PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 68/2002 - 13 June 2002
----------------------------


        "Today astronomers said they have traced the paths of a handful of
these fragments back to their origin, piecing together  what is now the most
well documented and recent example of  asteroid destruction and creation.
The work will provide a wealth of new information about  rocks from space
and the overall development of the solar system, including Earth. It could
also help scientists model what would happen if they ever try to blow up an
asteroid that   is heading toward our planet.
              --Robert Roy Britt, Space.com, 12 June 2002


        "I believe that, consciously or unconsciously, interest in space
societies is as high as it   is because their future in many ways mirrors
our own. Many characteristics of space societies, such as strong dependence
on advanced technology, problems with maintaining environmental quality, the
need for people to work together under stress, and individuals' strong
dependence upon their society for basic necessities such as food and water,
are simply amplified images of characteristics already present, and growing,
in our own society. This is a good reason for being interested in space
societies, since by studying   their problems we gain a window into our
future on Earth."
              --Glenn Harlan Reynolds, Tech Central Station, 12 June 2002

 
(1) RECENT CRASH CREATED YOUNGEST KNOWN ASTEROID FAMILY
    Space.com, 12 June 2002

 
(2) FRAGMENTS IN SPACE TRACED BACK TO ANCIENT ASTEROID COLLISION
    San Diego Union Tribune, 12 June 2002
 
(3) THE RECENT BREAKUP OF AN ASTEROID IN THE MAIN-BELT REGION
     Nature 417, 720 - 771 (2002)

(4) NASA'S CONTOUR MISSION GETS TO THE "HEART" OF COMET DIVERSITY
      NASANews@hq.nasa.gov

(5) PLANETARY SOCIETY OF JAPAN WILL SEND NAMES TO ASTEROID
    The Planetary Society  < tps@planetary.org

(6) FREE LECTURES LINK SPACE ROCKS AND EARTH LIFE
    Ron Baalke < baalke@jpl.nasa.gov
 
(7) WE THE PEOPLE OF MARS .... Tech Central Station, 12 June 2002

 

============
(1) RECENT CRASH CREATED YOUNGEST KNOWN ASTEROID FAMILY

>From Space.com, 12 June 2002
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/asteroid_collision_020612.html


By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer

A few million years ago, two asteroids collided in interplanetary space. The
smaller, aggressor rock was pulverized to dust as it shattered the larger
target rock into millions of small and large fragments which were violently
dispersed in all sorts of new directions.

Today astronomers said they have traced the paths of a handful of these
fragments back to their origin, piecing together what is now the most well
documented and recent example of asteroid destruction and creation. The work
will provide a wealth of new information about rocks from space and the
overall development of the solar system, including Earth.

It could also help scientists model what would happen if they ever try to
blow up an asteroid that is heading toward our planet.

Fresh faces

Asteroids were originally formed more than 4 billion years ago, during a
chaotic time when the planets developed around a new Sun.

Since then most of them -- including the handful that have been visited by
spacecraft -- have undergone multiple impacts and are mere vestiges of their
parent bodies. Some are piles of rubble, the result of many impacts. Most
are scarred and pitted, their courses altered many times over, their origins
difficult to trace.

About 20 asteroid families, however, were created recently enough to be
identified as having common origins.

Now David Nesvorny and his colleagues at the Southwest Research Institute
(SwRI) have identified 39 known asteroids as debris from a collision that
took place practically yesterday in the history of the solar system. These
new creations are expected to be largely unaltered since their violent
generation just 5.8 million years ago.

The largest remnant is an asteroid named Karin, roughly 12.5 miles wide (20
kilometers). The cluster of boulders, which all exhibit similar composition,
has now been given the same name.

The Karin cluster was born when an asteroid estimated to be 1.9 miles wide
(3 kilometers) slammed into a 16-mile-wide (25 kilometers) rock at about
11,180 mph (5 km/s), Nesvorny explained. The target rock was 600 times more
massive than the smaller one.

At least hundreds and perhaps thousands of fragments larger than 0.62 miles
(1 kilometer) were produced, Nesvorny said. An asteroid this large could
cause a global catastrophe if it met up with Earth. The collision also
generated up to 100 million fragments as big as a football field, he said.
Such rocks could destroy a city. Preliminary observations also found space
dust that appears to be associated with the crash.

The results will be published in the June 13 issue of the journal Nature.

Glimpsing our past and future

University of Maryland researcher Derek Richardson, who was not involved in
the study, said it offers "unprecedented insight into the dynamics of
asteroid collisions -- and hence into how the planets of the solar system
formed." Here's why:

Earth and the other rocky planets had humble beginnings as rocks,
essentially asteroids that grew by gentle collisions to become planets
shortly after the Sun was born.

Back in those days, before Jupiter was fully formed, asteroid collisions
were more frequent. They also tended to be gentler, however, because most of
the material was orbiting the nascent Sun in the same direction. Rocks could
join forces and grow into larger objects, eventually able to absorb almost
any punch and continue on as a planet.

When Jupiter evolved into the massive object it is now, it began to fling
asteroids on wilder courses, thereby generating more catastrophic
collisions. What had been a freeway with well-designed onramps that led to
mild fender benders gained intersections with no stop lights that forced
some serious crackups.

The more violent collisions put a lid on further planet formation among all
but the most stout objects -- the four that became Mercury, Venus, Earth and
Mars.

[Most astronomers believe a Mars-sized object once hit Earth. The result?
Our Moon was forged during 24 hours of chaos. And yet Earth had enough bulk
to hang in there.]

Richardson, who wrote a review that is also published in Nature, said the
Karin cluster "will no doubt be the focus of attention for the asteroid
community for some time" and is a compelling target for a space mission.
Asteroids as small as Karin cannot be photographed or studied in detail any
other way.

Because the family-building crash occurred relatively recently, Richardson
said, "many erosional and weathering processes thought to occur on asteroid
surfaces may not have had time to erase the tell-tale signatures of the
break-up event."

The Bruce Willis factor

The cluster could also serve as a laboratory for scientists bent on blowing
up space rocks that might threaten Earth.

Most asteroids orbit the Sun in a belt between Mars and Jupiter. Astronomers
already knew the objects sometimes collide and send fragments on new
trajectories around the Sun. A few fragments, large and small, can be
gravitationally booted (by Jupiter) or lured (by the Sun) into the inner
solar system where they cross the path of Earth's orbit.

That's when they become dangerous, of course.

Some researchers have suggested that if an asteroid is ever found to be on a
collision course with our planet, a bomb or missile might be used to destroy
or deflect it. But since the idea hasn't been tested, no one knows how an
asteroid might come apart. It's possible that the fragments would end up
doing more harm than a single object, experts say.

"This event may teach us about how asteroid material breaks up when an
energetic impact and explosion occurs," Nesvorny said.

The study team also included William F. Bottke Jr, Luke Dones & Harold F.
Levison, all of the SwRI, which is in Boulder, Colorado.

Copyright 2002, Space.com

============
(2) FRAGMENTS IN SPACE TRACED BACK TO ANCIENT ASTEROID COLLISION

>From San Diego Union Tribune, 12 June 2002
http://www.uniontrib.com/news/science/20020612-1424-asteroidcollision.html


By Mark Evans
ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 12, 2002

Scientists have identified dozens of asteroids as remnants of a larger space
rock that was smashed apart a relatively recent 5.8 million years ago - a
finding that could yield clues to how to destroy an asteroid headed toward
Earth.

The original asteroid - calculated to be about 15 miles in diameter - was
struck by a smaller object in catastrophic collision, said astronomer David
Nesvorny of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo.

The resulting 39 fragments - each between 1.2 miles to 11.8 miles in
diameter - remain between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, Nesvorny said.

The rocks could yield insights into the dynamics of space collisions, said
Nesvorny, who reported the findings in Thursday's issue of the journal
Nature.

"Other collisions we know about are old - billions of years old - so we
can't see exactly what happened later. This one happened very recently - and
what we see is a very pristine situation," he said.

Moreover, he said, the finding could lead to greater understanding of the
early solar system, since asteroid collisions are believed to have
contributed to the formation of planets.

It also may be possible to figure out exactly how the asteroid broke apart.
That, in turn, might provide clues to whether a nuclear blast or other
brute-force means could be used to stop an asteroid on a collision course
with Earth, he said.

"You may learn what happen when a body of this size breaks up. How would it
be possible to destroy it - by explosion on its surface or something else?"
he said.

In an accompanying commentary, astronomer Derek Richardson of the University
of Maryland said the study offers unprecedented insight into the physics of
collisions in space, and marks the first time an asteroid collision has been
accurately dated.

© Copyright 2002 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.

==========
(3) THE RECENT BREAKUP OF AN ASTEROID IN THE MAIN-BELT REGION

>From Nature 417, 720 - 771 (2002)

DAVID NESVORNÝ, WILLIAM F. BOTTKE JR, LUKE DONES & HAROLD F. LEVISON

Southwest Research Institute, 1050 Walnut St, Suite 426, Boulder,
Colorado 80302, USA
Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to D.N.
(e-mail: davidn@boulder.swri.edu).

The present population of asteroids in the main belt is largely the result
of many past collisions. Ideally, the asteroid fragments resulting from each
impact event could help us understand the large-scale collisions that shaped
the planets during early epochs. Most
known asteroid fragment families, however, are very old and have therefore
undergone significant collisional and dynamical evolution since their
formation. This evolution has masked the properties of the original
collisions. Here we report the discovery of a family of asteroids that
formed in a disruption event only 5.8  0.2 million years ago, and which has
subsequently undergone little dynamical and collisional evolution. We
identified 39 fragments, two of which are large and comparable in size
(diameters of 19 and 14 km), with the remainder exhibiting a continuum of
sizes in the range 2-7 km. The low measured ejection velocities suggest that
gravitational re-accumulation after a collision may be a common feature of
asteroid evolution. Moreover, these data can be used to check numerical
models of larger-scale collisions. Nature © Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2002

============
(4) NASA'S CONTOUR MISSION GETS TO THE "HEART" OF COMET DIVERSITY

>From NASANews@hq.nasa.gov

Donald Savage
Headquarters, Washington           June 12, 2002
(Phone: 202/358-1754)

Michael Buckley
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory,
Laurel, MD
(Phone: 240/228-7536)

RELEASE: 02-110

NASA'S CONTOUR MISSION GETS TO THE "HEART" OF COMET DIVERSITY

Set to visit and study at least two comets, NASA's Comet Nucleus Tour
(CONTOUR) should provide the first detailed look at the differences between
these primitive building blocks of the solar system, and answer questions
about how comets act and evolve.

CONTOUR is scheduled to lift-off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,
Fla., on a three-stage Boeing Delta II expendable launch vehicle during a
25-day launch window that opens July 1 at 2:56 a.m. (EDT). The spacecraft
will orbit Earth until Aug. 15, when it should fire its main engine and
enter a comet-chasing orbit around the sun.

CONTOUR's flexible four-year mission plan includes encounters with comets
Encke, Nov.12, 2003, and Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, June 19, 2006. CONTOUR will
examine each comet's "heart," or nucleus, which scientists believe is a
chunk of ice and rock, often just a few kilometers across and hidden from
Earth-based telescopes beneath a dusty atmosphere and long tail.

"The CONTOUR mission will be NASA's second mission dedicated solely to
exploring these largely unknown members of our solar system," said Dr.
Colleen Hartman, Director of the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA
Headquarters in Washington. "CONTOUR joins our other operating mission,
Stardust, which is on its way to bring a sample of a comet back to Earth,
and Deep Impact will launch next year. These missions all help us find
answers to the fundamental questions of how our planet may have formed and
evolved, and how life may have begun on Earth and perhaps elsewhere in the
Universe."

The 8-sided solar-powered craft will fly as close as 100 kilometers (62
miles) to each nucleus, at top speeds that could cover the 56 kilometers
between Washington and Baltimore in two seconds. A five-layer dust shield of
heavy Nextel and Kevlar fabric protects the compact probe from comet dust
and debris.

"Comets are the solar system's smallest bodies, but among its biggest
mysteries," said Dr. Joseph Veverka, CONTOUR's principal investigator from
Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y "We believe they hold the most primitive
materials in the solar system and that they played a role in shaping some of
the planets, but we really have more ideas about comets than facts. CONTOUR
will change that by coming closer to a comet nucleus than any spacecraft
ever has before and gathering detailed, comparative data on these dynamic objects."

CONTOUR's four scientific instruments will take pictures and measure the
chemical makeup of the nuclei while analyzing the surrounding gases and
dust. Its main camera, the CONTOUR Remote Imager/Spectrograph (CRISP), will
snap high-resolution digital images showing car-sized rocks and other
features on the nucleus as small as 4 meters (about 13 feet) across. CRISP
will also search for chemical "fingerprints" on the surface, which would
provide the first hard evidence of comet nuclei composition.

The targets were selected because of their diversity and relative closeness
to Earth during encounter time -- less than 50 million kilometers (31
million miles) --allowing astronomers to make observations during the
encounters. Encke has been seen from Earth more than any other comet; it's
an "old" body that gives off relatively little gas and dust but remains more
active than scientists expect for a comet that has passed close to the sun
thousands of times. Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, on the other hand, was
discovered just 70 years ago and recently split into several pieces,
intriguing scientists with hopes that CONTOUR might see fresh, unaltered
surfaces and materials from inside the comet.

"The key to the CONTOUR mission is to visit a diverse range of comets, from
an evolved comet such as Encke, to a younger comet like SW3 or even a new
comet never seen in this part of the solar system," said Mary C. Chiu,
CONTOUR project manager at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md. "Our mission plan gives us that flexibility."

CONTOUR's orbit loops around the sun and back to Earth for annual "gravity
swings" toward its targets; these maneuvers refine or revise CONTOUR's
trajectory and help it reach several comets without using much fuel. CONTOUR
will cruise unattended between comet encounters and Earth swingbys in a
spin-stabilized "hibernation" mode, helping the mission reduce operations
and communications costs.

The $159 million CONTOUR is the sixth mission in NASA's Discovery Program of
lower cost, scientifically focused exploration projects. APL manages the
mission, built the spacecraft and its two cameras. NASA's Goddard Space
Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., provided CONTOUR's neutral gas/ion mass
spectrometer and von Hoerner & Sulger, GmbH, Schwetzingen, Germany, built
the dust analyzer. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will
provide navigation and Deep Space Network (DSN) support.

Additional information about CONTOUR is available on the web  at:
http://www.contour2002.org

=============
(5) PLANETARY SOCIETY OF JAPAN WILL SEND NAMES TO ASTEROID

>From The Planetary Society  <tps@planetary.org>

NEWS RELEASE

The Planetary Society
65 N. Catalina Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91106-2301 (626) 793-5100 Fax (626)
793-5528 E-mail: tps@planetary.org  Web: http://planetary.org


For Immediate Release: June 11, 2002
Contact: Susan Lendroth

The Planetary Society of Japan (TPS/J) has launched a worldwide campaign to
deliver several hundred thousand names to an asteroid on MUSES-C, the first
sample return mission to an asteroid. Those interested in sending their
names must hurry - the deadline for submissions is July 5, 2002. TPS/J is
affiliated with The Planetary Society.

Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, ISAS, will launch the
MUSES-C spacecraft in November or December, 2002. Its destination is
Asteroid 1998SF36, which is about 700m x 300m in size.

TPS/J has already collected over 160,000 names in a campaign promoted in
Japan with the theme,"Let's fly to meet your star prince," an allusion to
the title character in Saint-Exupery's famous story, "The Little Prince."
The Little Prince makes his home on an asteroid.

"The Planetary Society maintains close ties with The Planetary Society of
Japan and strongly supports the effort to involve the public in the MUSES-C
Mission," said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society.
"The mission to return a sample of the asteroid to Earth is a bold and
scientifically valuable undertaking,"

MUSES is an acronym for a series of missions that have been launched on a MU
rocket using the Space Engineering Spacecraft. "C" indicates that this is
the third mission of the series. According to Japanese custom, the mission
will receive a permanent name after it is launched.

The names of individuals will be etched on an aluminum foil sheet, which
will be enclosed inside a target marker -- a softball-sized artificial ball.
The target marker will be released onto the asteroid surface as a guide to
enable the MUSES-C spacecraft to touch down safely to collect samples.

ISAS, the space agency responsible for Japanese robotic exploration of the
solar system, successfully flew the names of 270,000 people aboard NOZOMI,
which is currently en route to Mars.

The MUSES-C campaign is the latest in a series of similar ventures sponsored
by The Planetary Society. Previous Society programs to send names to space
include the Mars Pathfinder in 1997; Stardust, launched in 1999, and The
Planetary Society's own Cosmos 1, The first solar sail.

TPS/J is the first international affiliate of The Planetary Society. Since
its inception in 1999, the Japanese organization has sponsored a variety of
public outreach activities through its website and publications, both
independently and in cooperation with The Planetary Society.

To send names to an asteroid on MUSES-C, and to be a part of history, visit
The Planetary Society's website at http://planetary.org
To learn more about the MUSES-C mission, visit
http://www.isas.ac.jp/e/enterp/missions/muses-c/cont.htm


THE PLANETARY SOCIETY:
Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in
1980 to advance the exploration of the solar system and to continue the
search for extraterrestrial life. With members in over 140 countries, the
Society is the largest space interest group in the world.

CONTACT INFORMATION:
For more information about The Planetary Society, contact Susan Lendroth at
(626) 793-5100 ext 237 or by e-mail at susan.lendroth@planetary.org.

The Planetary Society
65 N. Catalina Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91106-2301
Tel:  (626) 793-5100
Fax:  (626) 793-5528
E-Mail:  tps@planetary.org

=============
(6) FREE LECTURES LINK SPACE ROCKS AND EARTH LIFE

>From Ron Baalke <baalke@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: Martha J. Heil (818) 354-0850

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                         June 12, 2002

FREE LECTURES LINK SPACE ROCKS AND EARTH LIFE

The influence of asteroids and comets on life on Earth will be the topic of
two free, public lectures entitled "Comets, Asteroids and the Interplanetary
Shooting Gallery" at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Thursday, June 20,
and at Pasadena City College on Friday, June 21.

Dr. Don Yeomans, head of NASA's Near Earth Objects program office, will
discuss how comets and asteroids brought the building blocks of life to the
young Earth and how later impacts caused worldwide extinctions. He will also
describe steps being taken today to detect potentially hazardous comets and
asteroids.

Liquid water, carbon-based molecules and a relatively stable environment are
critical elements for life. Comets and asteroids can bring water and the
chemicals on which life is based, but can also bring widespread destruction.
If future impacts are inevitable, what should we do?

Both lectures begin at 7 p.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-served
basis. The JPL lecture will be webcast live and will be available after the
event at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/events/lectures/jun02.html


The lecture at JPL, located at 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, off the Oak
Grove Drive exit of the 210 (Foothill) Freeway, will be held in the von
Karman Auditorium. The Friday lecture will be held in Pasadena City
College's Vosloh Forum at 1570 E. Colorado Blvd.

For more information, visit
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/events/lectures/jun02.html

or call (818) 354-0112.  JPL is a division of the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena.

===========
(7) WE THE PEOPLE OF MARS ....

>From Tech Central Station, 12 June 2002
http://www.techcentralstation.com/1051/defensewrapper.jsp?PID=1051-350


By Glenn Harlan Reynolds 06/12/2002

In response to a column of mine on Mars a few weeks back, reader Philip
Shropshire posted a comment asking: "I'm curious as to what you think. Would
you prefer to live under the American constitution on Mars or a new
constitution that you designed yourself...in case you're looking for next
week's column material."

Well, I'm always happy with suggestions for new columns, but this isn't
actually all that new an idea. In fact, the Smithsonian Institution, in
cooperation with Boston University's Center for Democracy, produced a set of
principles for creating a new constitution to govern human societies on
Mars, and elsewhere in outer space; fellow lawyer John Ragosta and I drafted
an alternative proposal that was published in the American Bar Association's
journal of law, science and technology, Jurimetrics. (Alas, neither document
is available on the Web.)

Shropshire makes it easy, of course: I'd rather live under a new
constitution that I designed myself -- it's the constitutions designed by
other people that I'm worried about. Actually, that may not even be true.
The United States Constitution isn't perfect, but it's lasted a long time,
through all sorts of stresses, without producing the sort of tyranny or
genocide that has been all-too-common elsewhere, even in countries we
generally regard as civilized. So perhaps it's been demonstrated to be
"fault tolerant."

But the interesting (and worrying) thing about proposals for new
constitutions for outer space is that they mostly take it for granted that
the United States Constitution offers too much freedom. Writing in Ad Astra
magazine some years ago, William Wu writes that"[s]pace colonists may face
life on a political leash," and compares space colony life to that in an
oppressive company town. "In a company town, freedom of expression may be in
danger. Democracy permits citizens to make public statements about political
figures that they would never say openly about their immediate bosses or
top-level officers of the companies for which they work. The security and
efficiency of a well-organized and well-run company town in space might be
politically stifling. . . . The colonization of space may point toward a
weakening of individual rights and a strengthening of government power."

The participants in the Smithsonian conference on space governance seemed to
feel the same way, stressing the need to balance individual freedoms against
the needs of the community rather strongly, and emphasizing a wide array of
social controls: "The imperatives of the community safety," they wrote, "and
individual survival within the unique environment of outer space shall be
guaranteed in harmony with the exercise of such fundamental individual
rights as freedom of speech, religion, assembly, contract, travel to, in and
from outer space, media and communications." There's no similar provision in
the United States Constitution, and this probably reflects the participants'
belief that in space, we won't be able to afford as much freedom as we can
on Earth.

This view is probably wrong, but nonetheless it concerns me a great deal.

It is probably wrong because all of the available evidence is that things
don't work this way. Although there are some simulated Mars bases on Earth
now, the closest current analogs to a space colony are Antarctic bases. But
these are not harsh, dictatorial environments. By contrast, the kinds of
conditions that Antarctic crews face tend to force the abandonment of
traditional hierarchical systems in favor of more flexible ones. As Andrew
Lawler writes:

A winter base in Antarctica is a unique world, where the cook often has
greater prestige than the officer-in-charge and the radio operator can have
more influence than an established scientist. The traditional hierarchical
structure of the military, and of government as a whole, breaks down... This
was a controversial and embarrassing realization for the Navy. Flexible
authority and sharing of tasks among everyone are vital... This can run
against the grain of highly specialized scientists and career military
officers. The absence of women was also a factor. Navy traditions excluded
females from the continent, and this increased tensions.

Some lessons have been learned. With great reluctance, the Navy eventually
allowed women on the continent... A more flexible organizational structure
is tolerated, and private enterprise is now providing some services and
personnel... The Antarctican experience reminds us that the dangers of
mutiny or psychosis in a space station or colony are as real as the threat
of meteors or solar flares.

Experience, thus, tends to suggest that overly rigid and controlled
environments are harmful to survival under such conditions, not essential to
it. George Robinson and Harold White agree, stressing in their book Envoys
of Mankind that "the real answer to [space] community success probably lies
in motivated, self-actualized, strong, adventurous, unconventional, yet
disciplined and well-trained human beings."

I said that the negative view of liberties in space societies worries me
even though it is probably wrong. Here is why. I believe that, consciously
or unconsciously, interest in space societies is as high as it is because
their future in many ways mirrors our own. Many characteristics of space
societies, such as strong dependence on advanced technology, problems with
maintaining environmental quality, the need for people to work together
under stress, and individuals' strong dependence upon their society for
basic necessities such as food and water, are simply amplified images of
characteristics already present, and growing, in our own society.

This is a good reason for being interested in space societies, since by
studying their problems we gain a window into our future on Earth. It is
also a reason to be worried. For if there is a general belief that a high
level of interdependence and environmental fragility means that space
settlers will not be able to afford individual rights, then what of those of
us who remain on Earth under similar conditions? I don't think that the
march of technology has made individual rights obsolete, but I worry that
others do. And I believe that it is wrong. Just as space societies will need
access to the creativity and individual initiative of their inhabitants to
flourish, so will societies on Earth. Surely the failure of totalitarian
societies worldwide to achieve any kind of social -- or even material --
greatness illustrates that.

In fact, I think that although early Mars societies will not offer certain
kinds of freedoms that we enjoy on Earth -- such as the freedom to be
nonproductive sponges living off the labors of others -- they will offer
more freedom for individuals to make something of themselves. And I suspect
that, being populated by people willing to undertake a tremendous
life-altering journey in order to make something of themselves, they will
also be populated by people who are unwilling to be subjected to the sort of
pointless regulation that is all too often the rule on Earth. At that point,
they'll start writing their own constitutions, and what we Earthlings have
to say about it will matter very little.

Which is as it should be.

© 2002 Tech Central Station

--------------------------------------------------------------------
CCNet is a scholarly electronic network. To subscribe/unsubscribe, please
contact the moderator Benny J Peiser < b.j.peiser@livjm.ac.uk >. Information
circulated on this network is for scholarly and educational use only. The
attached information may not be copied or reproduced forany other purposes
without prior permission of the copyright holders. The fully indexed archive
of the CCNet, from February 1997 on, can be found at
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cccmenu.html
DISCLAIMER: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in the articles and
texts and in other CCNet contributions do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and
viewpoints of the moderator of this network.



CCCMENU CCC for 2002

The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of

The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of Georgia or the University System of Georgia.