PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 77/2002 - 2 July  2002
----------------------------


"If we haven't started building new telescopes within the next year
or two, they won't be ready to take over in 2008. So now is the time to go
on to the next step. But I think the search philosophy remains the same.
Whether it's big ones or little ones, you carry out a survey, make a
catalogue, calculate orbits, and predict future encounters with the Earth.
We can predict the impact of a 100-meter or 50-meter object just as far in
advance as a kilometer object, once we find it."
--Dave Morrison, Space.com, 2 July 2002


"The purpose is to find these things as soon as possible. If there
are centuries of warning, there are many things you can do about the
threat. But if you only find out about it in the last day or two, or the
last year, there's not much you can do."
--Jon D. Giorgini, NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 1
July 2002


"I finally must object most strenuously to Morrison's statement
that: "There are no extra points for getting it on the way in. We just
want to find them, catalog them, project their orbit, and make sure they're
not a threat to us." While Morrison appears to think that there are no
points for getting them on the way in, I am pretty certain that he stands
nearly alone on this, as most here understand that more than occasionally
those coming in do not go back out. Also, most here realize that
sooner of later, and most probably sooner rather than later, we're
going to find one these things that is a threat, and at that time
we're going to face a very real and pressing need to do more than simply
watch it hit and perhaps even kill very large numbers of people."
--Ed Grondine, 1 July 2002


=======
(1) PROTECTING THE PLANET: SPACE.COM Q&A WITH ASTEROID HUNTER DAVID MORRISON

>From Space.com, 2 July 2002
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/morrison_interview_020702-1.html

By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer

David Morrison figures his long effort to keep the world safe from asteroids
has been very successful. "In 11 years of protecting the planet, not a
single human has been killed," he pointed out to me recently. 

Morrison is of course not the only person working to save Earth from
potentially deadly space rocks. But the sometimes outspoken, always affable
space scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center was one of the first people
involved.

In the early 1990s, he chaired a committee that generated the Spaceguard
Survey Report, which advised NASA and Congress to search for and determine
the paths of all Near Earth Objects (NEOs), asteroids and comets larger than
1 kilometer (0.62 miles) that roam the region of space also occupied by
Earth.

Morrison is a moderating voice in a field whose most vocal members are
sometimes accused of attempting to frighten the public. That doesn't mean he
thinks we're entirely safe.

"The impact hazard is real, and it is of a magnitude at least as great as
many other natural hazards," Morrison testified before Congress in 1993.
"Over long time spans, impact catastrophes are inevitable. What happened to
the dinosaurs can happen to us."

What happened to the dinosaurs, and many other species of their time, was
that they were annihilated by the global effects of an impact by an asteroid
the size of a city. Sixty-five million years later, the Spaceguard
recommendations were adopted, and today a worldwide effort funded partly by
NASA and involving several institutions has found about half of the roughly
1,000 large NEOs thought to exist.

Today, Morrison chairs the working group on NEOs in the International
Astronomical Union, a volunteer position. He also maintains a comprehensive
Web page on the subject.

He typifies the pieced-together nature of the overall effort to guard the
planet, one dominated by part-time contributors, arguably underfunded
programs and a league of amateurs who do much of the grunt work -- follow-up
observations that help determine if a recently discovered NEO is on course
to one day hit Earth.

At a recent gathering of astrobiologists, where Morrison wore the hat he
gets paid for as Senior Scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute, he
told me he views his asteroid watch as a hobby. I sat down with the Harvard
Ph.D. to discuss the often controversial state of his part-time industry,
the search for NEOs and the question of what to do if we find one with our
name on it.
 
SPACE.com: Why are asteroid impacts a hobby for you?

David Morrison: Several of us who have been interested for 10 years or so in
the question of whether Earth is at hazard from asteroids and what's the
right way to handle this issue have, for the most part, not received any
direct funding from NASA to do it. It is not our primary job.
But I think it's fascinating science and an important policy issue, so I put
some time into it.

SPACE.com: In the search for potentially threatening asteroids, what are we
doing right?

DM: We are efficiently finding the NEOs 1 kilometer [0.62 miles] or larger
in size, which is a range that includes anything that is a global threat;
that is, that could produce a global environmental catastrophe. We're more
than halfway there. In fact, we have reduced the risk from an unexpected
asteroid strike by about a factor of two.

We reduced this risk without actually having to move anything.

We do not expect any of the remaining [undiscovered] objects to be on a
collision course with Earth. It would be bad luck if they were. On the other
hand, if one is on a collision course, we want to know it. I think probably
by 2008, when we have 90 percent of the larger NEOs catalogued, we will have
concluded that none of them is a risk.

But the possibility that we're unlucky, that an impact might create a truly
global catastrophe and kill hundreds of millions of people, motivates us to
carry out the search and be concerned about this issue even though it's a
low probability risk.

We deal with such things in ordinary life. For instance, when you buy fire
insurance on your house, you actually don't expect your house to burn down.
Most people go through their entire lives without having a major fire in
their house. But you still buy the insurance.

SPACE.com: We always hear that eventually, Earth will be hit again,
statistically speaking. When?

DM: A large impact is not something we expect to happen in our lifetime, in
our childrens' lifetime, or even our grandchildrens' lifetime. It would be
very bad luck if it did happen. But it could happen at any time.

Ultimately, the reason we can deal with this scientifically is that it's not
a statistical random chance. Somebody doesn't throw the die every year and
decide if we're going to be hit that year. If there's an object out there
that's going to hit us, say, in the next thousand years, it is already on a
collision course. So it can be found, its course can be determined.
Asteroids don't change orbits capriciously, as is often depicted by
Hollywood.

SPACE.com: Scientists and journalist constantly spout statistics about the
asteroid threat. But in some sense the statistics are meaningless and may
fuel some apathy among the general public.

DM: That's right. The issue is not one of refining the statistics. It's not
whether it's a 1-in-a-million or a 1-in-2-million chance that it will happen
this year. It's an absolute thing. Will it or won't it happen?

SPACE.com: What are we doing wrong in the NEO search?

DM: We have not yet seriously considered what the next step should be. In
2008, when we have found 90 percent of these larger NEOs, do we just keep
going to get 95 percent or 99 percent? [The final few will be the toughest
to track down, experts say.] Do we try to segue into larger telescopes so we
can find fainter [and thus smaller] objects, those a few hundred meters in
size that could produce a tsunami and wipe out the coast around an ocean
basin?

We have been so focused on the immediate, higher-priority problem that there
hasn't been much thought given yet to the next level.

One group that has considered the next level is in the United Kingdom. The
UK NEO Task Force recommended two years ago that we set another goal, that
we raise the bar and focus on [smaller and thus dimmer] 300-meter [roughly
equal to three football fields] objects, which requires a new generation of
search telescopes.

In the United States, we haven't done anything either to build such
telescopes or even to plan for it.

SPACE.com: Is this just because the plate is full?

DM: It's partly because the plate is full. It depends on whether you think
of the asteroid search funds as a fixed sum of money. If we are level-funded
at $3.5 million a year, which is what NASA is now investing, then that
pretty well all goes to the current search.

On the other hand, the National Research Council has recommended that the
U.S. build a Large-aperture Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), a new
instrument that could in fact do the survey down to 300 meters, by itself,
as well as a lot of other good astronomy. Astronomers at the National
Science Foundation are looking at that.

SPACE.com: If I promised you a billion dollars a year, where would you put
it?

DM: I would not know how to spend a billion dollars a year on asteroids.

SPACE.com: But we keep hearing that it will be very expensive to find
smaller asteroids.

DM: The smaller you go, the more expensive it is. This LSST has been
estimated at about $180 million to build plus roughly $20 million per year
to operate. So if you found that kind of money you could build such a
telescope.

SPACE.com: So if I gave you a billion, you wouldn't put it all into NEO
research?

DM: That's right. I wouldn't. Because I don't think it could be justified.

But there is another perspective that has to be seriously thought about. We
always say that if we found an NEO on a collision course, we have the
technology -- in principle -- to deflect it. But of course we've never
actually done it. We've never done any experiments.

The alternate perspective says we should develop and test such deflection
technology, that we should take an innocent asteroid that's not on a
collision course and try sending a spacecraft to deflect it.

SPACE.com: A billion might come in handy for that.

DM: Yeah, it would [laughs].

The space program doesn't normally operate this way, but you could set out a
challenge, some sort of international prize for the first group that changes
the velocity of an asteroid by 2 centimeters per second [0.04 mph]. They
could do it with an explosion, nuclear or non-nuclear, by putting a solar
sail on it, or whatever.

[A minor velocity change would induce a change in trajectory as an asteroid
interacted gravitationally with the Sun, planets and other objects, putting
it on an entirely new course.]

SPACE.com: Some vocal members of the NEO community are going to read this
and say, "Here's the NASA voice again saying we're on track, we just have to
worry about the big ones. But it's the small sucker punches we need to worry
about, and we need to worry about them now." What do you say to those
people?

DM: I'm not sure what point they're trying to make, because they speak as
though with a small one we're likely to have less warning. I don't
understand that argument.

Right now we catch any 1-kilometer or larger object that comes within a big
volume of space -- within about 100 million kilometers [62 million miles] of
Earth. To carry out a complete survey of 300-kilometer objects, you need to
look at the same volume of space but detect fainter objects. The survey
procedures and warning times are about the same.

SPACE.com: But it's easier for a small asteroid to escape detection, and
there are more of them. So the chances are greater we'll get surprised by
one, at least until they have been catalogued.

DM: That's right. But in that case you'll really be surprised. The first
you'll know of it is when you see the sky light up as it enters the
atmosphere.

If we haven't started building new telescopes within the next year or two,
they won't be ready to take over in 2008. So now is the time to go on to the
next step. But I think the search philosophy remains the same. Whether it's
big ones or little ones, you carry out a survey, make a catalogue, calculate
orbits, and predict future encounters with the Earth.

We can predict the impact of a 100-meter or 50-meter object just as far in
advance as a kilometer object, once we find it.

SPACE.com: Aside from this conversation, you're wearing your astrobiology
hat today. In your mind, is there any connection between asteroids and
astrobiology?

DM: Yes, certainly. Astrobiology is more than just a search for life.
Astrobiology is an effort to understand life as a planetary or astronomical
phenomenon. We look at the long-term interaction of life, the environment,
and the planet.

In that context, asteroid impacts are very important. We don't know how
important, but it's at least possible that on Earth, impacts have been a
major driver in evolution, because by producing mass extinctions, you
essentially open up a huge number of ecological niches. After a mass
extinction the rate of speciation is huge, a very quick radiation of new
species. Impacts and their environmental effects, both past and future, are
one of the elements of astrobiology.

To me, realizing that the end-Cretaceous extinction [dinosaurs, et al.] is
due to an impact is illustrative of how fragile the biosphere is. That's a
tiny impact compared to the planet as a whole. It's not enough to change
orbit, or rotation, or magnetic fields or anything, yet it produced an
ecological catastrophe, redirecting the course of biological evolution on
our planet.

It is trite but true: Without the end-Cretaceous impact, humans would not be
here.

Copyright 2002, Space.com

=============
(2) IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE

>From NEWSWEEK INTERNATIONAL, 1 July 2002

Jon D. Giorgini says he isn't losing sleep yet over 1950 DA, the kilometer
wide asteroid that he predicted in April might collide with the planet
Earth. After all, if it hits, it won't get here for 878 years. But that
doesn't mean we should let our guard down. If anything, Giorgini, a senior
engineer at NASA /Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California,
says his recent study shows Earth is vulnerable. That point was driven home again
last week, when rival researchers at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory spotted a
chunk of space rock--about the size of a football field--whizzing by Earth
just 75,000 miles away. Named 2002 MN, it came closer than any similar-size
asteroid had in recent years. Giorgini spoke with NEWSWEEK's Adam Piore last
week. Excerpts:

PIORE: How many people are involved in this type of research?

It's sort of a golden age of discovery for asteroids. Between one and 5,000
are being discovered each month because we have new automated systems which
are coming online and are able to scan the skies in an automated way due to
new software and hardware. We've begun to recognize the threat because of
these objects. But the total number of people is about the same as a
McDonald's store: a couple dozen people, at most, working on this on an
active basis. There isn't a lot of funding for it.

Is this something we should be worried about?

Well, not this particular asteroid, 1950 DA, because it's so far off. It's
878 years in the future, but it's possible that there are other asteroids we
haven't discovered yet that could impact sooner. The purpose is to find
these things as soon as possible. If there are centuries of warning, there
are many things you can do about the threat. But if you only find out about
it in the last day or two, or the last year, there's not much you can do. As
far as last week's asteroid goes, it was a close approach--one of the two
closest we've seen, but it doesn't look like it's an impact threat right
now.

What would happen if one of these things hit?

There was an incident where an asteroid comparable to 2002 MN hit in
Tunguska, Siberia, back in 1908. It exploded in the air and flattened about
800 miles of forested area. This object here we're talking about is 50 to
100 yards across. It would be about 10 times bigger than a nuclear
explosion. The thing is traveling around 23,000 miles an hour, so it's got a
lot of energy. 1950 DA would carry about 100,000 megatons of energy if it
hit. It would make a crater about 10 to 15 miles across and devastate
hundreds or thousands of miles around it, kick up dust and steam into the
atmosphere--some would even orbit the Earth for a while. It would be a
global problem.

Were you surprised by 2002 MN? After all, it came out of the blue.

Not really. Statistically, there are about 50 times a year when something
this size passes within a lunar distance [closer than the moon] of Earth.
The problem is, we don't usually find them because they're so small and they
don't reflect a lot of light.

What should we do about 1950 DA?

In hundreds of years, it's hard to imagine what ways we'll have to deal with
it. It's sort of like guys 900 years ago trying to plan the interstate
highway system. It would probably be more sensible to leave it to future
generations. If you have centuries of warning like this, you can just change
the way it absorbs and reflects light and heat. Sunlight shines on it and
heats one side, and it rotates around to the back and the heat radiates off
into space and sort of pushes on it like a weak rocket. Over centuries, it's
enough to push it out of the way. If you have hundreds of years of warning,
you could spread chalk or charcoal over the surface that changes the way it
reflects light and its velocity, or you could send what they call a solar
sail--a big sheet of Mylar-like plastic--and sort of shrink-wrap it, and the
sunlight over centuries would push it out of the way.

And if you don't find out centuries before it hits the Earth?

We want to find these things as soon as possible so we have many options. If
you only have a couple years' warning, you'd have to use nuclear weapons.
Right now we're not in a position to do that. The issue of fitting nuclear
weapons onto a spacecraft that can go into space and rendezvous with an
asteroid--you'd have to know a lot about the asteroid to do it properly, and
a couple years is really short notice.

Should we be doing more?

Yeah, it's sort of a problem here, particularly with radar. The funding
particularly in radar seems to be in doubt. There have been attempts to shut
down the station in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and Goldstone in the Mojave, which
discovered 1950 DA. It's sort of a thin operation here. Radar is the only
ground-based way we can have that will tell us the shape and the size and
allow us to make these kinds of hazard predictions. What you want to be
concerned about is things that haven't been discovered yet.
 
Copyright 2002, Newsweek

==============
(3) SKY-FALLING THREATS

>From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 30 June 2002
http://www.post-gazette.com/forum/col/20020630edjack30p3.asp

On Father's Day, an asteroid the size of a football field came within what
for astronomers is a hair's breadth of striking us. Asteroid 2002 MN came
within 75,000 miles of Earth, the second-closest recorded near miss by any
asteroid. Had it struck the Earth, it would have had the same impact as a
10-megaton nuclear bomb, said astronomers at Britain's National Space
Center.

The odds that an asteroid actually will strike our planet are remote, the
scientists said. But it's happened. An asteroid a little bit larger than
2002 MN flattened 800 square miles of forest near Tunguska, Siberia, in
1908. A much larger asteroid is thought to have whacked into what is now
Mexico 65 million years ago, kicking up dust and debris that covered the
entire planet, and triggering a prolonged winter that killed off the
dinosaurs.

I offer this up for those of you who enjoy fretting about environmental
doom. If one of those big suckers strikes us again -- kaboom! -- that's all
she wrote for the human race, the elephants, the squirrels and the furbish
lousewort.

Astronomers for the U.S. Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration are trying to map the location and trajectory of large
asteroids. If one of these were on a collision course with Earth, it is
possible to deflect or destroy it with nuclear-tipped ballistic missile
interceptors.

Of course, if we deployed an ABM system that could break up asteroids, it
would be child's play to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Liberals don't want to do this. So even though the threat of asteroid strike
is real (though remote), and there is a technological solution (though
expensive), protecting the Earth from asteroid Armageddon has never been an
environmentalist cause. Greens would rather fret about something that is
much less of a problem (if it's a problem at all), and about which we could
do next to nothing if it were.
[BS; as a matter of fact see: http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/rbarti.html , http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/nucreaim.html bobk]

Two days after our close call with Asteroid 2002 MN, The New York Times
published yet another scare story about global warming. In Alaska, "the
average temperature has risen about 7 degrees over the last 30 years," the
Times said.

This was news to the scientists at the Alaska Climate Research Center. Their
data from 1971 to 2000 showed mean temperature increases ranging from 2.26
degrees Fahrenheit (Anchorage) to 4.16 F (Fairbanks). The EPA report which
the Times said was the basis for its story said that warming in Alaska's
interior has been only about 3 F in the last 100 years.

In other words, the Times story was a crock, like its Aug. 19, 2000, story
that the North Pole was melting. Tourists on an ice-breaker saw open water
in the midst of polar ice. This was a sight, the Times said, "presumably
never before seen by humans." Actually, this was a sight humans could have
seen every summer for centuries. Though roughly 90 percent of the high
Arctic is covered with ice in summer, about 10 percent of it is open water,
said Howard Fienberg of Tech Central Station.

Climate is always changing. In the last 10,000 years, the world has been
both warmer and cooler than it is today. Temperatures now are a tad on the
cool side, about 2 F below the medieval warm period of 600 A.D. to 1100
A.D., wrote Andrew Kenny in The Spectator, a British journal. During that
period Greenland was actually green, there were vineyards in southern
England, and life was better than in the "little ice age" which followed.

A good environmental scare needs two ingredients -- an impending
catastrophe, and someone to blame for it, Kenny said.

"One of the real threats to mankind is the danger of a collision with a
large asteroid," he said. "It has happened in the past with catastrophic
effect, and it will probably happen again. But there are no conferences,
resolutions, gatherings protests or newspaper headlines about asteroid
impacts. The reason is that you cannot find anyone suitable to blame for
them. If you could persuade people that President Bush or the oil companies
were responsible for the asteroids, I guarantee there would be a
billion-dollar campaign to 'raise awareness' about the asteroid danger."

Copyright ©1997-2002 PG Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

================
(4) ESA HIGHLIGHTS CONTRIBUTION OF SPACE IMAGERY TO DISASTER RELIEF

>From Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

ESA News
http://www.esa.int

28 June 2002

ESA highlights contributions of space imagery to disaster relief

Speaking at the annual meeting of an international association working to
integrate information technologies for disaster-relief efforts, Stephen
Briggs, head of the Earth observation applications for the European Space
Agency (ESA), pointed to the Agency's satellite imagery and other programmes
as ways space technology can be used to mitigate the effects of natural and
man-made disasters.
 
"ESA is about space, but not just as a technical activity," he said. "We're
looking to exploit space technology and bring the benefits to mankind."

Briggs described ESA's contribution of imagery from its satellites to the
International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, an international
collaboration to put satellite remote-sensing technology into service for rescue
authorities and other civil protection agencies.

Together with ESA, the French Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, the
Indian Space Research Organization, and the US National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration have agreed to contribute satellite imagery from
a constellation of systems, including RadarSat-1, SPOT, ERS-2, IRS, POES and
GOES. The Charter was set up in the framework of the 1999 UN UniSpace III
conference and implemented in November 2000.

"The Charter is making available to civil-protection agencies various type
of space services, including Earth observation data, emergency
telecommunications, precise location and navigation
data," Briggs said. "It ensures free access to satellite data by relief
agencies."

Russia, China, Brazil, Argentina and Japan have expressed interest in
joining the international collaboration, the ESA executive added.

Since its inception, the Charter has been activated 20 times in emergency
situations including earthquakes, oil spills, mudslides and volcanoes. To
activate the system, authorized users can call a dedicated phone line and
mobilize the space assets and associated ground resources. Authorized users
consist of emergency relief and rescue organizations in the countries whose
space organizations are Charter members. Other agencies, including the UN
High Commissioner for Refugees, potentially can play key roles as cooperating
agencies under the Charter.

Signatories have provided satellite imagery Charter activations to help
mitigate a variety of man-made and natural disasters to date, including:

* Supporting rescue operations after a landslide in Slovenia, in
  the first Charter activation, November 2000;

* Providing imagery to rescue organisations following a series of
  earthquakes in El Salvador in January and February 2001;

* Monitoring and tracking an oil spill in the Galapagos, January
  2001;

* Acquiring and delivering imagery to civil-protection teams in less
  than 24 hours when floods hit the Meuse river basin in northeast
  France, in January 2002;

* Plotting lava flows and developing maps to deliver food and
  medical supplies, along with determining safe evacuation routes
  for refugees, following the eruption of the Goma Volcano in the
  Democratic Republic of the Congo, February 2002.

"These incidents, along with the increase in the recent number of calls to
activate the Charter, are clear indicators of the growth in awareness of the
availability and usefulness of imagery data from space," Briggs said.

The ESA official offered his comments to approximately 150 participants at
the 5th annual conference of the Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN),
held in mid-June in Rome, Italy. GDIN is an international non-profit
association devoted to assisting disaster managers in finding the
information they need in dealing with natural or technological disasters.

"We are an association of experts committed to finding better ways to share
information," Larry Roeder, GDIN executive director, told the conference.
"GDIN's mission is to get the right information to the right people at the
right time."

Related news

* Workshop on the International Charter on Space and Major
  Disasters meets at ESRIN
  http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/QOCVCKSC_index_0.html
* ESRIN to host two workshops in October
  http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/ESAH8B2VMOC_index_0.html
* GOME, ATSR and SAR keep watch over Etna
  http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/ESAJRC1VMOC_index_0.html
* Satellite view aids Saône flood mapping
  http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/ESAU2UUM5JC_index_0.html
* Satellite lifeline rises to its first challenge
  http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/GGGI5IQZ0GC_Improving_0.html

Related links

* International Charter on Space & Major Disasters
 
http://www.space.gc.ca/csa_sectors/earth_environment/radarsat/disaster_man/crtrintro.asp
* Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
  http://www.cnes.fr/index_v3.htm
* NOAA
  http://www.noaa.gov/
* Indian Space Research Organisation
  http://www.isro.org/
* Canadian Space Agency
  http://www.space.gc.ca/home/index.asp

IMAGE CAPTIONS:

[Image 1:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/ESA878OED2D_index_1.html]
Hanife Nur, a 10-year old earthquake survivor, does her homework in Beyciler
tent city in the western Turkish city of Duzce in February 2001. Tens of
thousands of Turks are still living in
precarious conditions 18 months after two massive temblors struck Turkey.
Turkey's quake survivors warn that although the first days after an
earthquake are petrifying, the months and years living in poorly built
temporary housing, with no work and little hope can be just as hard, if not
worse. Photo: AP Photo/Murad Sezer

[Image 2:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/ESA878OED2D_index_1.html#subhead1]
ESA's Stephen Briggs (l) discusses the finer points of Galileo with US
Ambassador to Italy Mel Sembler at the Global Disaster Information Network,
in Rome, Italy, June 2002

[Image 3:
http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/ESA878OED2D_index_1.html#subhead3]
A the June 2002 Global Disaster Information Network conference held in Rome,
Italy, an interesting contrast between old and new disaster-management
vehicles was clearly apparent. On the left is a vintage Roman fire truck. On
the right is a satellite tele-medicine unit from Telbios, Milan, Italy.

===============
(5) AT 95, FRED WHIPPLE EMBARKS ON OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD TOUR

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

http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/pr0216.html

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Press Release
Release No.: 02-16
For Release: June 28, 2002

At 95, Comet Man Embarks On Out-Of-This-World Tour

Cambridge, MA As the rocket blasts from the launch pad next week carrying
NASA's Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) mission to outer space, it will carry
with it the thoughts and hopes of many earthbound scientists. But none of
these scientists is more eminent than Dr. Fred L. Whipple, who serves as a
member of the CONTOUR Science Team and its inspirational leader. At the age
of 95, Whipple is the oldest-ever member of a space mission science team.
The CONTOUR mission will add yet another accomplishment to Whipple's long
and distinguished career.

Fred Whipple, often referred to affectionately as "Dr. Comet," originated
the "dirty snowball" model of comet structure in 1950. He theorized that,
rather than loose conglomerates of dust and rock, comets were solid chunks
of ice with dust and rocky particles mixed in. This model was confirmed 36
years later when the European Space Agency's Giotto mission passed by
Halley's Comet.

In addition to his work on comets and the solar system, Whipple served as
director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory from 1955 to 1973. In
1982, the former Mt. Hopkins Observatory in Arizona was renamed the Fred L.
Whipple Observatory in his honor. But Whipple's greatest honor was receiving
the President's Award for Distinguished Public Service from President
Kennedy on June 12, 1963. This award is the highest U.S. civilian honor for
government service, and was bestowed on Whipple for his leadership in
creating a worldwide network to track orbiting satellites.

CONTOUR is a NASA Discovery mission to conduct close-up studies of the
nucleus of at least two comets. Comets formed from the same nebula of
material that formed the planets, so their study can tell us about the birth
of our solar system. The CONTOUR mission will enable scientists to compare
and contrast these frozen bodies in order to learn about their diversity.
CONTOUR scientists will also study how comets evolve as they approach the
sun. Current plans call for CONTOUR to visit Comets 2P/Encke and
73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann.

A photo of Fred Whipple is available online at
http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/press/images/pr0216image.html. More information
on the CONTOUR mission is at http://www.contour2002.org.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center
for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian
Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA
scientists organized into seven research divisions study the origin,
evolution, and ultimate fate of the universe.

For more information, contact:

David A. Aguilar
Director of Public Affairs
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
617-495-7462
daguilar@cfa.harvard.edu

Christine Lafon
Public Affairs Specialist
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Phone: 617-495-7463, Fax: 617-495-7016
clafon@cfa.harvard.edu

================
(6) JPL NAVIGATORS DRIVE TWO-FOR-ONE COMET MISSION

>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          July 1,
2002

JPL NAVIGATORS DRIVE TWO-FOR-ONE COMET MISSION

NASA's Comet Nucleus Tour, slated to launch no earlier than July 3, will
rely on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's navigation experts to guide the
craft on its tricky journey toward two comets to find out how the icy, rocky
bodies evolve as they approach the Sun.

The spacecraft is slated for a 15-month journey to Comet Encke followed by a
two-and-a-half-year trip to Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3. The mission was
conceived so that scientists could compare the older, less active Encke to
the younger, dust-clouded Schwassmann-Wachmann 3. The different targets pose
a challenge to the navigators, too.

"We'll be flying by quickly and close to Comet Encke. There will be just ten
minutes of time to take the science data, and our job is to protect that
time," said Tony Taylor, chief of the navigation team at JPL, in Pasadena,
Calif. "On the other hand, Comet Schwassman-Wachmann 3 has more dust and gas
shooting from its inner body. We will fly past it a bit farther away to
avoid being hit by a particularly large particle, and we'll have more time to
observe the comet."

The navigation team will guide the spacecraft through its complex orbit. The
cleverly developed launch plan will first send the spacecraft into an
Earth-circling orbit. After six weeks, the navigators will steer the
spacecraft toward the first of the two comets.

"It's like having two launches," said Dr. Bobby Williams, a member of the
navigation team and the leader of the JPL navigation team that landed the
Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft on the asteroid Eros in February
2001. "We have to fire a rocket to go into orbit around Earth and then about
six weeks later fire another rocket to push the spacecraft out of Earth
orbit."

The spacecraft will fly by each comet at the peak of its activity as it
approaches the Sun. During each encounter, the target comet will be well
situated in the night sky for astronomers worldwide to make concurrent
observations from the ground. Protected by its dust shield, the spacecraft
will fly by each comet nucleus to within a distance of 100 kilometers (62
miles). The most intensive data taking will occur within a day or so of each
encounter.

The mission's design is flexible so that the spacecraft can be retargeted to
intercept an unexpected comet visitor. If a "new" comet passes close enough
to Earth's orbit, mission managers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied
Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md., will design a new flight path to take
advantage of the opportunity to study the new comet. The JPL navigation team
will then calculate the amount of fuel the spacecraft should burn, and for
how long, to put it on the right path.

JPL will also provide communications support through the Deep Space Network,
the worldwide series of antennas that provide radio communications for all
of NASA's interplanetary spacecraft.

"JPL's participation is essential to making the mission happen," said Dr.
Joseph Veverka, principal investigator and leader of the mission from
Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. "We have to get the spacecraft very close
to the comets and we have to communicate with the spacecraft - and we
couldn't do those things without JPL. And one of the world's experts on
comets, Dr. Don Yeomans of JPL, is part of our science team."

Comets may have brought to the forming Earth some of the water in the
oceans, some of the gases of our atmosphere and perhaps even the building
blocks from which life arose.

JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena,
Calif. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory manages the
mission, built the spacecraft and its two cameras and will operate the
spacecraft during flight. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt,
Md., provided the spacecraft's neutral gas/ion mass spectrometer. Von
Hoerner & Sulger, GmbH, Schwetzingen, Germany, built the dust analyzer.
Veverka leads a science team of 18 co-investigators from universities,
industry and government agencies in the United States and Europe. More
information on the mission is available at
http://www.contour2002.org .

===============
(7) USING CHONDRITES TO UNDERSTAND THE INSIDE OF ASTEROID 433 EROS

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

http://www.psrd.hawaii.edu/June02/ErosPorosity.html

Using Chondrites to Understand the Inside of Asteroid 433 Eros
Planetary Science Research Discoveries
June 28, 2002

 --- Data from ordinary chondrite meteorites and from the NEAR mission
suggest that asteroid 433 Eros is heavily fractured.

Written by Linda M. V. Martel
Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology

Asteroid 433 Eros is one of the most closely scrutinized chunks of rocky
debris in our solar system. We know about its bulk properties, internal mass
distribution, and the shape, composition, and mineralogy of the surface from
instruments on the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Shoemaker
spacecraft. Using mass and volume measurements scientists determined the
bulk density of this asteroid for the first time. An interdisciplinary
research team with expertise in cosmochemistry, planetary geology, remote
sensing, and orbital dynamics compared this orbital information with density
and porosity data from meteorite samples to estimate the porosity of the
asteroid. Sarah Wilkison and Mark Robinson (Northwestern University), Peter
Thomas and Joseph Veverka (Cornell University), Tim McCoy (Smithsonian
Institution), Scott Murchie and Louise Prockter (Applied Physics Lab), and
Donald Yeomans (Jet Propulsion Lab) report a macro (structural) porosity for
Eros of approximately 20%. They compared this estimate with features seen on
the surface of Eros and with previously proposed models for the formation of
asteroids to conclude that Eros has been heavily fractured by impact
collisions but was not demolished to the extent that it is now a rubble
pile.

     Reference:

     Wilkison, S. L., Robinson, M. S., Thomas, P. C., Veverka, J., McCoy, T.
     J., Murchie, S L., Prockter, L. M., and Yeomans, D. K. (2002) An
     estimate of Eros's porosity and implications for internal structure.
     Icarus, v. 155, p. 94-103.

Full story here:
http://www.psrd.hawaii.edu/June02/ErosPorosity.html

================
(8) AMATEURS PRESENT THE SKIES TO THE WORLD

>From the Ledger-Enquirer, 1 July 2002
http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/news/local/3577471.htm

BY CAROLE RUTLAND

The telescopes of today's professional astronomers would leave Galileo a bit
puzzled.

For one thing, you don't look through them. These gargantuan instruments are
programmed with the star's coordinates and then they automatically track
down the target and shoot away. The electronic images are recorded and
computers analyze the light.

In most cases, the astronomers never leave the warmth, or coolness as the
case may be, of the computer room. They tap away at their keyboards until
they come up with the star's ingredients, its speed through space, and maybe
its destination, all without touching the telescope.

But there's a growing breed of something called amateur astronomers, who
reverently observe and record the skies' happenings every clear night.

Historically, almost all new comets were discovered not by the professionals
but by amateurs. That statistic began to change with the advent of automated
search programs run by universities and large observatories. Even so,
amateurs continue to identify many new comets each year, spotted from
home-based, sometimes handmade, telescopes.

Since the sky is equally available to everyone, regardless of education,
significant astronomical discoveries are routinely made by amateurs.

Paul Comba of Prescott, Ariz., for instance, has discovered more than 50 new
asteroids in the last five years from his backyard.

Even those magnificent NASA projects like the Voyager fly-bys of Jupiter,
Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune yield only a few hours of close planetary
observation. To a lesser degree, time limitations even plague recent
missions like Galileo and the Mars Global Surveyor.

But amateurs comb the heavens every night, or Mars observers like Donald
Parker turn their scopes toward Mars each time it's visible, looking for
strange occurrences, dust storms, polar ice melting or new surface features.
Parker is a dentist by day, but at night he takes planetary photos that
rival and sometimes supersede those of professional researchers worldwide.

Other amateurs on the front line include a pastor in New South Wales,
Australia, who has discovered 35 supernovae using a small telescope.

Like astronomers hundreds of years ago, it takes a strange obsession to
track these celestial objects night after night.

Equally significant for astronomy and space science education programs all
over our nation is that these amateurs love to share their love of
astronomy. That's why you'll usually find a few of them hanging out at most
outdoor telescope observations.

Indirectly, local amateur astronomers like Henry Weissinger, Dr. John
Tucker, Gary Johnson, Charlie Harrell, Andy Waddell, Billy Chambliss and
especially the team of Randy and Betty Ivans are responsible in part for the
exceptional programming now available at the Columbus State University
Coca-Cola Space Science Center. There is no amount of money or praise that
can appropriately thank these heroes in space science and astronomy
education.

The ISS-AT

Throughout the nation, local amateurs along with amateur astronomy clubs are
united through a network known as the Astronomical League. This consortium
of amateur astronomers is currently testing a telescope like the one they'd
like to place in orbit on the International Space Station before the end of
the decade.

And why do all these amateurs want to place a telescope of their own in
space? The ultimate mission is to have a 16-inch telescope on the
International Space Station for amateurs all over the world to use. Time on
the International Space Station ­ Amateur Telescope, or the ISS-AT, would be
granted for viewing celestial objects which are of interest to the whole
human race and cannot be observed with earth-based telescopes. Students
around the world also have equal opportunity to propose projects.

The ISS-AT will be mounted above the main truss of the International Space
Station, allowing it to float free of vibrations from the station. Proposals
and requests can be submitted by anyone. A review committee will make
recommendations.

You can submit your own viewing proposal by following the guidelines at
www.issat.org. If everything goes as planned, ISS-AT could be launched
sometime between 2005 and 2009.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----
Carole Rutland is executive director of the Columbus State University
Coca-Cola Space Science Center.

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

(9) RE: "NOTHING IN PHYSICS PROHIBITS IMPACT-PRODUCED RINGS"

>From Ian Giblin <giblin@panix.com>

Dear Benny,

I was interested to read the recent well-referenced posts by Mark Boslough
and Tom Van Flandern regarding the possibilites of inserting material into
orbit following an impact.

I'd like to point out that although not significant enough in itself to
produce planetary rings, rotational bursting of prefractured impact ejecta
form a body can yield stable orbits. This conclusion is based upon my own
observations of rotational bursting in impact expeiments and
some simulations carried out for a paper with Paolo Farinella and Jean-Marc
Petit: Impact Ejecta Rotational Bursting as a Mechanism for Producing Stable
Ida-Dactyl  Systems, I. Giblin, J-M. Petit and P. Farinella, Icarus 132, pp
43-52, 1998.

Regards,  Ian Giblin (giblin@psi.edu).
          http://www.giblin.ws

===============
(10) DR PANGLOSS, APATHY & NECESSITY

>From David Johnson <starmanus@earthlink.net>

I have not had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Pangloss, and having him linked
to Dr. Morrison seems obserb. Now my Learned Colleague and I over the past
decade have argued a number of issues, but one still respects our elder
statesmen of Science, regardless of decenting opinions.

The NASA views are well known within our small international community, and
if not for NASA assistance and at times inspiration, we may still be
utilizing early 19th century optics (obserb, maybe). This article does bring
up some questions though as to need. What is needed, now is for the NASA to
finish their present survey by 2008 of 1KM and larger NEOs, and then they
may look at surveying the smaller objects. Which is something I thought
should be done as well.

Part of the problem here is in making a politician understand science, as
they control the purse strings. A year or so ago, there was an argument over
probability, something we as scientist understand, but the ordinary man of
today hardly grasps, and a politician, well, they only see dollar signs of
the overall research, and often miss the importance of the work where we see
the survival of the human race.

The sense of urgency in our work stems from the rogue's, the ones that the
press seems to be keen on reminding us that the breeze we felt over head at
times is a near miss, and we blew it, as we didn't see it coming. These are
also the ones which may soon disturb our daily life more than September 11th
did, unless we find a way to detect them much earlier than 4 days after they
have passed us. There lies the challenge and the urgency.

Also, just as important is possibly taking the Spaceguard program a step up,
and truly unifying its mission to encompass every nation with a science
program, in every hemisphere.. We still do not have the eyes in Australia.
This program should be of concern of every nation, regardless of their
status, friend or foe, as we all have the right to survive. Now this may be
an unpopular statement, yet if we are to survive that eventuality of an
asteroid impact, then it will take all of the scientific community from the
around world to mount the appropriate response.

The United States and NASA alone can not shoulder the burden of being the
sole protectors of the Earth, that is for all of us. After all there is
strength in numbers. Thus perhaps our time is better spent not worrying
about the misquotes of the press, as we are all keenly aware of our
mortality, where most of the general population is not unless they see it in
a movie. 

In the end the clock is ticking on all of us as well as for Humanity, if we
are to survive we must get better at working together, and not let our
apathy and contentment with daily life slow our progress down. NASA is
proceeding in the direction it deems fit, as are the rest of us. We each
have a unique perspective of our world and our chosen fields, and each of us
have something to add to the research of surviving.

Regards,

Dr. David James Johnson
Stellar Research Group
North Manchester, Indiana
USA

===========
(11) AND NOW...A SHORT NOTE FROM ONE OF THE BETTER HISTORIANS OF THE 22cd CENTURY

>From E.P. Grondine <epgrondine@hotmail.com>

Hello Benny -

Well, I suppose that every pieces needs a start, so here's

THE AMBLING PREAMBLE

I am disappointed at the recent comments by Hermann Burchard and David
Morrison, in which both of them seem ignorant of the work currently being
done on "recent" small impact events. So as to clear up any confusion that
may have entailed as a result of their remarks, I am sending along this
small summary of the work being done in this field; at the end of this small
overview extracts from Burchard and Morrison's recent comments are appended,
along with a few choice comments of my own.

I would like to be able say that I am sending along this quick overview on a
simply altruistic basis, but I must confess that perhaps other motives may
play a part here. Judging from the record of recent historical impacts such
as has been recovered to date, I expect that a "small" impact will occur
within the next 100 years. Therefore on the day immediately after this
impact I anticipate being publicly acknowledged (alongside a few of my
colleagues) as one of the 22cd century's better historians.


INTRODUCTION

Apart from the work which had been done by L.A. Kulik and others on the
Tunguska impact, and the work done by others on the impacts in South America
(below), which are probably best considered as a contemporary impact events
rather than as historical ones, Lennart Meri may have been the first in
recent times to work in a serious manner on a historical impact (the Kaali
Impact, Hõbevalge ("Silverwhite" or "Silvery White"), 1976.) In the west,
Bob Kobres was one of the first to begin digging up proto-historical
mentions of impact events, beginning his work sometime in the late
1970's-early 1980's. However, since due to language barriers Meri's work did
not enjoy wide international circulation, and Kobres managed to obtain only
limited publication by 1982, Bill Napier and Victor Clube (The Cosmic
Serpent, 1982 and The Cosmic Winter, 1990) must be aknowledged as the
founders of the field of the research, at least as its founders in the west.

Unfortunately, Napier and Clube's works were histories written by
astronomers, and in the course of arguing their hypothesis that much of the
reported recent impact activity was the result of repeated collisions of the
Earth with fragments of the Comet Encke, they played very fast and loose
with several chronologies which had been laboriously built up by the
specialists working in several different fields of ancient history. The
result was that those very same specialists largely ignored Clube and
Napier's works.

Aside from the problems of chronology which Clube and Napier faced, another
problem was disentangling the reports of separate impact events, and as will
be shown by the table below, in these early works they conflated accounts of
several of separate impact events.  This deficiency itself may have been no
doubt due in large part to the fact that at that point in time no one had
made any but the most rough estimates as to how frequently these small
impact events had actually occurred.

This lack of knowledge of the frequency of small impacts in turn may be due
in part to the earlier failure by the US government to adequately fund
crater counts on the images of the surfaces of the Moon and Mars which had
recently been returned by the first space probes to those bodies. Though
Gene Shoemaker and his colleagues performed a number of crater counts in the
early 1960's on the first detailed images of the surfaces of the Moon and
Mars: http://wwwflag.wr.usgs.gov/USGSFlag/Space/Shoemaker/00gene_bib.txt
they were given limited resources, and their counts covered only a small
part of the surface images available. This US govnerment failure to fund
adequate surface craters counts continues today.

For all the faults of their pioneering work, there are so many who followed
Clube and Napier's lead that I will only be able to mention the work of some
of them in the following summary, and my apologies beforehand to all those I
failed to mention, as well as for my mistakes in precedence, mistakes which
undoubtedly occur in what follows. That said, the Conference archivist Bob
Kobres was certainly one of the first to adopt Clube and Napier's
hypothesis, as was Phil Burns.

Apart from those following after Clube and Napier, other researchers were
drawn into this field   of study by their recovery of data which they could
not explain in any other way, or through mentions of impacts found during
the study of ancient astronomical records. Here we can include tree ring
specialist Mike Baillie; tsunami expert Ted Bryant; climate researcher Timo
Niroma; archaeologists Marie-Agnes Courty and Nick Federoff; and
astronomical record researchers Kevin Yau, Paul Weissman, and Don Yeomans of
JPL, to mention just a few.

A SHORT ANNOTATED LIST OF KNOWN AND SUSPECTED HISTORICAL IMPACTS AS OF JUNE,
2002

Most, but not all, of the impact events listed here await detailed
confirmation by field geologists and field archaeologists; those impact
events which have already been confirmed by field studies are indicated by
the lack of an accompanying "?". Known impacts which resulted in no or few
deaths are indicated by "miss". More detailed information on each separate
impact,  pointers to internet sites, and reports on current research may be
found in the Cambridge Conference archives maintained by Bob Kobres at:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/cccmenu.html.


CLASS 8 DEFINITION: LOCALIZED DESTRUCTION
"A collision capable of causing localized destruction."
CURRENT FREQUENCY ESTIMATE (adopted by the International Astronomical Union):
"Such events occur somewhere between once per 50 years and once per 1000
years."

CLASS 8 SUSPECTED(?) AND CONFIRMED HISTORIC IMPACT EVENTS AS OF JUNE 2002:

CA. 2697 BCE - HUANGDI IMPACT, SHAANXI, CHINA
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: Analysis of found fragment not yet published
http://www.china.org.cn/english/30360.htm - Li Yanhun, 1980-2000
http://www1.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2002-04-09/64766.html
http://www.greatwallct.com/meteorit.htm
? http://www.jilin.gov.cn/en/sxfm/jl.htm

17 February, 2325 BCE - CAMPO DE CIELO, ARGENTINA
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: IRON
http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~jaszczak/meteorite.html
http://www.star-bits.com/campo.htm
Both Bruce Masse and Oscar Alfredo Turone have been assembling myths from
the area:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc032601.html

For a possible Mayan record of this event, see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce010702.html - E.P. Grondine, 2001:
7 September, 2325 BCE - A white headband was closed for White?
17 February, 2325 BCE - Lady White conjured up the gods at Matawil
Note that the meaning of the Mayan locative "Matawil" is still unclear, and
this report may instead relate to the Hurrian impact event (below). Note
also that the rain of molten iron subsequent to the impact of an iron at
higher speeds can result in fires occuring over an area far larger than that
first ignited by the intial impact blast.

CA. 1586 BCE  - DESTRUCTION OF HITTITE FORCES UNDER T'E HANTILISH (JOSHUA
IMPACT EVENT)(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: IRON strongly suspected
There had been much discussion of this impact event prior to my own
involvement, and I hope others will forgive my bias here, but for a first
accurate dating in LM 1B context and possible identification as an iron
impactor see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc032098.html;  - E.P. Grondine, 1998
For a summation of contemporary (i.l. at 1586 BCE) text and archaeological
data see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc021202.html - E.P. Grondine, 2002

CA. 520 BCE  - DESTRUCTION OF ETRUSCAN CAPITOL CITY OF VOLSINII(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
See: http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc043098.html - E.P. Grondine, 1998
(I have a collection of Latin texts relating to this impact event sitting on
my desk. Of course, work with texts is no substitute for field work in
Tuscany.)

CA. 1 BCE  - BRENHAM, KANSAS
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: STONY-IRON
For discovery of the crater, see:
http://www.bigwell.org/meteor.html
For impactor type, see:
http://wapi.isu.edu/Geo_Pgt/Mod05_Meteorites_Ast/Met_ast_pages/brenham_meteorite.htm
For Native American use, see:
On five new American Meteorites; ART. XLII, The American Journal of Science,
George F. Kunz, 1890  (This was 112 years ago, but before nuclear explosions
no one understood the size of the blast.)
For an overview of subsequent work, see: Cosmic Debris - Meteorites in
History, J.G. Burke, 1986, pp. 223-225:
For other contemporary work see:
http://www.maa.mhn.de/Comet/metlegends.html  - Gary W. Kronk
http://www.meteor.co.nz/may96_2.html  - Glen Akridge, 1996
Anthropologist Donald Blakeslee is also currently working through Native
American materials.
For exhaustive abstracts of the anthropological and physical work on Brenham
done since 1890, with full citations, serious researchers may wish to try contacting Bernd
Pauli via the meteorite list.

CA. 679 CE - DESTRUCTION OF COLDINGIHAM MONASTERY(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc081597.html  - Phil Burns, 1997
Possible lightening strike on tall structure

CA. 838 CE - IMPACT IN BALTIC AND DEATH BY LOCAL TSUNAMI(?)
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc033099.html - Trevor Palmer, 1999
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce120500.html - James Plamer & Trevor
Palmer, 2000
For mention in contemporary Chinese astronomical records, see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc010301.html

CA. 800 CE - TUNGUSKA TYPE IMPACT AT KEY MARCO, FLORIDA(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: COMET airburst strongly suspected
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce010702.html  - E.P. Grondine, 2001-2002

CA. 1000 CE +/- 100 - DESTRUCTION OF MAJOR NATIVE AMERICAN CENTER
ALONG THE SAINT LAWRENCE RIVER(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce090400.html - E.P. Grondine, 2000

2 SEPTEMBER, 1311 CE - ENGLAND
Gleam enduring many hours, trees burned, church burned
Possible lightening strike on tall structure
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc022800.html - Roberto Gorelli, 1997

1338 CE -  AQUILEIA, NORTHERN ITALY
Lands burned by fire which fell from the sky
No tall structure mentioned
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc022800.html - Roberto Gorelli, 1997

CA. 1321-1368 CE - ERH RIVER FALL IN CHINA(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
Kevin Yau, Paul Weissman, & Don Yeomans - 1994
"Meteorite Falls in China and Some Related Human Casualty Events."
Meteoritics 29, 864-871
Kevin Yau, Paul Weissman, & Don Yeomans - 1994
This work is not available online.  For extracts, including mention of other
very small impacts, see:
http://www.oberlin.edu/library/sciencelib/geo117/group9/group9.html
http://www.100megsfree4.com/farshores/ameteo.htm

1450 CE - MISS IN WABAR, SAUDI ARABIA
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: IRON
http://minerals.usgs.gov/east/wynn/3wabar.shtml - Jeff Wynn & Gene
Shoemaker, 1997

1490 CE - CH'ING-YANG FALL KILLS OVER 10,000 (POSSIBLY HAIL)(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
Kevin Yau, Paul Weissman, & Don Yeomans - 1994
"Meteorite Falls in China and Some Related Human Casualty Events."
Meteoritics 29, 864-871
Article not available online.  For extracts, including other very small
impacts, see:
http://www.oberlin.edu/library/sciencelib/geo117/group9/group9.html
http://www.100megsfree4.com/farshores/ameteo.htm

5 APRIL 5, 1800 CE - NORTH AMERICA(?)
Fall of a large meteorite accompanied by earthquake and overthrow of forest
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc022800.html  - Roberto Gorelli, 2000

9 OR 19 NOVEMBER, 1819 CE - CANADA AND NORTH OF U.S.
Black rain joined with bolides, tremors of earthquake, and obscuration of
the sky
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc022800.html - Charles Fort, 1919;
Roberto Gorelli, 1997

11 NOVEMBER, 1836 CE - MISS AT MACAU, RIO GRANDE DO NORTE, BRAZIL
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: STONE, Olivine-bronzite chondrite (H5), veined, 26.27%
total iron
http://www.meteoritesales.com/met_m.htm - Ken Regelman
After the appearance of a brilliant meteor, followed by detonations, a
shower of stones, some said to weigh from 11lb to 80lb, but most the size of
doves' eggs, fell near the mouth of the river Assn, killing several cattle.

30 JANUARY, 1868 CE - MISS AT PULTUSK, POLAND
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: STONE CHONDRITE
http://www.resologist.net/lands221.htm - Charles Fort, 1923
http://www.meteoriteguy.com/pultusk.htm
http://www.meteoriteguy.com/pultuskslices.htm

8-9 OCTOBER, 1871 CE - GREAT LAKES FIRES(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: COMET, based on 1 recovered sample, possibly COMET BIELA
Air burst leading to fires?
http://www.angelfire.com/mi2/gfmeteor/background.htm#top - Ken Rieli
http://www.angelfire.com/mi2/gfmeteor/evidence.htm

3 FEBRUARY 3, 1882 CE - MISS AT MÖCS, HUNGARY
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: STONE Olivine-hypersthene chondrite (L6), veined, 21.81%
total iron
http://www.resologist.net/lands221.htm - Charles Fort, 1923
http://www.meteoritesales.com/met_m.htm - Ken Regelman other reports of over
100,000 stones.

24 FEBRUARY 24, 1885 CE - 37° N.,170° E., PACIFIC OCEAN
Red inflamed sky, blinding mass fell on the ocean and lifted a large mass of
water
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc022800.html - Charles Fort, 1919;
Roberto Gorelli, 1997

30 JUNE, 1908 CE - MISS (2 DEAD) AT TUNGUSKA, RUSSIA
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: COMET strongly suspected
Summary of current research and internet resources:
http://www-th.bo.infn.it/tunguska/ - another excellent Italian research
effort

10 AUGUST, 1930 CE - MISS AT RIO CURACA IN JUNGLE OF BRAZIL
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: COMET strongly suspected
http://www.xtec.es/recursos/astronom/craters/amazonase.htm
- Leonid Kulik, 1931; N.Vasilyev & G.V. Andreev, 1989;
  Mark Bailey, D.J.Markham, S. Massai, J.E. Scriven, 1995; Duncan Steel,
1995
http://www.meteor.co.nz/feb96_2.html
http://www.anomalist.com/reports/tunguska.html - Mark Bailey, 1995; Patrick
Huyghe, 1996

11 DECEMBER, 1935 CE  - MISS IN RUPUNUNI REGION OF BRITISH GUYANA
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN, but one capable of creating airburst
http://www.xtec.es/recursos/astronom/craters/amazonase.htm  - Serge A.
Korff, 1935

12 FEBRUARY, 1947 CE - MISS AT SIKHOTE ALIN IN KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: IRON
http://www.arm.ac.uk/paseg/Sikhote-Alin-1947.html - E. L. Krinov, Valentin
Tsvetkov
http://www.usm.maine.edu/~planet/galbtxt.html
http://www.alaska.net/~meteor/SAinfo.htm

1972 CE - MISS IN SOUTH WEST PACIFIC(?)
http://www.llnl.gov/planetary/pdfs/Threat/02-Nemtchinov.pdf
http://www.llnl.gov/planetary/pdfs/Threat/02-Boslough.pdf

10 AUGUST, 1972 CE - MISS BY GREAT DAYLIGHT FIREBALL
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: COMET strongly suspected
http://www.astrosurf.com/lombry/Images/impact-teton.jpg
http://www.astrosurf.com/lombry/meteores-anomalies2.htm
(I have not found on the internet as an mpeg file the very impressive movie
of this near miss, and I do not know if anyone has calculated when this
object will return to intercept the Earth.)

1 FEBRUARYT, 1994 - WESTERN PACIFIC
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/astronomy/classified_impacts_000502.html
Edward Tagliaferri
FOR US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE DECLASSIFICATION ALSO SEE:
http://www.permanent.com/ref-so-5.htm#1 - Pete Worden
http://www.permanent.com/ref-so-5.htm#9 - Doug ReVelle
http://www.permanent.com/ref-so-5.htm#3 - Grant Stokes

RECENT UPPER ATMOSPHERE DETONATIONS OF IMPACTORS (BOLIDES):
http://phobos.astro.uwo.ca/~pbrown/usaf.html

18 JANUARY, 2000 TAGISH LAKE
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: COMET based on multiple samples recovered
http://phobos.astro.uwo.ca/~pbrown/tagish/

CLASS 9 DEFINITION: REGIONAL DEVASTATION
"A collision capable of causing regional devastation."
CURRENT FREQUENCY ESTIMATE (adopted by the International Astronomical Union):
"Such events occur between once per 1,000 years and once per 100,000 years."

CLASS 9 SUSPECTED(?) AND CONFIRMED HISTORIC IMPACT EVENTS AS OF JUNE 2002:

DATE UNKNOWN: ENLIL'S PICKAX IMPACT(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
Crater identified by Sharad Masters, 2001 -
http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2001%2F11%2F04%2Fwmet04.xml
http://atlas-conferences.com/cgi-bin/abstract/caiq-15
For other comment on possible dating, possible Harappan immigration into
depopulated area, and myths possibly relating to this impact, see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc041702.html - E.P. Grondine, 2002

CA. 5700 BCE - NINURTA/ASAG IMPACT(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc041702.html - E.P. Grondine, 2002

CA. MAY 10, 2807 BCE - UTNAPISHTIM/GILGAMESH/ATRAHASIS MEGA-TSUNAMI(?)
So many have worked through the myth materials and flood remains related to
this possible impact and subsequent mega-tsunami that there is not
sufficient space here to cover it all. No less than six versions of the myth
have been preserved:
http://www.asa3.org/archive/ASA/200103/0070.html
along with a Hurrian version.
Bruce Masse is currently working through the myth materials, and arrived at
2807 BCE as the date of the Indian Ocean impact and resulting tsunami

2318-2278 BCE - THE ULLIKUMMI HURRIAN IMPACTOR
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: COMET

Archeologist Claude Schaeffer (1948) was the first to notice simultaneous
destruction levels in the ancient Near East: Stratigraphie Comparee et
Chronologie de l'Asie Occidentale: IIIe et IIe Millenaires, Oxford
University Press, Oxford & London, 1948.  His work then languished:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc022497.html
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc070497.html
until in an attempt to resolve the cause of these destructions, the lead
excavator of the site of Tel Leillan, Harvey Weiss, called in French soil
specialist Marie-Agnes Courty.

By 1997, Courty believed she had identified a local strata of impact origin:
http://personal.eunet.fi/pp/tilmari/tilmari2.htm
though other members of the team strongly argued for volcanic or natural
cyclic climatic effects as the cause of the simultaneous destruction levels.

By 1999, a Hurrian account of a cometary impact had been recovered:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc012099.html - E.P. Grondine, 1999

and for a contemporary illustration of this impact event, see:
http://www.louvre.fr/anglais/collec/ao/sb0004/ao_f.htm  - identified, E.P.
Grondine, 2002

For a possible absolute dating of this impact event, see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc041702.html - E.P. Grondine, 2002

Based on the soil record, it appears that the effects of this impact event
may have been regional, and not global in scope. The causes of Near Eastern
droughts are still under debate, and for the current problems caused in
differentiating impact debris from volcanic ash and wind blown top soil,
see:
http://www.knowledge.co.uk/sis/abstract/courty.htm

For an attempt at an absolute dating of the droughts during this period,
see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc041702.html - E.P. Grondine


CA. 1500 BCE - INCINERATION OF CITY OF MOHENJO DARO(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: COMET strongly suspected
Site excavators found bodies lying scattered in the streets of "The City of
the Dead", with no evidence of wounds or weapons, and signs of
"virification" by intense heat - remains consistent  with the air burst of a
cometary impactor of the Tunguska type. These "mysterious" remains, in
combination with heavily nationalistic archaeologies and poorly understood
myths, have lead to a great deal of nonsense. To my knowledge no one is
currently seriously workng with either these physical remains or with the
impact myths. Nonetheless, both the physical remains and the myth materials
remain what they are.
http://www.itihaas.com/ancient/contrib2.html
http://personal.eunet.fi/pp/tilmari/tilmari3.htm - Timo Niroma, 1998
http://www.meteorobs.org/maillist/msg19734.html - E.P. Grondine, 2000
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc092600.html - E.P. Grondine, 2000

CA. 635-570 BCE - KAALI LAKE IMPACT
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: IRON
http://www.muinas.ee/ecp/kaali/en/index.html
Ivan Reinvald, 1928-1941; Agu Aaloe, 1955-1980; Lennart Meri, 1976
For an overview, see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc062402.html

CA. 300 BCE - DEVASTATION OF AINU PEOPLE OF JAPAN(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc102898.html - E.P. Grondine, 1998
Jomon ends in southern Japan, appearance of Yayoi culture, with Ainu impact
myth. Tom my knowledgem, no one fluent in Japanese is working on these
materials.

CA. 500 CE - IMPACT TSUNAMI HITS WESTERN AUSTRALIA
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce053101.html
Ted Bryant, Bob Young, Duncan Steel, 1989-1996

580 CE - DESTRUCTION IN BORDEAUX REGION AND CITY OF ORLEANS(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc081597.html  - Phil Burns, 1997

585 CE - DESTRUCTION OF "TWO ISLANDS IN THE SEA"(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc081597.html - Phil Burns, 1997

CA. 750 CE - GREAT RAFT FORMATION, LOUISIANA(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
Currently unknown if caused by impact, hurricane, or methane hydrate explosion
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce090400.html - dating, E.P. Grondine,
2000
(I believe Bob Kobres was the first to raise this possibility, but I can not
find a link)

CA. 1200 CE - BALD MOUNTAINS IMPACT(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
Event leads to migration of Cherokee into depopulated area?
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce090400.html - E.P. Grondine, 2000

CA. 1500 CE - AUSTRALIAN GREAT WALL OF WATER
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNKNOWN
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce053101.html
Ted Bryant, Bob Young, Duncan Steel, 1989-1996
With collapse of Polynesian megalithic cultures on Ponhpei and elsewhere


CLASS 10 DEFINITION: GLOBAL CLIMATIC CATASTROPHE
"A collision capable of causing global climatic catastrophe."
Current stated IAU (International Astronomical Union) frequency estimate:
"Such events occur once per 100,000 years, or less often."

CLASS 10 SUSPECTED(?) AND CONFIRMED HISTORIC IMPACT EVENTS AS OF JUNE 2002:

CA. 3114 BCE -
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: COMET, possibly COMET ENCKE

By 1998, climate researcher Timo Niroma had noticed several simultaneous
events centered around this date: Stonehenge I had been constructed, and the
date was significant in the Mayan Calendar.  Niroma had also begun to work
through the myths, in particular hypothesizing on tsunami leading to flood
myths (Battle of Titans?): http://personal.eunet.fi/pp/tilmari/tilmari3.htm

For Mayan records of this event, see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce010702.html - E.P. Grondine, 2001:
16 June, 3122 BCE    - The First Maize Revealer Partitioner is born
7 December, 3121 BCE - Birth of Lady White (?)
13 August, 3114 BCE  - Image made visible at Closed Sky, the First Three
StonePlace;
                       Event for The First Maize Revealed Partitioner
5 February, 3112 BCE - The First Maize Revealed Partitioner enters the sky,
                       Prepared/Dedicated the Raised Up Sky Place in the
North
                       Set in motion the Raised Up Sky Heart

25 October, 2360 BCE - GREAT SOUTH AMERICAN FIRE; END OF MAYA FIRST CREATION(?) -
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: COMET, possibly COMET ENCKE

Following Peter Schultz's idenitification and dating of the Rio Cuarto
features,
http://usuarios.lycos.es/CRATERES/index.htm
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/05/0509_020509_glassmeteorite.html
Anthropologist Bruce Masse assembled South American folk myths relating to a
great fire:
http://www.msnbc.com/news/373938.asp?cp1=1
http://atlas-conferences.com/cgi-bin/abstract/caiq-36

For Mayan records of this event, see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce010702.html - E.P. Grondine, 2001:
8 November,  2360 BCE - Birth of the Red Dwarf(?) Partitioner
25 October,  2360 BCE - Birth of Sun-eyed Torch, The killer of the kings in
                        the White House, the White Bone House, the ?? of the heavens,
                        who with fire closed the eye of the Sun-eyed Lord Sun;
                        "arrived" (struck) at or from "Matawil"
21 October,  2360 BCE - Birth of G1

For a possible Near Eastern dating of this event, see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc041702.html - E.P. Grondine, 2002

CA 1150 BCE - ATLANTIC IMPACT MEGA-TSUNAMI DEVASTATES COASTAL CENTRAL AND NORTH AMERICA
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNCERTAIN, possibly dates with COMET ENCKE return
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce010702.html - E.P. Grondine, 2001
General migration in Eastern Mediterranean follows

ca. 536 CE - CLIMATE COLLAPSE(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: UNCERTAIN, possibly dates with COMET ENCKE return
Dust loading leads to sub-Roman times becoming sub-Roman. Global climate
collapse and starvation.  Possible combination of volcanic and cometary
dust. "Dendrochronology raises questions about the nature of the AD 536
dust-veil event", M.G.L. Baillie, The Holocene  4, 2, 212-217  1994
Summation of current research:
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/flash/catastrophe1_script.html
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/flash/catastrophe2_script.html
Current discussion:
http://www.ad536.org/ad536/

CA. 830-875 CE - CLIMATE COLLAPSE DUE TO INTERCEPTION OF COMET DEBRIS
STREAM(?)
TYPE OF IMPACTOR: COMET(?)
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc033099.html - Trevor Palmer, 1999
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce120500.html - James Plamer & Trevor
Palmer, 2000
For Chinese records, see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc010301.html

WORK ON RECENT HISTORICAL IMPACTS IN PROGRESS

Information on both tsunami and airburst impact events affecting the Maori
of New Zealand is currently undergoing analysis by Peter Snow. I have also
been informed by Richard Wade that initial data on historical impact events
in Africa will be published in the very near future.  Bruce Masse's work on
South American and other myths continues. Ed Sugrue, Annette Kolodny, and
Melissa Ryan are currently working through Native American materials
relating to historical impacts in North East North America. I have also been
informed that the United States' National Academy of Science is working on
an impact risk assessment due in 2003.

The Indian Space Research Organization has suspended its work in translating
and publishing ancient Indian astronomical records and transferred those
funds to military related tasks.

WERE THE IMPACTS PERIODIC?

How is Clube and Napier's original hypothesis that several impact events
were related to the regular returns of Comet Enchke holding up? Mike Baillie
has provided a short list of demonstrated periodicity in tree ring data:
"The tree-ring record points to global environmental traumas between 2354
and 2345 BC, 1628 and 1623 BC, 1159 and 1141 BC, 208 and 204 BC and AD 536
and 545...", which appears to show specific support for it. While
archeological excavation data currently seldom provides sufficient time
resolution for astronomical work, some ancient text records are sometimes
pretty adequately dated, particularly those with astronomical references,
with Mayan text records being very date specific indeed. While the 2360 BCE
return of Comet Encke appears to be mentioned by text, and the 1159 BCE
return of the Comet indicated by mega-tsunami, the explosions of the
volcanic island of Thera ca 1628 BCE and the volcanic island of Krakatoa ca
536 CE make it very difficult to separate out the data on the effects of any
returns in these periods. For the 208 BCE window of Comet Encke's return, so
far there appears to have been little archeological evidence recoverd of the
interception of its debris field, and in particular no evidence of impact
events. But this is only a summation of current knowledge, and all of this
most likely will change significantly as work on the archaeological record
continues.

Almost no work has been done to date on the periodicity of other impacts,
and whether these impacts may relate to the regular return of other comets
or of asteroidal debris streams.  No doubt this is due for the most part to
the simple fact that so little reliable data on the impacts themselves has
been recovered to date. If the historical impact record is to be recovered,
money needs to be spent on targeted research in the field.

Bernd Pauli has done very limited work on the regular annual return of
meteorite streams, and I expect that meteoriticist Ken Regelman may take
this work up soon as well.

PREHISTORIC IMPACTS AND MAN

A MASSIVE IMPACT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE HOLOCENE

German rocket scientist and inventor Otto Muck was probably the first to
note a number of geological anomalies indicative of a massive impact event
at the start of the holocene:
Atlantis gefunden: Kritik und Lösung des Atlantis-Problems, Stuttgart,
Victoria Verlag, 1954

The retired British geologists Derek Allan and Bernard Delair continued with
the assembly of these anomalies in their book, When the Earth Nearly Died,
1995, now published as Cataclysm: Compelling Evidence of a Cosmic
Catastrophe in 9500 B.C., 1997, which contains an exhaustive bibliography.
While the anomalies Allan and Delair list are indicative of impact, their
work has often been used by others to support the most extravagant
astronomical and anthropological claims.

For a review of the book, see Trevor Palmer's comments at:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce102899.html

For North American anthropological restraints on the date of this impact
event, see:
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/ce010702.html

For a possibly related African neolithic site, see:
http://www.colorado.edu/PublicRelations/NewsReleases/1998/Oldest_Astronomical_Megalith_A.html

AN IMPACT WITNESSED BY HOMO ERECTUS

Stone tools have been found at a massive impact crater in Asia which dates
frome some 803,000 years ago: Mid-Pleistocene Acheulean-like Stone
Technology of the Bose Basin, South China; Hou Yamei, Richard Potts, Yuan
Baoyin, Guo Zhengtang, Alan Deino, Wang Wei, Jennifer Clark, Xie Guangmao,
and Huang Weiwen, Science March 3 2000: 1622-1626.
For extracts, see:
http://home.earthlink.net/~exonews/ancients/oldest_stone.htm
http://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/ccc/cc030600.html

A NARROWING OF THE DNA POOL

Several teams of researchers studying changes in human DNA have recently
noted that there appears to have been a reduction of the human population to
around 100 individuals, but the point in time when this occured as well as
where it occured are both not yet adequately constrained enough to allow
tieing it to an impact event.

E.P. Grondine epgrondine@hotmail.com
Oak Knoll Farm, Burr Hill, VA. 22433
tel. 540-854-4429


A COMMENT ON BURCHARD'S RECENT COMMENTS

While I greatly enjoy Burchard's contributions to the Conference on
geological processes, in his recent note on Clive Cookson's Financial Times
piece, Hermann wrote:

"(Cookson) 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."

Actually, neither of these statements is true.

Hermann further wrote:

"There must have been MANY fatal cosmic impacts during recorded history, but
they failed to make it into the official historical records."  This is not
true.

"And if they did, then only in the guise of myths." This is not true. While
the casual agents of impact events were usually viewed as gods both in myths
as well as in some contemporary impact accounts, as this was the way these
peoples viewed their way, other historical records left out the gods
entirely.

"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." Again, this is simply not true. Staggeringly large areas were
affected, and relatively large numbers of people killed.

Burchard then went on to mention apparent references to impact events which
may have survived in the Biblical book of Revelation, chapter 6, 12-15, and
chapter 8, 7-12. As due to the difficulties in transmission and assembly of
these text materials they are currently practically useless for serious work
on historical impact events, no one is working seriously with them. If
Hermann wants to take shot at it, good luck.

A COMMENT ON MORRISON'S RECENT COMMENTS

It is clear that Morisson feels that no additional US funding is needed to
accomplish the 90% of 1 kilometer diameter survey by 2008. That position is
arguable, even though Don Yeomans, the operational head of JPL's NEO office,
the person is responsible, thinks otherwise.

I think that the real problem here is Morrison's apparent lack of awareness
of the immediacy of the small impact hazard - and it is my thinking that
this is what led the reporter to misquote him. "The real question," Morrison
said, "is how important is this hazard vs. others?"

Here lies the problem. Morrison is currently so unaware of the small impact
hazard as to state that "The real issue is what we do next. Go for 95% at 1
km? Go for 300 m diameters? This has not been decided either internationally
or within the US, and it is an issue that needs discussion and planning." I
think that nearly all, if not all, of the astronomers within the NEO
community currently understand that the small impact hazard is so great that
finding these things must be set as a national goal of every government
existing on planet Earth as soon as possible. For them the debate which
Morrison proposes is over.

Thus while in some situations Morrison's scepticism could serve as a
valuable tool as a stop to bad science and bad policy, in this case, at this
time, it appears to me to that his failure to keep up with research in this
area simply constitutes a hazard in and of itself. There is no "issue"; the
work simply has to be done, and done as quickly as possible.

I also must take strong exception to Morrison's failure to comment on the
hazard faced from cometary impact, as in recent times this has been large
component of the impact hazard.

I finally must object most strenuously to Morrison's statement that: "There
are no extra points for getting it on the way in. We just want to find them,
catalog them, project their orbit, and make sure they're not a threat to
us."

While Morrison appears to think that there are no points for getting them on
the way in, I am pretty certain that he stands nearly alone on this, as most
here understand that more than occasionally those coming in do not go back
out. Also, most here realize that sooner of later, and most probably sooner
rather than later, we're going to find one these things that is a threat,
and at that time we're going to face a very real and pressing need to do
more than simply watch it hit and perhaps even kill very large numbers of
people.

all the best -
ep

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