PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 74/2002 - 26 June 2002
----------------------------


"Here's the scenario: An asteroid slams into Earth, kicking up a
huge plume of debris that settles into a disk around the planet, like
the rings of Saturn. The ring's massive shadow chills the tropics and sends
Earth into a 100,000-year freeze. University of New Mexico climate
researcher Peter Fawcett has found evidence that something like that might
have happened 35 million years ago during the Eocene epoch. Rocks from
that time show a layer of asteroid debris, followed by evidence of a
100,000-year cold spell."
--The Associated Press, 25 June 2002


"As the international community, led by the UK, begins to take the
hazard posed by NEOs seriously, is this a sensible time to declare that
"everything is under control"? Obviously it isn't, and the US, with
its paltry $3.5 million per year expenditure, desperately needs
significant international assistance - that much is self-evident. I suppose
that a cynical individual could claim that this whole exercise is an
inexplicable attempt to persuade the OECD, the UN and other international
agencies that are evincing interest that the US has the problem licked,
and that no one else need to bother. Daft eh?"
--Jay Tate, The Spaceguard Centre


"THERE'S something of a stand-off between Lib Dem leader Charles
Kennedy and the party's excitable MP Lembit Opik over the future of
Planet Earth. Opik, you'll recall, wants the government to track
asteroids heading for the planet. And his crusade has been boosted by news
that an object from outer space has just missed Earth. There are those who
think Opik is off his rocker and Kennedy may well be one of them
because he is still showing no signs of supporting him. Their chilliness
dates back to a party conference when Kennedy missed out on headlines
because Opik was monopolising the media with asteroid talk. "I was getting
the same coverage as the party leader and I think he still remembers that,"
Opik tells me."
--The Mirror, 25 June 2002


(1) IMPACT-TRIGGERED ICE AGES? RESEARCHERS SAY ASTEROID IMPACT COULD ALTER
CLIMATE
    The Associated Press, 25 June 2002

(2) ASTEROID ENVY
    The Mirror, 25 June 2002

(3) NASA GODDARD A PARTNER ON COMET CRUISE
    Mark Hess  <mhess@pop100.gsfc.nasa.gov>

(4) U.S. SHOULD HARNESS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CAPABILITIES TO FIGHT
TERRORISM
    The National Academies, 25 June 2002

(5) SCIENTIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR MITIGATION OF HAZARDOUS COMETS AND ASTEROIDS
    Erik Asphaug <asphaug@es.ucsc.edu>

(6) 34TH LUNAR AND PLANETARY SCIENCE CONFERENCE
    Ron Baalke <baalke@jpl.nasa.gov>

(7) CONFUSED AT SPACEGUARD
    Jonathan Tate <fr77@dial.pipex.com>

(8) THE SPACEGUARD FOUNDATION
    Duncan Steel <D.I.Steel@salford.ac.uk>

(9) UNDER FIRE FROM COSMIC FALL-OUT
    Hermann Burchard <burchar@mail.math.okstate.edu>

(10) SIMULATING EARTH IMPACT
     John Lighton <lighton@sablesys.com>

(11) THE KAALI LAKE IMPACT EVENT
     Jens Kieffer-Olsen <dstdba@post4.tele.dk>

(12) NEO-SEARCHING
     Kagirov Radik <kagirov@yandex.ru>

(13) AND FINALLY: WITTY BRITS TEST ROCKET POWERED BY LAUGHING GAS
     Ananova, 25 June 2002

==================
(1) COSMIC ICE AGES? RESEARCHERS SAY ASTEROID IMPACT COULD ALTER CLIMATE

>From The Associated Press, 25 June 2002

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) _ Here's the scenario: An asteroid slams into Earth,
kicking up a huge plume of debris that settles into a disk around the
planet, like the rings of Saturn.

The ring's massive shadow chills the tropics and sends Earth into a
100,000-year freeze.

University of New Mexico climate researcher Peter Fawcett has found evidence
that something like that might have happened 35 million years ago during the
Eocene epoch. Rocks from that time show a layer of asteroid debris, followed
by evidence of a 100,000-year cold spell.

So Fawcett and Sandia National Laboratories physicist Mark Boslough believe
scientists trying to understand the Earth's hot and cold spells need to
consider rings.

Occasional asteroids hitting Earth just right could kick up a disk which
could stick around long enough to cause major climate changes, the
scientists suggest in a research paper to be published in the Journal of
Geophysical Research.

The pair used a computer simulation of Earth's climate to show what might
happen if Earth had a Saturn-like ring.

Fawcett said similarities between the computer simulation and the Eocene
cold spell are not proof of anything, but the similarities suggest a
ringworld is worth considering.

That one particular event may or may not have been a ring, he said. But
everything in it is consistent.

The idea came from Boslough, a physicist who has spent much of his career
studying what happens when asteroids hit.

The giant gas planets in the outer solar system _ Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune
and Uranus _ have rings.

You've got nine planets, and four of them have rings of some kind, Boslough
said.

He had worked with Fawcett to modify climate simulation computer programs to
run on Sandia's supercomputers, so using those programs to test the ring
hypothesis seemed logical.

Boslough ran the simulation, plugging in data about a hypothetical ring
blocking the sun. He turned the results over to Fawcett, who uses computer
simulations and field studies to try to understand changes in the climate of
ancient Earth.

Fawcett's maps show cold spells in the tropics.

If you've got less heat in the tropics, there's less to export to the poles,
Fawcett said.

Beneath the shadow cast by the ring, average temperatures in the Sahara
desert drop below freezing. Cold spells spread quickly across the planet,
lowering the global average temperature by nearly 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Ice
spreads across the Bering Strait and reaches up from Antarctica to
Australia.

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press
 
MODERATOR'S NOTE: The original idea of Ice Age-causing impacts was developed
by Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe. For a recent summary of the theory
see their CCNet essay "ON THE CAUSE OF ICE-AGES"
(http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce120799.html).
     
================
(2) ASTEROID ENVY

>From The Mirror, 25 June 2002
http://www.mirror.co.uk/

THERE'S something of a stand-off between Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy and
the party's excitable MP Lembit Opik over the future of Planet Earth.

Opik, you'll recall, wants the government to track asteroids heading for the
planet. And his crusade has been boosted by news that an object from outer
space has just missed Earth. There are those who think Opik is off his
rocker and Kennedy may well be one of them because he is still showing no
signs of supporting him.

Their chilliness dates back to a party conference when Kennedy missed out on
headlines because Opik was monopolising the media with asteroid talk. "I was
getting the same coverage as the party leader and I think he still remembers
that," Opik tells me.

Meanwhile, Kennedy has ridiculed Opik by offering to make him Shadow
Minister for Space, according to the backbencher.

Copyright 2002, The Mirror

===============
(3) NASA GODDARD A PARTNER ON COMET CRUISE

>From Mark Hess  <mhess@pop100.gsfc.nasa.gov>

Bill Steigerwald June 25, 2002
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
(Phone: 301/286-5017)
William.A.Steigerwald.1@gsfc.nasa.gov

RELEASE: 02-93

NASA GODDARD A PARTNER ON COMET CRUISE

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is supplying an instrument to provide key
data on the CONTOUR mission, set to explore at least two comets following
its July 1 launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Goddard instrument will
explore the chemical composition of the comet nucleus, an icy core in the
head of the comet.

Goddard's Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) instrument will
sample ambient gas atoms and molecules in the comet's atmosphere (coma) as
CONTOUR zips past the nucleus. Sampling the coma gives information about a
comet's composition because the coma is comprised of dust and gas evaporated
from the nucleus. The coma appears as the bright "head" of a comet, and it
develops if a comet's orbit takes it close to the Sun, where solar heat and
radiation vaporize the comet's ices. (The nucleus is technically part of the
head also, but it is too small to see, and it is obscured by the coma.)

"It's truly exciting to have the opportunity to fly this close to the
nucleus of a comet for the first time," said Dr. Paul Mahaffy, a Goddard
Co-Investigator with the CONTOUR mission for NGIMS. "With NGIMS we'll sample
gases from Comet Encke and at least one more comet and hope to learn much
about the diversity of comets and how these bodies may have helped shape our
own environment in the distant past through delivery of water and organic
molecules. It has been a real privilege working with a uniquely talented
team at Goddard to develop this measurement capability."

NGIMS will identify the types and relative amounts of atoms and molecules in
the coma by creating ions (electrically charged atoms and molecules) from
neutral gas and then separating these by their mass to charge ratio using
electromagnetic fields. Since this ratio is often unique to a particular
atom or molecule, this separation, or mass spectrometry, can be used to
identify the atoms and molecules present in the coma.

Comets are thought to be relics left over from the formation of the solar
system. They are comprised of dust and frozen gasses that were present in
the primordial cloud that became the Sun and planets. Comets normally
inhabit the outer regions of the solar system, far from the Sun, where
frigid temperatures keep their ices completely frozen. There, a comet is
just a nucleus, very small and faint, without the much larger and brighter
coma or tail structure.

Occasionally, however, gravity from another solar system object, or perhaps
a passing star, disrupts a comet's orbit and sends it hurtling into the
inner solar system, where the coma forms. Sunlight and a stream of
electrified gas that blows constantly from the Sun, called the solar wind,
push dust and gas away from the coma in the direction opposite from the Sun,
giving a comet its familiar tail-like shape.

"Comets are the solar system's smallest bodies, but among its biggest
mysteries," says 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 flexible four-year mission plan includes encounters with comets
Encke (Nov. 12, 2003) and Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (June 19, 2006), though it
can add a study of a "new" comet from the outer solar system should one be
discovered in time for CONTOUR to catch it. 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 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 5-layer dust shield of
heavy Nextel and Kevlar fabric protects the compact probe from comet dust
and debris. CONTOUR's four scientific instruments will take pictures and
measure the chemical makeup of the nuclei while analyzing the surrounding
gases and dust.

The $159 million CONTOUR is the sixth mission in NASA's Discovery Program of
lower cost, scientifically focused exploration projects. The Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md., manages the
mission, built the spacecraft and its two cameras, and will operate CONTOUR
during flight. 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. Cornell's Veverka leads a science team of 18 co-investigators
from universities, industry, and government agencies in the U.S. and Europe.


CONTOUR is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,
Fla., on a three-stage Boeing Delta II rocket 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 its comet-chasing
orbit around the Sun.

NASA TV will provide live coverage of the launch beginning at 1:30 a.m. EDT.


More information on CONTOUR is available on the Web at:
http://www.contour2002.org/

=============
(4) U.S. SHOULD HARNESS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CAPABILITIES TO FIGHT
TERRORISM

>From The National Academies, 25 June 2002
http://www4.nationalacademies.org/news.nsf/isbn/0309084814?OpenDocument

Date: June 25, 2002
Contacts: Bill Kearney, Media Relations Officer
Jennifer Burris, Media Relations Associate
Corbin Arberg, Media Relations Assistant
(202) 334-2138; e-mail <news@nas.edu>

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

U.S. SHOULD HARNESS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CAPABILITIES TO FIGHT TERRORISM

WASHINGTON -- The United States should take advantage of its scientific and
engineering strengths to detect, thwart, and respond to terrorist attacks
more effectively, says a new National Academies report. The report
identifies actions, including deployment of available technologies, that can
be taken immediately, and it points to the urgent need to initiate research
and development activities in critical areas. An independent homeland
security institute also should be established to help the government make
crucial technical decisions and devise strategies that can be put into
practice successfully.

"The scientific and engineering community is aware that it can make a
critical contribution to protecting the nation from catastrophic terrorism,"
said Lewis M. Branscomb, co-chair of the committee that wrote report, and
emeritus professor, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard
University, Cambridge, Mass. "Our report gives the government a blueprint
for using current technologies and creating new capabilities to reduce the
likelihood of terrorist attacks and the severity of their consequences."

The report emphasizes that certain actions can be taken now to make the
nation safer -- protect and control nuclear weapons and material, produce
sufficient supplies of vaccines and antibodies, secure shipping containers
and power grids, and improve ventilation systems and emergency
communications. Dozens of specific recommendations are offered on research
and development activities that can lead to technologies with the potential
for lessening vulnerabilities to terrorism. For example, advances in biology
and medicine can make it possible to produce drugs to fight pathogens for
which there are no current treatments. New approaches to making
electric-power grids intelligent and adaptive can make them much less
vulnerable to attack, allowing power to be preserved for critical services
such as communication and transportation. New computer programs for
data-mining and information fusion can make it much easier to "connect the
dots" among apparently unrelated fragments of intelligence information and
to combine sensor readings to allow rapid detection of toxic agents and other
threats.

Research also can lead to new emergency equipment, such as better protective
gear for rescue workers and sensors to alert them to radiological or
chemical contamination and other hazards when they enter a disaster area.
Buildings can be made more blast and fire resistant than they are today with
improved design standards, and new methods for air filtration and
decontamination can lessen casualties from certain types of attacks and
greatly speed up recovery.

"These opportunities will go unrealized unless the government is able to
establish and execute a coherent strategy for taking advantage of the
nation's scientific and technical capabilities," added co-chair Richard D.
Klausner, executive director of global health, Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, Seattle. "The federal agencies with science and engineering
expertise are not necessarily the same as the agencies responsible for
deploying systems to protect the nation, and they all must work together to
discover and implement the best counterterrorism technologies."

The Office of Homeland Security is currently responsible for setting a
national counterterrorism strategy and coordinating relevant programs. To
help determine priorities and create an effective technical strategy, the
Office of Homeland Security should establish a new Homeland Security
Institute comprised of experts who can analyze vulnerabilities in critical
infrastructures and evaluate the effectiveness of systems deployed to reduce
them, the committee said. This should include "red teaming" exercises where
institute personnel play the role of terrorists to discover weaknesses in
U.S. defenses. The institute should be a not-for-profit, contractor-operated
organization staffed with people experienced in analyzing complex systems
and responding quickly to requests for advice from senior government
officials.

A new Department of Homeland Security, as proposed by President Bush, will
need an undersecretary for technology to coordinate science and technology
programs within the department and to keep it connected to research-oriented
agencies such as the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of
Health, Department of Energy, and Department of Defense, as well as the
White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy. The Homeland Security
Institute proposed by the committee should support the undersecretary for
technology once the new department is established.

The report is directed primarily to the federal government, but the
committee recognizes that it will be essential for the federal government to
work closely with many other institutions - such as cities and states,
private companies, and universities - to discover and deploy
counterterrorism solutions. Many of the nation's critical infrastructures --
such as transportation, communications, and energy systems -- are privately
owned and operated. To make it easier for these companies to improve the
likelihood that their services and facilities can survive a terrorist
attack, government and industrial research should be directed toward
producing technologies that not only protect infrastructures, but also
deliver economic and social benefits to society. This will reduce the costs
of security and help sustain the public's commitment to counterterrorism
efforts.

Shortly after Sept. 11, the presidents of the National Academy of Sciences,
National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine offered President
Bush the advice and counsel of the National Academies in the new war on
terrorism. Under the auspices of the National Research Council, the
Academies' operating arm, this committee and eight supporting panels
included 118 of the nation's top scientists, engineers, and doctors.

The report was funded by the National Academies, which provide science,
engineering, and medical advice to the federal government under a
congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1863. A
committee roster follows. Pre-publication copies of MAKING THE NATION SAFER:
THE ROLE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN COUNTERING TERRORISM are available
from the National Academy Press; tel. (202) 334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on
the Internet at HTTP://WWW.NAP.EDU. The cost is $38.00 (prepaid) plus
shipping charges of $4.50 for the first copy and $.95 for each additional
copy. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public
Information (contacts listed above).

===============
(5) SCIENTIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR MITIGATION OF HAZARDOUS COMETS AND ASTEROIDS

>From Erik Asphaug <asphaug@es.ucsc.edu>

SECOND ANNOUNCEMENT: SCIENTIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR MITIGATION OF HAZARDOUS
COMETS AND ASTEROIDS

(A Workshop Sponsored by NASA and Ball Aerospace)

Dates: September 3 through 6, 2002
Venue: Hyatt in Arlington, Virginia

For detailed info, and to register:
  http://www.noao.edu/meetings/mitigation

To see the invited speaker list:
  http://www.noao.edu/meetings/mitigation/invited.html

Registration: $250 before July 1 2002, $350 after
Abstract Deadline (for poster talks): July 31, 2002

Contact person: Nalin Samarasinha <nalin@noao.edu>

Workshop proceedings will be edited by M.J.S. Belton (Chair, Organizing
Committee), T. Morgan and D.K. Yeomans

=================
(6) 34TH LUNAR AND PLANETARY SCIENCE CONFERENCE

>From Ron Baalke <baalke@jpl.nasa.gov>

http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2003/

34th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference
March 17-21, 2003

First Announcement

Sponsors
National Aeronautis and Space Administration
Lunar and Planetary Institute
NASA Johnson Space Center

Chairs
Elleen Stansbery, NASA Johnson Space Center
Arch Reid, Lunar and Planetary Institute

We are pleased to invite your participation in the 34th Lunar and Planetary
Science Conference to be held near the NASA Johnson Space Center in League
City, Texas, March 17-21, 2003. This conference brings together
international specialists in petrology, geochemistry, geophysics, geology,
and astronomy to present the latest results of research in planetary
science.

SPECIAL SESSIONS

You are encouraged to submit ideas and suggestions for plenary or special
sessions to Paula Walley by September 6, 2002, so they can be considered,
planned, and publicized. Organizers of these sessions should be prepared to
serve on the Program Committee, or to have a fully empowered delegate serve
on the Program Committee, if requested by the Conference Chairs. Authors of
invited talks for special sessions must meet the same deadline for abstracts
as authors of contributed papers (see below). Organizers who wish to have
invited talks represented in the conference abstract volume should make the
invited speakers aware of the deadline restrictions when inviting their
presentation.

MEETING FORMAT

Participants may indicate a preference for oral, poster, or print-only
presentation. The Program Committee will make all decisions on the mode of
presentation to ensure a balance of as many important new research results
as possible. Selection criteria will be based on the relevance of the
subject matter to the conference and the quality of the science. The 4.5-day
conference will be organized by topical symposia and problem-oriented
sessions.

ABSTRACT DEADLINE

In an effort to move the abstract deadline back to January, while still
allowing sufficient time and personnel to prepare for the program committee
meeting, we will have TWO separate deadlines for electronic submission of
abstracts. The deadline for electronically submitting abstracts in PDF
format will be 5:00 p.m. (CST) Tuesday, January 14, 2003. Authors who are
unable to produce PDF files must submit their abstracts electronically by
5:00 p.m. (CST) Tuesday, January 7, 2003.

Authors who are unable to submit electronically will have to request special
instructions (phone: 281-486-2188; fax: 281-486-2125; e-mail:
publish@lpi.usra.edu). Hard-copy submissions will be due at the LPI no later
than January 7, 2003.

Non-PDF submissions or hard-copy submissions that arrive after January 7,
2003, will not be considered for the conference.

Detailed information regarding abstract preparation and submission will be
available via the meeting Web page and will be included in the second
announcement, to be posted on the conference Web site by the middle of
November.

SUBMISSION RESTRICTIONS

There will again be a limit of TWO abstracts per first author for oral or
poster presentation requests. If you submit two abstracts, you will be asked
to rank them in order of preference.

As was the rule last year, print-only abstracts will be allowed, but ONLY
from those authors who are NOT submitting an abstract for oral or poster
presentation. In other words, if you're requesting a print-only abstract,
you cannot submit an abstract for any other type of presentation. Authors
are limited to ONE print-only request.

The program committee will strictly enforce the above policies. Abstracts
submitted in violation of these policies will be rejected. The only
exception will be for those who are invited to give a talk at a special
session (e.g., the Masursky Lecture, or a special topical session). Those
abstracts will not be counted against authors as one of the two abstracts
they are allowed to submit.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
SCHEDULE

September 6, 2002  Deadline for submitting suggestions for special sessions.

October 4, 2002    Deadline for returning the Indication of Interest Form.

November 15, 2002  Second announcement with abstract submission instructions
will be posted on the meeting Web page.

TUESDAY, January 7, 2003,  Deadline for hard-copy submission and 5:00 p.m.
(U.S. Central Standard Time) non-PDF electronic submission of abstracts.
Hard-copy and non-PDF abstracts received after this date will be returned to
the author.

TUESDAY, January 14, 2003,   Deadline for electronic submission of 5:00 p.m.
(U.S. Central Standard Time) abstracts in PDF format will be accepted after
this time.

On or before February 3, 2003  Final announcement, guide to sessions, and
preliminary program and abstracts will be posted on the meeting Web page.

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

(7) CONFUSED AT SPACEGUARD

>From Jonathan Tate <fr77@dial.pipex.com>

Dear Benny,

It is rarely that I question items on the CCNet, but one that you published
yesterday seriously confuses me.

In the item entitled "OH HAPPY DAY: DR PANGLOSS EXPLAINS WHY THERE IS NO
NEED FOR MORE NEO SEARCHES OR TELESCOPES" from Tech Live, 24 June 2002 Dr
David Morrison was quoted as saying that "more funding above NASA's current
$3 million Near-Earth Object survey budget would be nice, but that it won't
do much more to protect the Earth from asteroids. Instead, the extra money
would speed up things that don't really need to be sped up."

Now this, ostensibly from the chairman of the IAU Working Group on NEOs (to
which I am a consultant) simply has to be a mis-quote! As we all know, the
essential aim of the Spaceguard project is to either eliminate all possible
threats, or to identify them as soon as possible.  The urgency is required
for two reasons; firstly, to prevent a collision we need as much notice as
possible given our current state of unpreparedness, and secondly the public
(who, in the final analysis pay for the survey) want to know. It would be an
unbelievable example of complacency to declare that speed is unnecessary! As
a man in such auspicious positions in NASA and the IAU I cannot believe that
Dr Morrison can support the reported statement, unless of course there
is some political reason. However, scientists of his stature are above such
stupidity. Having lunched with a prominent American politician in October
1999, who stated that, to receive the required funding for the Spaceguard
programme a "Tunguska" type event, preferably in the US mid-West or Europe
is required, and having forcibly made the point that shutting the stable
door before rather than after would be a good plan, I am wondering whether
he was right after all.

When Dr Morrison is quoted as saying "There are no extra points for getting
it on the way in.  We just want to find them, catalog (US spelling!) them,
project their orbit, and make sure they're not a threat to us" we seem to
have a fundamental disconnect between the theoretical "requirements" of
science, and the real needs of those who pay for it.  Of course we want to
see these objects before they pass by (or hit). Apply a reality check here.

Additional funding, on an international basis may only have the effect of
"speeding it up", but that additional speed might just save millions of
lives. Of course, it would also be nice if someone were to think about
funding the enormous amount of follow-up work currently undertaken by
willing amateurs at no cost, and without which all the swept-up discovery
programmes in the US would be about as useful as chocolate woks.

It is also quite correct to say that "We'll get there even with the
telescopes we have", but will there be anyone left to get the good news by
e-mail, or will we have to wait for a man on a horse to deliver the message?

Melodrama? Perhaps, but no one can guarantee that; that's the whole point.
We need to know the extent and timing of the inevitable impact event, and we
don't yet.

As the international community, led by the UK, begins to take the hazard
posed by NEOs seriously, is this a sensible time to declare that "everything
is under control"? Obviously it isn't, and the US, with its paltry $3.5
million per year expenditure, desperately needs significant international
assistance - that much is self-evident. I suppose that a cynical individual
could claim that this whole exercise is an inexplicable attempt to persuade
the OECD, the UN and other international agencies that are evincing interest
that the US has the problem licked, and that no one else need to bother.
Daft eh?

The final quote in the item is as follows: "The real question," Morrison
said, "is how important is this hazard vs. others?" Well, there you have it.
For the past decade the Spaceguard community around the world has been
trying to raise awareness of the risk. In the UK we have taken this issue
from the level of little green men and flying saucers to government policy.
Are we now to believe that the whole thing is suddenly under control?

The events of 11 September last year showed how hard a small (two office
blocks) catastrophe can hit worldwide perceptions and markets. Is the risk
of a Tunguska-type or larger event worth taking? Perhaps the current
witch-hunt (sic) in the US trying to pin blame for the 9-11 disaster on
anyone and everyone (sic) should be a lesson to the NEO community. Why we
didn't try harder to protect our citizens will be a difficult question to answer after the
next Tunguska level event. Even now, after recent near misses, the public
are asking questions.

Let's ignore this obvious media/political "boo-boo" and get on with the real
work that is required to safeguard our way of life - if, that is, one
regards it as being worth saving (which I for one do).

On more parochial matters, the Spaceguard Centre is moving on apace. Despite
the lack of external support we have had over 2500 visitors to date, and our
position is good. The Astronomer Royal, Professor Sir Martin Rees is now
taking an active interest. There are a number of issues that we are working
on, including the use of the Faulkes and Liverpool 2-metre robotic
telescopes for NEO work, and the establishment of an amateur network in the
UK. I am discussing the latter with the BAA, and I will be raising it at the
MPAPW 2002 conference (where I will be speaking) to continue to garner
expert advice.  Although we are still unfunded (other than our "pot of
gold") there are high hopes of the Welsh Development Agency and the Welsh
Tourist Board.  PPARC or national funding probably aren't really on the
radar for obvious reasons!

Jay Tate
The Spaceguard Centre
Knighton, UK

==================
(8) THE SPACEGUARD FOUNDATION

>From Duncan Steel <D.I.Steel@salford.ac.uk>

Dear Benny,

Could I make new subscribers to CCNet aware of the existence of the
Spaceguard Foundation, an international organisation involving people
concerned about the cosmic impact hazard, and update others about some
recent developments?

Every three years the Spaceguard Foundation changes some of its board
through elections. After the recent electronic assembly the  SGF Board of
Directors is as follows:

Andrea Carusi    (Italy, President)
Eleanor Helin    (USA)
Syuzo Isobe      (Japan)
Duncan Steel     (Australia and UK, Vice-President)
Gonzalo Tancredi (Uruguay)
Jay Tate         (UK)

We are very pleased that Giovanni Valsecchi has agreed to continue as
Secretary of the Spaceguard Foundation.

Although the "home" has been in Rome since the establishment of the SGF in
1996, it is now shifting a few kilometres out of the city to ESA's European
Space Research Institute at Frascati.

All readers are encouraged to visit the home page of the Spaceguard
Foundation (the Spaceguard Central Node):
http://spaceguard.ias.rm.cnr.it/index.html

Similarly please do visit "Tumbling Stone", the on-line magazine:
http://spaceguard.ias.rm.cnr.it/tumblingstone/index.html

Webmasters please feel free to make links to the above sites; and all others
please direct mass media interest towards these facilities.

Kind regards,

Duncan Steel

================
(9) UNDER FIRE FROM COSMIC FALL-OUT

>From Hermann Burchard <burchar@mail.math.okstate.edu>

Dear Benny,

the article from Financial Times 22 June 2002 by Clive Cookson about 2002MN,
CCNet 25 June, is very informative, along with other excellent recent
articles by science writers posted on CCNet.  He states, and I agree with
him, that the "the previously unexplained Great Dying that wiped out 90 per
cent of living species 250m years ago, [has been linked] to cosmic impacts."

But I have a question in a couple of details:
  "..there has been no fatal impact during recorded history."

This would be a bit more accurate if we switched two words around:
  "..there has been no fatal impact recorded during history."

There must have been MANY fatal cosmic impacts during recorded history, but
they failed to make it into the official historical records. And if they
did, then only in the guise of myths.  Most of them probably hit in remote
areas or in water,  casualties may have been sparse at the
location, both indirect and/or delayed from deteriorating climate, plagues,
tsunami etc, neither were deaths attributed to cosmic impact.

In fact, in the Apocalypse (Revelation, chapter 6, 12-15, and chapter 8,
7-12) knowledge of impact phenomena is unmistakable. You might not recognize
it if you're thinking about prophecy (neither did I until I first saw this
pointed out, in the books by Clube, Napier, or Baillie, or
on someone's web page).

Here are some key passages, very graphic, not clad in myth at all, this
rather reads like it's a familiar scene, although much appears to be quoted
after the Hebrew Prophets:

  "..there was a great earthquake and the sun grew black like sackcloth of
goat hair, the whole disk of the moon turned blood red and the stars of
the sky fell to the Earth like late figs tossed from the tree shaking in a
strong wind.  And the sky rolled up like a scroll and vanished [in the
mists?], and every mountain and island was dislodged from its place. Then
the kings.. and.. [everyone] hid themselves in the caves and among the
rocks of the mountains. ..  there came hail and fire,.. a third of the
earth was burned up and a third of the trees were burned up and all the
green grass was burned up,..  and a great mountain burning with fire was
thrown into the sea,.. and a third of the creatures which were in the sea
died and a third of the ships were destroyed,..  and a great star fell
from the sky, burning like a torch..and many people died from the waters
which were made bitter,.. and a third of the sun and a third of the moon
and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of daylight did not
shine and the same with the night."

High numbers of fatalities are implied. I wonder:  Have there been
suggestions made of dates in history of particular impact events the
Prophets or the author of Apocalypse may have heard about? Writing only
decades after the later Roman Emperor Titus had the legions put down all
Jewish resistance, he may have used a familiar metaphor of a comet, coming
down hard in many fragments, to give a somber and "apocalyptic" color to his
allegorical account.

Again, I also must disagree where Clive Cookson writes:
 "But if we had a few days' warning only, we could do nothing but panic or
pray."

And he quotes Jim Emerson:
 "Then it might be better not to know.  If I'm going to have a heart attack
next week, I'd rather not be warned about it."

In view of Drake Mittchel's report on planetary defense (CCNet June 25), I
cannot agree with this disheartening pessimism.

Even if Drake Mitchell's detection platforms at the Lagrangian points should
miss a stray 100 m asteroid, then we can still pick it up in a last-ditch
effort with several dedicated ground-based radar stations to be built two or
more on each hemisphere, North and South. This would be some
fancy, high-power radar, but still very, very cheap, considering what is at
stake.  Effective at short distances (< 0.03 AU), radar could give notice of
a day or two. That's a worst case scenario but still enough time to launch a
desperation shot.

Later this century, I believe, if not sooner, permanent SpaceGuard
detachments will be on duty "24 hours, 7 days a week," ready to fire a
defensive missile at a few hours notice. The shot will be highly refined in
its design, so as not to disrupt the asteroid or comet. In view of a
comet's fragile nature, see the recent article on CCNet 21 June, "MANY
COMETS GO 'POOF' AND FALL APART", Reuters, 20 June 2002, we can't be too
careful. We may try to blow up huge air bags like those in our steering
wheels only these are several kilometers in size, to gently catch the NEO
and then push the bags away from Earth's orbit by exploding a large number
of small charges.

But give up without trying?  No way!

Regards,
 Hermann Burchard

================
(10) SIMULATING EARTH IMPACT

>From John Lighton <lighton@sablesys.com>

Benny,

One way in which the immediacy of the NEO threat can be brought home to
people would be for those who have suitable expertise with the orbital data
to "tweak" it in such a way (preferably by shifting only the relative
timing) so as to allow for a (theoretical!) Earth collision, and then
determine the "impact band" which would cross the earth's exposed side. The
width would correspond to the p value, and I anticipate that it would be
quite non-linear in geometry and variable in width. An interesting exercise
in any event.

Just a thought, humbly offered.

John Lighton, Ph.D.
Adjunct Associate Professor, UNLV
VP, SSI

================
(11) THE KAALI LAKE IMPACT EVENT

>From Jens Kieffer-Olsen <dstdba@post4.tele.dk>

Dear Benny Peiser

 E.P. Grondine wrote:
> I suppose like many participants I know very little about this
> particular impact event; a search on the Conference archives
> (with many thanks due to Bob Kobres) returned only 4 items.

I'm pleased that the crater at Saaremaa ( Ísel during medieval times when
under Danish jurisdiction ) attracts the attention it so fully deserves.
Yet I believe the event is of less interest to astronomers concerned about
major future impacts than to geologists and archaeologists. After all the
metal-rich impactor weighed 10,000 tonnes at most, indicating a diameter of
maybe 15m - not exactly a threat to the survival of mankind.

From his visit to the site a year or two ago my brother brought a glittering
tourist brochure published in Estonian ( with abstracts in six more
languages ).  The text goes: "The EU-Project European Cultural Paths is a
co-operation of five regional archaeological projects, aiming at introducing
a prehistoric cultural landscape to a wide public. Informative brochures,
pathways linking visible archaeological sites and signs explaining the
monuments help the visitors to understand the testimonies of human
activities from the Stone Age to recent times, focusing on the Bronze Age  -
The first golden age of Europe.  Practical and research work in various
disciplines for the preservation of monuments is carried out within the
project in the Rebala Reserve and Kaali Crater Field."

Of the crater field it says: "The bottom sediments of the Kaali lake are
about 6m thick and are yet waiting for discoverers to unearth their
secrets."

Yours sincerely
Jens Kieffer-Olsen, M.Sc.(Elec.Eng.)
Slagelse, Denmark

===============
(12) NEO-SEARCHING

>From Kagirov Radik <kagirov@yandex.ru>

Dear Benny Peiser,

I suppose your colleagues and readers might be interested to learn about new
invention concerning NEO-searching. Please visit my recently launched
Homepage of http://kagirov.narod.ru/a-d-eng.htm for brief information.
I wonder if you would be interested to use this information. If you have any
questions or suggestions please let me know.

I wish you success in your work.

Regards,

Radik Kagirov
A doctoral candidate at the Samara State Aerospace University
Samara, Russia

================
(13) AND FINALLY: WITTY BRITS TEST ROCKET POWERED BY LAUGHING GAS

>From Ananova, 25 June 2002
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_615222.html?menu=news.scienceanddiscovery

Laughing gas rocket passes test

A rocket powered by laughing gas and plastic has been test-fired in the UK.

The combination produces almost as much power as conventional rocket fuels
but with hardly any hazardous chemicals.

The B4 rocket produced a thrust of about a quarter of a tonne during ground
tests.

The technology will now be used to make an attempt on the UK rocket altitude
record of nearly 35,000 feet.

But experts say even larger, so-called hybrid rocket engines, would not be
able to put a man into space.

Ben Jarvis, of the Mars Advanced Rocketry Society, told the BBC: "The test
was a resounding success. We are leading the field in this so-called hybrid
design of rocket motor."

Hybrid rockets use a mix of liquid fuel and solid fuels, Mr Jarvis added:
"Those of us at the test site were all impressed by the power that can be
created from such unlikely propellants."

Copyright 2002, Ananova

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