their results using a larger, 8-metre telescope
that will cut down on the noise from space.

Titan, the second-largest moon in the Solar System, and about 40% of the
size of Earth, interests astrophysicists because its conditions probably
resemble those of Earth before the appearance of life.

Says Caitlin Griffith, a Titan researcher from Northern Arizona University:
"To understand how Earth evolved, we need to investigate how atmospheres
function in a variety of contexts: Titan provides us with such insights."

[1] Kostiuk, T. et al. Direct measurement of winds on Titan. Geophysical
    Research Letters 28, 2361-2364 (2001).

© Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2001 - NATURE NEWS SERVICE

(5) ASTEROIDS 2001

From Andy Smith <>

Hello Benny and CCNet,

The Palermo meeting, sponsored by SPACEGUARD, NEODyS et al, is being
outlined on the TUMBLING STONE e-publication. Your can find it on:

The meeting started yesterday and continues until the 16th. Lots of good
presentations on asteroid optical and radio astronomy and they are making a
real effort to communicate.

The ASTEROIDS 2001 (Palermo) meeting abstracts can be seen at:


Monday, June 11
09.00 - 09.30  Opening ceremony   

Chairs: R. Binzel and V. Zappala' 
09.30 - 09.55  G. Fodera' Serio (Invited)  History of the Palermo
Observatory and the discovery of Ceres 
10.10 - 10.35  B. Marsden (Invited)  The asteroid discovery rate: historical
perspective and future outlook 
10.50 - 11.15  Coffee Break   

Chair: B. Marsden and I. Belskaya 
11.15 - 11.25  M.E. Sansaturio, A. Milani  On asteroid identifications: the
algorithms and the computational procedure 
11.30 - 11.40  L.K.Kristensen  Follow-up ephemerides and the accuracy of
preliminary orbits 
11.45 - 11.55  D.F. Lupishko, V.G. Shevchenko, N. Tungalag  On the
displacement of asteroid photocenter due to the surface scattering 
12.00 - 12.10  J. Ticha, M. Tichy, M. Kocer  The recovery as an important
part of NEA astrometric follow-up 
12.15 - 12.25  A. Boattini, G. D'Abramo  NEO follow-up coordination
activities of the spaceguard central node: results and general
12.30 - 13.00  S.J. Ostro (Invited)  Radar observations of asteroids:
progress and perspectives 
13.00  Lunch    
15.00 - 15.10  M.C. Nolan, J.L. Margot, E.S. Howell, L. Benner, S.J. Ostro,
et al.  Near-earth asteroids observed using the post-upgrade Arecibo
planetary radar 
15.15 - 15.25  L.A.M. Benner, M.C. Nolan, J.L. Margot et al  Recent radar
observations of four near-earth asteroids 
15.30 - 15.40  D.J. Scheeres  Dynamical constraints on asteroid binaries 
15.45 - 15.55  J.L. Margot, M.C. Nolan, L.A.M. Benner, S.J. Ostro, M.E.
Brown, E.S. Howell, R.F. Jurgens et al  Discovery and characterization of
three binary asteroids 2000 DP107, 2000 UG11, and 87 Sylvia 
16.00 - 16.10  C. Magri, S.J. Ostro, L.A.M. Benner, B.R. Beeney  Radar
constraints on asteroid composition using 433 Eros as ground truth 

Chairs: D. Lupishko and M.A. Barucci 
16.15 - 16.40  A. Cheng (Invited)  Eros: The NEAR mission and results 
16.55 - 17.20  Tea Break    
17.20 - 17.30  D.W. Dunham, R.W. Farquhar, J.V McAdams et al  Implementation
of the first asteroid landing 
17.35 - 17.45  B.E. Clark, P. Helfenstein, J.F. Bell III et al  Space
weathering on Eros: constraints from albedo and spectral measurements of
Psyche crater 
17.50 - 18.00  D.E. Smith, M.T. Zuber  Comparison of imaging and altimeter
shape models for 433 Eros 
18.05 - 18.15  J. Trombka, L.R. Nittler, D.Starr et al  Elemental analysis
of 433 Eros; results from the near X-Ray/Gamma-ray spectrometer 
18.20 - 18.30  D. Hestroffer; P. Tanga; J. Berthier; A. Cellino; M.
Lattanzi; M. Di Martino and V. Zappalą  HST/FGS interferometric observations
of asteroids 
18.35 - 19.35  POSTER SESSION  SESSIONS I, II and III 

Tuesday, June 12
09.00 - 09.25  C.R. Chapman (Invited)  Impact and cratering history of
09.40 - 09.50  M.T. Zuber, D.E. Smith, A.F. Cheng., J.B. Garvin and the NLR
science team  Physical structure and dynamics of 433 Eros from NEAR-
Shoemaker altimetry and gravity 
09.55 - 10.05  R.Sullivan, P. Thomas, S. Murchie, M. Robinson  Asteroid
geology from Galileo and
NEAR data 
10.10 - 10-20  I. Richter, K.H. Glassmeier, F.Kuhnke, G. Musmann et al
Magnetometer observations during the Flyby of the DEEP SPACE 1 spacecraft of
the asteroid Braille 
10.25 - 10.35  E. Dotto, M.A. Barucci, T. G. Mueller et al  ISO observations
of asteroids 
10.40 - 10.50  S.D. Price, M.P. Egan  Space-based infrared characterization
of asteroids 
10.55 - 11.20  Coffee Break    

Chairs: A. Milani and W.B. Bottke 
11.20 - 11.45  A. Morbidelli (Invited)  Dynamical structure of the asteroid
12.00 - 12.10  J. Spitale, R. Greenberg  Finite-different calculations of
the general Yarkovsky effect 
12.15 - 12.25  A. Shukolyukov, G.W. Lugmair  Chronology of asteroid
accretion and differentiation 
12.30 - 12.40  V. Carruba, J. A. Burns, W. B. Bottke  Dynamical scattering
of asteroid families 
12.45 - 12.55  W. Bottke, D. Vokrouhlicky, M. Broz, A. Morbidelli
Yarkovsky-assisted escape of kilometer-sized asteroids from the main belt 
13.00  Lunch    
15.00 - 15.10  W.R. Ward  Early erosion of the asteroid belt 
15.15 - 15.25  O. Manuel  Compositional variations in asteroids: a record of
the early solar system 
15.30 - 15.40  M. Nagasawa, S. Ida, H. Tanaka  Orbital excitation of
asteroids during depletion of a protoplanetary disk 
15.45 - 15.55  D. Nesvorny, A. Morbidelli, D. Vokrouhlicky, B. Bottke, M.
Broz  The Flora family: a case of the dynamically dispersed collisional
swarm ? 

Chairs: K. Muinonen and E.S. Howell 
16.00 - 16.25  P.Pravec, A.W. Harris USA  Asteroid rotations 
16.40 - 16.50  I.N. Belskaya, V.G. Shevchenko  Photometry and polarimetry of
main-belt asteroids: main features and correlations 
16.55 - 17.20  Tea Break   
17.20 - 17.30  K.S. Jarvis, A.L. Cochran, M.S. Kelley, F. Villas  More
Vesta, more Vestoids: New spectra and their significance for parent body
17.35 - 17.45  E.S. Howell, A.S. Rivkin, F. Vilas  Uneven distribution of
aqueously altered minerals on asteroids 
17.50 - 18.15  S.J Bus (Invited)  Spectroscopic and taxonomic
characterization of asteroids 
18.30 - 19.30  POSTER SESSION  SESSIONS IV, V and VI 

Wednesday, June 13
09.00 - 09.10  R.P. Binzel  Physical properties of Near-Earth objects: an
09.15 - 09.25  A.W.Harris, DLR Berlin  The albedos and taxonomy of small
09.30 - 09.40  L.V. Moroz, A.V. Korochantsev, R. Waesch, G. Arnold  Surface
color variations of dark asteroids and other low albedo small bodies due to
organic components 
09.45 - 09.55  S. Sasaki, K. Nakamura, W. Hamabe, E. Kurahashi, T. Hiroi  A
successful simulation of space weathering: spectral darkening and reddening
by production of nanophase iron particles 
10.00 - 10.10  C.W. Hergenrother, R. J. Whiteley, P. Pravec, S. M. Larson
Small monolithic fast-rotating asteroids 
10.15 - 10.25  M.Yanagisawa  Rotation rates of non-spherical asteroids 
10.30 - 10.40  K.A. Holsapple  Shape limits for Rock Pile asteroids 
10.45 - 10.55  D.T. Britt, D.K. Yeomans, G.J. Consolmagno S.J., K.R. Housen
Asteroids porosity and internal structure 
11.00 - 11.25  Coffee Break    
11.25 - 11.50  A. Ghosh, H.Y. McSween, Jr., R.E. Grimm, L.Wilson, E.D. Young
(Invited)  Importance of thermal models in understanding asteroid evolution

12.05 - 12.15  P. Washabaugh, D.J. Scheeres  Energy and stress distributions
in ellipsoids 
12.20 - 12.30  R.J.Whiteley, D.J. Tholen  Spectrophotometric observations of
small near-earth asteroids 
12.35 - 12.45  K. Muinonen  Interpreting asteroid photometry and polarimetry
using a single multiple-scattering model 
12.50 - 13.00  Yu. Shkuratov, A. Ovcharenko, K. Muinonen, J. Piironen, R.
Nelson  Laboratory studies for the opposition effect and negative
polarization of simulated asteroid regoliths 
13.05  Lunch    
14.00 ca. Excursion

Thursday, June 14

Chairs: B. Clark and A. Cellino 
09.00 - 09.25  E. Asphaug, E. Ryan, M. Zuber (Invited)  Asteroid interiors 
09.40 - 10.05  W.J. Merline (Invited)  Asteroid satellites 
10.20 - 10.30  D.D. Durda, W. Bottke Jr., E. Asphaug et al  Numerical models
of the formation of asteroid satellites 
10.35 - 10.45  A. Campo Bagatin, J.M. Petit  Geometric constraints on the
size distributions of asteroidal fragments 
10.50 - 11.00  A. Cellino, V. Zappalą  The identification of the most likely
parent bodies of large NEAs 
11.05 - 11.30  Coffee Break    
11.30 - 11.40  P. Michel, W. Benz, P. Tanga, D.C. Richardson  New
simulations of collisions between asteroids in the gravity regime:
comparison with the properties of some observed asteroid families 
11.45 - 11.55  K.R.Housen  Impact cratering on porous asteroids 
12.00 - 12.25  V. Zappalą (Invited)  New results in asteroid families 
12.40 - 12.50  M.S. Kelley  Progress on genetic testing and geologic mapping
of dynamical asteroid families: the FACES database 
12.55 - 13.05  B.A. Ivanov, G. Neukum, W.K. Hartmann  The comparison of
size-frequency distributions of impact craters and asteroids, and the
planetary cratering rate 
13.10  Lunch    
15.00 - 15.10  Z.M. Leinhardt, D.C. Richardson  Planetesimal evolution: a
mass ratio study of rubble pile collisions 
15.15 - 15.25  D. O'Brien, R. Greeenberg  The collisional evolution of
really tiny asteroids: implications for their size-distribution and


Chairs: A. Carusi and D. Steel 
15.30 - 15.55  D.Morrison (Invited)  Dealing with the Asteroids impact
16.10 - 16.20  G. D'Abramo, A.W.Harris USA, A. Boattini, S.C. Werner, A.W.
Harris DLR, G. B. Valsecchi  Estimating the population of near-earth
asteroids through the detection/re-detection method 
16.25 - 16.35  A.W. Harris, USA  The Spaceguard Survey: How are we doing? 
16.40 - 16.50  A. Rossi, D.J. Scheeres, F. Marzari  Evolution of NEOs
rotation rate due to repeated close encounters with the earth 
16.55 - 17.20  Tea Break    
17.20 - 17.45  T. H. Burbine (Invited)  Asteroid-meteorite relationships 
18.00 - 18.10  G.J.Flynn  Physical properties of stone meteorites:
implications for the properties of stone asteroids 
18.15 - 18.25  D.I. Steel  Groupings among near-earth objects 

Friday, June 15
09.00 - 09.10  T. Mukai, M. Ishiguro, M. Fujino et al  Observations of
asteroidal dust clouds 
09.15 - 09.25  S. Dermott, D. Durda, K. Grogan, T. Kehoe  Asteroidal dust 

Chairs: D. Lazzaro and C.M. Lisse 
09.30 - 09.55  P.Weissman, W. Bottke, M.Hicks, H.Levison (Invited)
Evolution of comets into asteroids 
10.10 - 10.20  Virtanen J., Muinonen K., Laakso T., Kaasalainen M., Bowell
E.  Optimized orbital ranging for trans-Neptunian and near-Earth objects 
10.25 - 10.35  Y. Fernandez, D. Jewitt, S. Sheppard  Low albedo among
extinct comet candidates 
10.40 - 10.50  H.U. Keller  Are inactive comets asteroids? 
10.55 - 11.20  Coffee Break    
11.20 - 11.45  M.A. Barucci (Invited)  Trojans, Centaurs and relations to
the Kuiper belt 
12.00 - 12.10  C.M. Lisse  The evolution of cometary bodies into asteroids -
clues from observations of cometary dust 
12.15 - 12.25  S. Mottola, M. Di Martino, A. Erikson  Rotation properties of
Jupiter Trojan asteroids 
12.30 - 12.40  F. Marzari, H. Scholl  On the instability of Jupiter Trojans

12.45  Lunch    

Chairs: M. Fulchignoni and C. Chapman 
14.45 - 15.10  D.K. Yeomans, R.W. Farquhar, J. Kawaguchi, C.T. Russel, G.H.
Schwehm, J. Veverka (Invited)  Spacecraft exploration of asteroids: past,
present and future 
15.25 - 15.35  H.Yano, M. Abe, H.Yamakawa, M. Yoshikawa, A. Fujiwara  The
Family Mission: multiple Fly-bys and sample returns to main belt asteroid
15.40 - 15.50  A. Fujiwara, T. Mukai, A. Abe, H. Yano, J. Kawaguchi, K.
Uesugi  Sample return and science by MUSES-C 
15.55 - 16.05  L. Bussolino, A. Ferri, R. Somma, V. Zappalą, A. Cellino, A.
Carusi, G. Valsecchi  Studying a mission for physical characterization of
16.10 - 16.20  A.R. Hildebrand, K.A. Caroll, D.D. Balam, et al  The
near-earth space surveillance (NESS) mission: discovery, tracking and
characterization of asteroids and comets with a microsatellite 
16.25 - 16.35  A. Milani, S. R. Chesley, P.W. Chodas, G.B. Valsecchi
Asteroid close approaches and monitoring for possible impacts 
16.40 - 17.05  Tea Break    
17.05 - 17.15  M.S.J. Belton, E. Asphaug, W. Huebner, D. Yeomans  Scientific
requirements for NEO impact mitigation 
17.20 - 17.30  A. Carusi, G. Valsecchi, G. D' Abramo, A. Boattini
Deflecting near-earth objects (NEOs) in route of collision with the earth:
preliminary results of numerical simulations 
17.35 - 17.45  G. Sommer  A policy framework for the NEO problem: advocates,
institutions and social benefit 
17.50 - 18.30  R. Binzel, V. Zappala'  Concluding remarks and Discussion
Chair: E. Bowell 
18.30  End  


From Mark Hess  <>

Cynthia O'Carroll                                       June 12, 2001

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

(Phone: 301/614-5563)

Release No. 01-62N / Note to Editors


The explosion of the Mt. Pinatubo volcano on June 15, 1991, was the largest
volcanic eruption the world had seen in nearly a century. In addition to the
widespread destruction that the volcano wrought on the Philippine island of
Luzon, Mt. Pinatubo's impact was felt around the world. Global average
temperatures cooled for more than a year after the eruption due to the
massive injection of dust and gases into the upper atmosphere.

With the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption, the global effects of volcanoes on
climate were captured in detail for the first time by a suite of
Earth-observing satellites. The following scientists who were involved in
many of these trailblazing studies are available for interviews:

... A Temporary Global Cooling. Global warming was halted - at least
temporarily - by the aerosol cloud from the eruption, which lowered global
average temperatures by 0.5 degrees Celsius (about 1 degree Fahrenheit)
through 1992. NASA climate modelers precisely predicted this volcano-induced
cooling - a powerful demonstration of the capability of these computer
simulations. Contact: James Hansen, NASA Goddard Institute for Space
Studies, New York, N.Y.; tel. 212-678-5500; e-mail

... A Global Pall of Dust and Aerosols. Pinatubo pumped so much volcanic ash
and gas into the upper reaches of the atmosphere that the normal levels of
stratospheric aerosols increased by more than 20 times, leading to a
short-lived global cooling. Contact: Phil Russell, NASA Ames Research
Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Public Affairs contact: John Bluck; tel.
650-604-5026 or 9000; e-mail

... Ozone Levels Drop Worldwide. The protective ozone layer in the upper
atmosphere weakened for more than a year as the result of gases injected
into the stratosphere by the eruption. NASA's TOMS instrument tracked the
decline and eventual recovery from start to finish. Contact: Jay Herman,
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; tel. 301-614-6039; e-mail

... A Shift in the Weather and Winds. The eruption also caused changes in
regional weather patterns. Climate models showed that Pinatubo produced a
shift in wind patterns in the North Atlantic that lead to a
warmer-than-usual winter in Europe in 1991-92. Contacts: Gavin Schmidt,
Columbia University and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York,
N.Y.; tel. 212-678-5627; e-mail Drew Shindell, NASA
Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, N.Y.; tel. 212-678-5561;

... Mudflows: A Continuing Hazard. The millions of tons of ash and rock that
blanketed the flanks of Mt. Pinatubo created dangerous rivers of mud during
the annual rainy season. Scientists are keeping an eye on this shifting
natural hazard with airborne and space sensors. Contact: Peter
Mouginis-Mark, University of Hawaii, Honolulu; tel. 808-956-3147; e-mail

... A New View of the Swirling Atmosphere. The Mt. Pinatubo eruption was a
unique natural experiment that unveiled movements in the atmosphere that
scientists had never seen before. As satellites tracked volcanic aerosols
moving around the globe, researchers saw movements through the troposphere
into the stratosphere for the first time. Contact: Chip Trepte, NASA Langley
Research Center, Hampton, Va.; tel. 757-864-5836; e-mail

Visualizations of Mt. Pinatubo and several of these global climate effects
will be broadcast on NASA TV on Wednesday, June 13 at 12 noon, 3:00 p.m. and
6:00 p.m. EDT. NASA TV is broadcast on the GE2 satellite which is located on
Transponder 9C, at 85 degrees West longitude, frequency 3880.0 MHz, audio
6.8 MHz.


from, 7 June 2001

By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer

WASHINGTON -- Noted space visionary and writer, Sir Arthur C. Clarke,
believes that new images of Mars clearly show the red planet dotted with
patches of vegetation, including trees. Such a find may help spark a far
grander space program more aligned with the adventure and exploration
portrayed in the epic film, 2001: A Space Odyssey - the collaborative work
of both Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick.

Clarke spoke last night, June 6, via phone from his home in Sri Lanka as key
speaker in the Wernher von Braun Memorial Lecture series held here at the
Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

Pouring over images on his home computer taken by the now-orbiting Mars
Global Surveyor (MGS), Clarke said that there are signs of vegetation
evident in the photos.

"I'm quite serious when I say have a really good look at these new Mars
images," Clarke said. "Something is actually moving and changing with the
seasons that suggests, at least, vegetation," he said.

Clarke repeated several times that he was serious about his observations,
pointing out that he sees something akin to Banyan trees in some MGS photos.

Science met its match

Joining Clarke in last night's lecture was a panel of space authorities,
Apollo 17 moonwalker, Eugene Cernan, science fiction writer, Ben Bova, and
space historian Fred Ordway.

Cernan said that he has concluded there's little difference between science
fiction and science fact. He said that the only difference is time, a
dimension we know so little about.

"Standing on the surface of the Moon in sunlight, you are surrounded by the
blackest black that you can allow your mind to conceive. Not darkness, but
blackness," Cernan said. That view affords a person a face-to-face look at
the endlessness of time and the endlessness of space, with Earth moving
through that blackness. What you see is infinity, he said.

"I have looked and focused as far as I can focus on infinity. I can tell you
that it literally does exist," Cernan said.

Awestruck by the vista from his trek to the Moon, now over a quarter of a
century ago, Cernan said that he came to a point "where science did not have
an explanation" for what he saw. "It was just too beautiful to have happened
by accident. Science met its match," he said.

The other things

Cernan decried the fact that the country's space exploration agenda today
rings hollow compared to the past.

"What's it going to take to get people to dream again, to realize they can
once again do the impossible?" Cernan asked. "John F. Kennedy said that we
plan to go the Moon 'and do those other things'...we haven't done the other
things yet," he said.

Ben Bova said that NASA's program is driven by politics. If there's no
political push and no political will, then "I think it's going to have to
come from the private sector," he said.

How to reactivate America's space program to do bold things "is the $64
trillion question," Clarke responded by phone. Space tourism may act as a
trigger, he said, as could some major discovery, such as new findings on

Ordway said that 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the vision it portrays, came at
a time "when space was on everybody's agenda," he said.

Old and new worlds

"I think there's a real possibility there may be a propulsion breakthrough,"
Clarke said. "The rocket is going to play the same role in space as the
balloon did in aviation. It will be superseded by something much better," he

Cernan said he remains optimistic about the future of space exploration.

In the future, people will not only be living on Mars, "they are going to be
coming back to see where their forefathers grew up," Cernan said. "I think
someday they will be talking about the Old World and the New World, and
we're going to co-exist together. That's science fiction today, but give us
time," he said.

Clarke said however, that such a scenario has one problem.

"I'm afraid the great, great grandchildren won't be very happy back here on
Earth at three times normal gravity," Clarke said.

Copyright 2001,



From Peter Haines <>

Dear Benny,

In CCNet 77/2001 Michael Paine wrote:

Here is an extract from a web page about tektites that Hermann
Burchard brought to my attention. Does anyone have more information about
the 'circular feature' mentioned below?

The circular feature in question is clearly the 'Qui Nhon Slope Anomaly'
described by Schnetzler et al. in 1988: Schnetzler, C.C., Walter, L.S.,
Marsh, J.G. 1988. Source of the Australasian tektite strewn field - A
possible off-shore impact site. Geophysical Research Letters 15, 357-360.

An abbreviated version of the abstract can be found here:

To my knowledge no follow-up work has been done to further investigate the
anomaly, it's age or origin.

Regards, Peter Haines
University of Tasmania

*  Dr Peter Haines
*  Lecturer in Sedimentology  
*  School of Earth Sciences, University of Tasmania
*  GPO Box 252-79 Hobart, Tasmania 7001, AUSTRALIA  
*  email:
*  phone: +61 3 6226 7157      fax: +61 3 6223 2547 


From Andy Smith <>

Hello Benny and CCNet,

It was great to see the reports from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and
the Subaru Telescope (8 June CCNet report). We need their help to find the
Near-Earth Objects (NEO), before the next one of them finds us.

Since most of the NEO are smaller than magnitude 21, they (and the other
super-telescopes) are the only ones who can easiely find most of them.

It was especially interesting to learn that the SDSS can determine good
orbits, during the 5 minutes of asteroid visibility. This is extremely
valuable data to us, and we want to request that both the SDSS and the
Subaru submit NEO reports to the Minor Planet Center, on new discoveries, if
at all possible and if they are not presently doing so.

If this is not possible, perhaps a way can be found to have their
discoveries followed-up by some other facility(s), which could make a report
to MPC and share the  discovery credit.

The most important thing, from the planetary protection standpoint, is to
identify these potential killers, at every opportunity. The present World
data base (MPC) contains only a tiny fraction of the serious threat
population (about 1%) and without the help of these large telescopes, it
will take about 300 nail-biting years to find the rest.

A look at the asteroid size distribution, provided in the SDSS article,
suggests that the magnitude of the NEO threat is not changed significantly,
by the new SDSS main-belt findings. We are still facing more than 100,000
menacing  NEO that are larger than the Tunguska and Arizona super
rock-bombs.... each equal to 20 megatons(TNT) or so of destructive impact

We welcome the super-telescopes (SDSS, Subaru, CFH and others) to the NEO
hunt and we emplore them to help us identify the undiscovered NEO.


Andy Smith
International Planetary Protection


From Worth Crouch <>
Dear Dr. Peiser:

I was pleased to read the May 31, 2001 extract taken from Edward A. Bryant's
new book TSUNAMI: THE UNDERRATED HAZARD. For many years I have been a
proponent of the historical and anthropological evidence indicating a
maritime seafaring people from America, that built megalithic type tombs and
structures, discovered and inhabited parts of coastal Europe about 7000
years ago. However, a question has remained in my mind even though evidence
gathered by Dr. William Fitzheau of the Smithsonian Institute in 1980, and
Erich Brinch Petersen of the Danish National Museum indicate American
Maritime Archaic people probably migrated to Europe at least 7200 years ago.
I have always questioned how the Maritime Archaic, or Red Paint People as
they were called by the American anthropologist Dr. Moorhead, were able to
get a foothold in a Europe composed of folks with a different complexion,
culture, and competing for similar resources. I know the Norsemen or Vikings
tried to colonize America for at least 200 years without success and were
eventually stopped by Native Americans. Moreover, Norse technology in AD 800
-1000 was superior to the Native American's as well as the earlier Maritime
Archaic technology. Until now I have wondered how the Red Paints could
colonize even a few sights on the European coast successfully considering
the Maritime Archaic in Europe, like the Vikings in America, must have been
terribly outnumbered. Evidence from excavations in Nuilliak Cove Labrador,
Vedbaek Norway, Port au Cvhoix Newfoundland, Teviec Brittany, L'Anse Amour
Newfoundland, and Muge Portugal all indicate the communities were probably
populated by Red Paint People. The oldest Maritime Archaic sight in Europe
is Teviec prospering about 7200 years ago, off the coast of Brittany in
France, and the artifacts, method of burial, artistic designs, and evidence
of shamanistic rituals of the Maritime Archaic in Europe are amazingly
similar to the other Red Paint sights in America.

The purpose of this correspondence is not to argue the merits of the Red
Paint People's claim to Europe, but instead to use information from Edward
A. Bryant's new book and answer my previously unanswered question. He
writes, "One of the more disturbing accounts has been compiled from these
legends by Edith and Alexander Tollmann of the University of Vienna, who
believe that a comet circling the sun fragmented into seven large bodies
that crashed into the world's oceans 8,200 ± 200 years ago. This age is
based on radiocarbon dates from Vietnam, Australia and Europe. The impacts
generated an atmospheric fireball that globally affected society. This was
followed by a nuclear winter characterised by global cooling. More
significantly, enormous tsunami swept across coastal plains and, if the
legends are to be believed, overwashed the centre of continents. The latter
phenomenon, if true, most likely was associated with the splash from the
impacts rather than with conventional tsunami run-up. Massive floods then
occurred across continents. The event may well have an element of truth.
Figure 8.9 plots the location of the seven impact sites derived from
geological evidence and legends. Two of these sites, in the Tasman and North
Seas, have been identified as having mega-tsunami events around this time.
The North Sea impact centre corresponds with the location of the Storegga
slides described in Chapter 6. Here, the main tsunami took place 7,950 ±190
years ago."

If the before mentioned information in Bryant's book is correct it would
explain why the Red Paints did not face a formidable European population
opposing their coastal colonization. In fact the coastal European population
would have been washed away by the results of a comet's North Sea impacting
tsunami 700 years before the Red Paints discovered Europe. Also if the
actions of New Zealand Aboriginal Coastal tribes surviving a comet's
resulting tsunami in AD 1178, can be superimposed on those Europeans
surviving the resulting North Sea tsunami around 7950 years ago the
Europeans would probably have avoided the coast as did the New Zealand
Aboriginals for hundreds of years. Thus, allowing the Red Paints to colonize
without much opposition, and build their fragile coastal communities along
with their sturdy megaliths, the origons of which subsequently frustrate
future generations of historians.


Worth F. Crouch
Society of Choctaw Astrobiologists


From Hermann Burchard <>

Dear Benny,

below are three abstracts from the pages of NATURE constituting an
interesting discussion among two groups of authors (Spray et al. vs. Kent)
on a Tr/J (late Triassic)-related theory of multiple cosmogenic impacts -- a
single comet breaking up immediately prior to impact and making five
well-known craters.

If it happened then, it may have happened at other times as well, such as
P/Tr.  This lends new credence to some of my "wild" speculations (see note
on CCNet of April 27 and Errata May 2).

These articles are a bit older, so it is quite possible that references to
or abstracts of this material below have been posted by the moderator on
CCNet on an earlier occasion.

There is clearly some information missing in the second abstract (Kent's,
although the text given is the full abstract as posted by NATURE).  However,
no harm is done as the missing parts (Kent's objections to Spray et al.'s
proposed multiple impact theory) are readily apparent from reading the third
abstract (Spray's reply to Kent).  Also, I have deleted some of the HTML.

   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

12 March 1998
Letters to Nature
Nature 392, 171 - 173 (1998) © Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Evidence for a late Triassic multiple impact event on Earth


Evidence for the collision of fragmented comets or asteroids with some of
the larger (jovian) planets and their moons is now well established
following the dramatic impact of the disrupted comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with
Jupiter in 1994 (ref. 1). Collisions by fragmented objects result in
multiple impacts that can lead to the formation of linear crater chains, or
catenae, on planetary surfaces. Here we present evidence for a multiple
impact event that occurred on Earth. Five terrestrial impact structures have
been found to possess comparable ages (214 Myr), coincident with the Norian
stage of the Triassic period. These craters are Rochechouart (France),
Manicouagan and Saint Martin (Canada), Obolon' (Ukraine) and Red Wing (USA).
When these impact structures are plotted on a tectonic reconstruction of the
North American and Eurasian plates for 214 Myr before present, the three
largest structures (Rochechouart, Manicouagan and Saint Martin)  are
co-latitudinal at 22.8° (within 1.2°, [glyph.gif] 110 km), and span 43.5° of
palaeolongitude. These structures may thus represent the remains of a crater
chain at least 4,462 km long. The Obolon' and Red Wing craters, on the other
hand, lie on great circles of identical declination with Rochechouart and
Saint Martin, respectively. We therefore suggest that the five impact
structures were formed at the same time (within hours) during a multiple
impact event caused by a fragmented comet or asteroid colliding with Earth.
   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

10 September 1998
Scientific Correspondence
Nature 395, 126 (1998) © Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Impacts on Earth in the Late Triassic


Sprayet al. postulate that five widely dispersed terrestrial impact
structures with very similar geological age estimates (about 214 million
years ago, in the Late Triassic epoch) are evidence of a multiple impact
event. Most notably, the three largest impact structures, Saint Martin in
western Canada (40 km diameter), Manicouagan in eastern Canada (100 km
diameter), and Rochechouart in France (25 km diameter), plot at virtually
the same palaeolatitude in a continental reconstruction. Spray et al.
suggest that this apparent crater chain was produced within hours as a
series of coaxial projectiles collided in rapid succession with the rotating
planet Earth, and drew analogies to the recent collision sequence of
fragmented comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter.
 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

10 September 1998
Scientific Correspondence
Nature 395, 126 (1998) © Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

Reply: Impacts on Earth in the Late Triassic


Spray replies --Kent raises an interesting point regarding the proposed late
Triassic multiple-impact event. It might appear contradictory that the
Manicouagan (100 km diameter) and Rochechouart (25 km diameter) impact
structures possess normal and reversed geomagnetic reversals, respectively,
if they were formed within hours of each other, as we suggested. However,
palaeomagnetic fields are acquired when magnetic mineral phases pass through
their Curie points (the temperatures at which iron minerals assume magnetic
order and remain with their magnetic moments parallel to the Earth's
magnetic field at that time). Critically, this does not necessarily coincide
with the time of formation of the host rocks.


From Alasdair Beal < >

Dear Benny,

2300BC Catastrophe - new papers by Moe Mandelkehr

Those interested in evidence that the Earth suffered a major catastrophe
around 2300BC may be interested to know that Moe Mandelkehr, who first put
forward the theory in a series of articles in SIS Chronology & Catastrophism
Review in the 1980s (C&CR  V 1983 pp. 77-95, C&CR IX 1987, pp. 34-44 and
C&CR X 1988, pp. 11-22), has continued his researches and a new series of
paper by him is being published in SIS Chronology & Catastrophism Review.
'The Causal Source for the climatic Changes in 2300BC' and 'The Causal
Source for the Geological Transients at 2300BC' appeared in C&CR 1999:1 (pp.
3-16) and C&CR 2001:1 features Moe Mandelkehr's latest paper 'Geomagnetic
Effects of an Earthwide Event in 2300BC' (pp. 4-10).

More details of these plus subscription details can be obtained at

Yours sincerely,

Alasdair Beal
Editor SIS Chronology & Catastrophism Review

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by Michael Paine, The Planetary Society Australian Volunteers


A possible mechanism for transfer of life between planets is via rocks
ejected by major asteroid or comet impacts. The term "transpermia" was
coined by Oliver Morton to describe the transfer of lifeforms by this method
and to distinguish it from the more general concept of panspermia. Davies
(1998a-c) discusses several possibilities for transpermia including
hypothetical Mars-life reaching Earth; Earth-life reaching Mars, the Earth's
Moon and moons of the outer solar system and interstellar transfers via
meteoroids. Melosh (1994) outlines the mechanisms by which such transfers
can take place. Mileikowsky and others (2000) build on Melosh's work and
provide estimates of transfer rates between Mars and Earth over the past 500
million years.

[continued @ ]

CCCMENU CCC for 2001

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