PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 88/2001 - 19 July 2001
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* PLEASE NOTE THAT I WILL BE ON HOLIDAY FROM 23 JULY - 20 AUGUST *
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"PREPARE to be afraid, very afraid. The Government has set up a
special unit to find out when the next horseman of the apocalypse
will gallop through the neighbourhood. Killer asteroids, doomsday plagues
and a morbid fear of something nasty lurking in the lab were once the
sole preserve of the feverish minds of science fiction writers. In the past
few days, however, the Government has announced that it will turn to
sci-fi in a big way to anticipate catastrophes."
--Roger Highfield, The Daily Telegraph, 18 July 2001


"The mining of asteroids, space-based hotels, zero-gravity
manufacturing and medicine -- they're all part of the future
commercialization of space, according to a joint government and industry
group that's developing the InterPlaNetary (IPN) Internet. Starting this
year, with NASA funding, the IPN will roll out in pieces over the next
several decades to support communications among spaceships, robots and
manned and unmanned outposts in the solar system."
--Gary H. Anthes, CNN, 18 July 2001



(1) FIREBALL EXPLODES OVER NEW JERSEY
    The Trentonian, 18 July 2001

(2) ANCIENT CITIES VANISHED INTO MUDDY MORASS
    New Scientist, 18 July 2001

(3) WHO WILL SAVE US FROM DESTRUCTION? NEW TASK FORCE TO ASSESS EVERY KNOWN
AND UNKNOWN (AND UNKNOWN UNKNOWN) HAZARD, DANGER, THREAT AND POTENTIAL RISK
    Daily Telegraph, 18 July 2001

(4) TIME TO DEMOTE PLUTO? MAYBE
    The Columbo Dispatch, 15 July 2001

(5) INTERPLANETARY INTERNET IN THE WORKS
    CNN, 18 July 2001

(6) EARTHQUAKES REVEAL DIAMONDS' ORIGINS
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(7) SUPERVOLCANOES
    Hermann Burchard <burchar@mail.math.okstate.edu>

(8) TUNGUSKA EXPEDITION
    Andrei Ol'khovatov <olkhovatov@mtu-net.ru>

(9) PLANETARY DEFENSE: DIRECT HIGH-SPEED INTERCEPTION
    Ulybyshev Y

(10) WOBBLING ASTEROIDS AND COMETS
     Michael Efroimsky

(11) DIRECT SIMULATION OF METEOROIDS AND SPACE DEBRIS FLUX ON LDEF
SPACECRAFT SURFACES
     Jingqi Miao and J. P. W. Stark

(12) THE EUCRITE/VESTA STORY
     Drake MJ

(13) LOW ALBEDOS AMONG EXTINCT COMET CANDIDATES
     Fernandez YR, Jewitt DC, Sheppard SS

(14) FINAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF JAPANESE NEO WORKSHOP
     Syuzo Isobe <isobesz@cc.nao.ac.jp>

(15) FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT: THE INSPIRATION OF ASTRONOMICAL PHENOMENA
     Rolf Sinclair  <rolf@SANTAFE.EDU>

(16) AND FINALLY: NO VOLCANOES, NO EARTHQUAKES, BUT LOTS OF CLOUDS. BRITISH
ENVIRONMENT ON MARS
     Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

=============
(1) FIREBALL EXPLODES OVER NEW JERSEY

From The Trentonian, 18 July 2001
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=2099468&BRD=1697&PAG=461&dept_id=44551&rfi=6

UFO sightings at dusk, dawn

DAVE SOMMERS, Staff Writer July 18, 2001

Most UFO sightings in the New Jersey-Pennsylvania sky occur either at dawn
or dusk when objects high up in the stratosphere, such as airplanes or
meteorites, are more likely to refract sunlight back to earth, astronomers
say.

That's one of the things that puzzles Kirk Alexander, director of the
Amateur Astronomy Association of Princeton, who notes that Sunday's unusual
sighting occurred in the middle of night.

Alexander said many UFO sightings turn out to be small meteors which split
up, fall back into the stratosphere and burn brightly for several minutes.

"The larger meteorites can explode and the pieces burn in unison as they
fall through the atmosphere," he said.

That's basically the description the 70 or so people gave when they
described the brightly burning lights they observed near Carteret at 12:30
a.m. Sunday.

Alexander also noted that the cool, crisp weather last weekend enabled
people to see for miles, something which can't happen onhazy cloud-filled
nights.

"There have been incidents where aircraft eject small objects out of their
exhaust which can been seen for miles," he said, adding one more explanation
to the long list of possibilities.

The Amateur Astronomy Association group has 150 members. They meet twice a
month, usually at one of the group's two observatories inWashington Crossing
State Park in New Jersey or Jenny Jump, New Jersey.

"As astronomers, we try to look at these weird happenings as a way to learn
something, and we usually do," he said.

©The Trentonian 2001

==========
(2) ANCIENT CITIES VANISHED INTO MUDDY MORASS

From New Scientist, 18 July 2001
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99991047

Stephanie Pain

Two ancient cities that once stood at the mouth of the Nile vanished into a
morass of liquid mud when the river burst its banks, according to an
analysis of the sediments in Egypt's Abu Qir bay.

The research suggests that the cities sank into the bay when turbulent
floodwaters transformed the soft, unstable ground beneath them into a soup
of sediment.

The disappearance of these cities has been blamed on earthquakes, subsidence
and rising sea levels. But Jean-Daniel Stanley, a coastal geoarchaeologist
at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, blames the Nile.

"A powerful flood would bring a lot of water carrying a lot of sediment -
enough to cause failure of the ground at the river mouth," says Stanley.

Prime location

The ruins of the two long lost Greek cities of Eastern Canopus and
Herakleion were uncovered in 1999 and 2000 by marine archaeologist Franck
Goddio of the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology in Paris.

Hi-tech surveys of the seafloor revealed the substantial remains of Eastern
Canopus 1.6 kilometres offshore and buried under five metres of mud. The
city of Herakleion lies beneath seven metres of mud 5.4 kilometres from the
shore.

Today the nearest branch of the Nile lies more than 20 kilometres to the
east of Abu Qir bay. But the surveys show that both cities once stood at the
mouth of a now-extinct branch of the Nile - where they could control
incoming vessels and tax goods being shipped upriver. "You'd think the
Greeks would have thought twice about building on low, soft sediment. But it
was clearly profitable," says Stanley.

Excavations at the two sites indicate that both cities were damaged by
earthquakes before they disappeared. But this doesn't explain why the land
subsided so catastrophically beneath them, says Stanley.

Liquefied earth

Slumping caused by a quake would be widespread in the bay. Instead, it is
restricted to the margins of the lost river. Cores taken at the site of
Eastern Canopus show clear signs of liquefaction - a process that disrupts
the normal layers of sediment. "As the ground turned to liquid some
buildings would sink in, others would be pushed up," says Stanley. Collapse
would be rapid.

Stanley has pinpointed the flood that did for Eastern Canopus. The discovery
of two Arabic coins dating from the 730s suggests the city had not sunk by
then. Written records of the highs and lows of the Nile note significant
flooding in 741-742 AD, with the river rising a metre higher than the normal
flood level. This was almost certainly the flood that buried Canopus, says
Stanley.

Analysis of cores taken around Herakleion this spring should soon reveal
whether it suffered the same fate. The youngest artefacts from the site date
from the first century AD, suggesting that the city disappeared soon after.

As a city built on mud, Herakleion would have been vulnerable to subsidence
during a big flood. "I'm not ruling out earthquakes," says Stanley. "But
flooding would be a strong contender."

Journal reference: Nature (vol 412, p 293)

© Copyright Reed Business Information Ltd.

==========
(3) WHO WILL SAVE US FROM DESTRUCTION? NEW TASK FORCE TO ASSESS EVERY KNOWN
AND UNKNOWN (AND UNKNOWN UNKNOWN) HAZARD, DANGER, THREAT AND POTENTIAL RISK

From Daily Telegraph, 18 July 2001
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=003864436460684&rtmo=Qep30LHR&atmo=rrrrrrrq&pg=/et/01/7/19/ecfdoom19.html

Who will save us from destruction?

Killer plagues and asteroids used to be stuff of science fiction - not any
more. The Government is almost on guard, reports Roger Highfield

PREPARE to be afraid, very afraid. The Government has set up a special unit
to find out when the next horseman of the apocalypse will gallop through the
neighbourhood.

Killer asteroids, doomsday plagues and a morbid fear of something nasty
lurking in the lab were once the sole preserve of the feverish minds of
science fiction writers. In the past few days, however, the Government has
announced that it will turn to sci-fi in a big way to anticipate
catastrophes.

This sci-fi preoccupation started subtly some years ago, with the Foresight
exercise, in which experts conducted crystal-ball-gazing studies to shape
national research priorities. Predictions have ranged from wallpaper that
changes colour at the flick of a switch and voice-controlled kettles to the
ability to catch murderers by reading the fading memories of their victims.

Meanwhile, science fiction - in the guise of theoretical risks - began to
shape policy. British blood products were banned because of fears - rather
than epidemiological evidence - that they transmit the BSE/vCJD agent. The
introduction of GM food and crops was slowed despite the lack of hard data
on deleterious effects. Computer models of global climate informed
environmental policy despite our imperfect understanding of the Earth's
complex weather system.

Although the science was speculative, it was at least plausible, whether
based on test tube studies of the BSE agent, experiments on pollen
distribution or our ability to model past climate change. But now there are
calls for policy makers to go beyond established science and, last week, the
Government responded to this challenge.

One of those pushing for change is Prof Robin Grove-White of Lancaster's
Institute for Environment, Philosophy and Public Policy, who believes the
public will only feel safe when the Government looks into unanticipated
consequences, "unknown unknowns". This seems to go beyond hard science
fiction - efforts to extrapolate from understood phenomena - to science
fantasies about unknown phenomena.

What does he mean, exactly? Prof Grove-White cites examples where "unknown
unknowns" have wrongfooted science: the BSE-CJD saga and a succession of
earlier environmental issues such as DDT, CFCs, fossil fuels, climate
change, the ozone layer, nuclear power and the effects of low-level
radiation.

"The best science of the day failed to anticipate deeply important
consequential effects, in advance of society's initial commitment to a
specific technology or scientific practice," Prof Grove-White told a recent
meeting at Gresham College, London.

Public fear of "unknown unknowns" is motivated by the loss of confidence in
institutionalised politics and top-down scientific "expert" assessment, he
said. This reflects more deep, diffuse and analytically elusive concerns
than the simple cause-effect relationships - important though these
undoubtedly are - upon which official risk assessments focus.

The problem is that unanticipated consequences, "unknown unknowns," and
"surprises" lurk beyond the scope of questions raised by scientists, Prof
Grove-White said. Scientists "tend to identify uncertainty with deficiencies
of knowledge within known and specifiable parameters, rather than with the
more chronic conditions of inevitable ignorance and lack of capacity to
imagine future eventualities that may arise with a given technology."

Prof Grove-White asked one advisory scientist if it is reasonable to fret
over "unknown unknowns" in the case of GM plants. Which unknowns? was the
reply. "That's precisely the point. Possibly they could be surprises arising
from unforeseen synergistic effects, or from unanticipated social
interventions. All people have to go on is analogous historical experience
with other technologies."

He asked the scientist if it would be a good idea to add warnings about
"unknown unknowns" to the advice you're giving Ministers? "No, as
scientists, we have to be specific," said the adviser. "We can't proceed on
the basis of imaginings from some fevered brow."

Perhaps we can. Last week, the Government announced a new unit that takes
science fantasy seriously, or at least as seriously as it can without
introducing absurd measures, such as equipping the population with hard
hats, lead aprons and biohazard suits. The Civil Contingencies Secretariat
will "scan the horizon for emerging destructive challenges," said the
Cabinet Office, explaining how 75 emergency planners have been drafted in
from the Home Office.

Ironically, the same day that these details emerged, a glorious example of
the havoc that can be caused by "unknown unknowns" was unfolding in
Government. The department where this was taking place? The Home Office,
donor of all those crisis experts.

The Home Office is introducing a £2.5 billion communication system, known as
Airwave, which relies on a frequency that should be avoided, according to a
report, because it may cause changes to brain tissue.

Airwave, a collaboration between BT and the police, is being tested by
Lancashire police and will eventually become a national, digital mobile
radio communications service for all emergency services by 2005. It will
boost the speed and security of communication.

Airwave handsets use the European Tetra (Terrestrial Trunk Radio System)
standard, which enable up to four users to access a single radio channel
simultaneously. Their transmissions are confined to "bursts" at the rate of
17.65 times per second (Hz).

But a report commissioned by the Department of Health, under the
chairmanship of Prof Sir William Stewart, former Government Chief Scientist
and architect of Foresight, found that possible effects of frequencies at or
near 16Hz included the release of calcium from brain tissue. Neurons are
sensitive to calcium, which carries out signalling, regulates secretions and
other tasks. Although the Stewart report found no consequences for health,
let alone a plausible mechanism by which these frequencies could affect
brain tissue, the use of that frequency should be avoided, it concluded in
May 2000.

Almost a year later the Home Office announced that experts had examined
Airwave and found "no obvious health risks". The Government said Airwave
would go ahead on the proposed timetable. After all, the new phones comply
with guidelines produced by the National Radiological Protection Board.

Whitehall meetings last week involving scientists, police representatives
and government officials reveal this unknown hazard still troubles the
police and the new ministerial team at the Home Office. A ministry spokesman
admitted that additional research is necessary because concerns "continue to
be expressed".

The problem is that current safety guidelines are designed to avoid heating
effects in the body while the outstanding concerns focus on non-thermal
effects - such as calcium release - which have not yet been resolved. Cancer
is probably not a worry, but what if this causes subtle effects on memory
and concentration in the police and other emergency services?

A new report is due from the NRPB Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation.
The Defence Evaluation Research Agency and the neuroscientist Prof Colin
Blakemore of Oxford University, who wrote the relevant section of the
Stewart report, have also submitted studies.

But these review existing literature and are unlikely to probe the unknown
consequences of the calcium effect. One study that will dig deeper into the
effect of 17Hz radiation will not be finished until next year.

The introduction of Airwave "seems so obviously to contravene a
recommendation of Stewart, albeit one hedged with qualifications," said one
expert who attended a crisis meeting last week, adding that there was a
failure in joined-up government.

Most troubling of all, the Airwave safety studies were only commissioned
earlier this year. If the work had been under way when Stewart was
published, these issues may have been resolved. Few experts expect Airwave
to be any riskier than conventional mobile phones. But until more work is
done, they can't be sure.

Sir William, who is also President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, is
disappointed by the delay, caused in part because his committee was kept in
the dark about Airwave. "All the information that was available was not
forthcoming despite having government and NRPB observers on the committee,"
said Sir William, whose precautionary approach has been widely welcomed.

Members of the NRPB who sat on his committee should have been more
forthcoming about Airwave's 17Hz frequency. "They never said anything about
it," he said. Dr John Stather, deputy director of the NRPB and Stewart
committee secretary, commented: "The operators of Tetra were invited to give
evidence to the Expert Group but chose not to.".

The Tetra specificationss were in fact laid out in Paragraph 4.19 of the
Stewart report, an anodyne statement with no discussion of the implications.
But there was no hint of those "unknown unknowns" that may ambush orthodox
science.

The Government's new disaster team should take note. This is the second
major failure in marshalling scientific advice in the past year (following
delays in modelling the foot and mouth epidemic) and shows that, despite
spending almost £30 million on the BSE report, Whitehall has yet to learn
the lessons of mad cow disease.

Doomsday scenarios - awaiting the worst

Scientists may not be able to predict the 'unknown unknowns', but Mark
Peplow discovered that some disasters could be lurking just around the
corner

John Oxford is Professor of Virology at St Bartholomew's and the Royal
London School of Medicine:

"A global influenza epidemic is guaranteed. The million-dollar questions are
when and where. I feel we ought to build up a stock of anti-flu drugs,
possibly five million doses."

David Smith is Professor of Environmental Science at the University of
Coventry:

"My immediate concern is with rising sea levels, and increase in storminess,
along the British coastline. This has had severe effects on coastal
communities, and it's something the Government needs to focus on."

Professor Mark Bailey, Director of the Armagh Observatory:

"It is now generally accepted that kilometre-size comets and asteroids run
into the Earth roughly once per 100,000 years and that such a collision
would result in a global catastrophe, resulting in the deaths of billions of
people worldwide, more than 10 million for the UK alone."

Chandra Wickramasinghe is Professor of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy at
Cardiff University of Wales:

"I believe that living material was introduced to the Earth by comets
billions of years ago, and this arrival has not stopped. There is about 100
tonnes of comet debris introduced into the Earth's upper atmosphere every
day, a significant proportion of which is organic matter. The time is right
for the government to consider that material capable of affecting human
biology is being brought to Earth from space."

Dr Hazel Rymer, Earth Sciences, Open University:

"The eruption of the Icelandic volcano Laki in 1783 released toxic gasses
that killed most of the island's sheep - this led to the death of a quarter
of Iceland's population. If it happened again, poison gasses could drift
over the UK, causing acid rain that would seriously affect crops for years
to come."

Copyright 2001, Daily Telegraph

===========
(4) TIME TO DEMOTE PLUTO? MAYBE

From The Columbo Dispatch, 15 July 2001
http://www.dispatch.com/news/news01/july01/768080.html

Tom Burns

For The Dispatch

The recent discovery of yet another Plutolike icy body at the edge of the
solar system will surely reignite the controversy over what constitutes a
planet. Do we kick Pluto out of the planetary pantheon because it has
dozens, maybe hundreds, of icy brethren?

If we decide to reclassify Pluto, it won't be the first time that a "planet"
was demoted to a "minor planet." In fact, the problem stretches back 200
years to the discovery of Ceres.

Twenty years earlier, in 1781, William Herschel had discovered the first
planet since prehistoric times when he accidentally spied Uranus.

There was no question about Uranus' planetary status. It was clearly large
enough, and its orbit matched those of other planets. In fact, Uranus'
position in the solar system seemed to verify a very odd theory about the
planets.

Bode's Law, as it was called, seemed to predict the distances of the planets
from the sun in numerical ratios. As stated by German astronomer Johann Bode
in 1772, it goes like this:

Mercury, the first planet, is defined at a distance of 4 units from the sun.
Venus, the next planet, is 3 more units away. The distance to Earth, the
third planet, can be gotten by doubling the 3 (i.e., 4+6). The distance to
Mars is determined by doubling the 6 (4+12). The next planet should be at
4+24 units, but none existed there, at least as far as astronomers knew in
1772. However, doubling the 24 (4+48) produced the distance to Jupiter.
Doubling the 48 (4+96) produced the distance to Saturn.

Most astronomers considered Bode's Law a coincidence until Herschel
discovered Uranus, which turned out to be right where Bode said it would be.

Still, that missing planet (at 4+24) between Mars and Jupiter was a fly in
the mathematical unguent. A frenzied search began for it. However, it was
discovered purely by accident.

On Jan. 1, 1801, Sicilian monk Giuseppe Piazzi was making routine
observations of stars to plot their exact positions. Imagine his surprise
when one of the stars appeared to move slowly against the rest. Piazzi's
observations and the subsequent mathematical work of Carl Gauss placed the
new object, called Ceres, precisely in the Bodean gap between Mars and
Jupiter.

Piazzi had discovered a planet -- maybe. But Ceres was obviously a tiny
thing -- 1,000 times fainter than Jupiter or Mars, the planets that bracket
it. In fact, modern measurements indicate that it is a mere 579 miles wide,
just over one- quarter the diameter of Earth's moon. Also, in 1802, just a
year after Piazzi's discovery, Wilhelm Olbers discovered another "planet,''
Pallas, in the Bodean gap. With the discovery of Juno in 1804 and Vesta in
1807, Ceres' planetary status began to fade.

We now know of at least 10,000 "minor planets" or asteroids orbiting the
sun. Most of them travel in the gap between Mars and Jupiter, called the
asteroid belt. Small hunks of rock like these probably clumped together by
their mutual gravity to form the rocky planets in the first place. The
asteroids in the belt could not form a planet because of the heavy-duty
gravity of Jupiter, which stirred them up.

And, by the way, the discovery of Neptune invalidated Bode's Law.

Even so, it bodes well to observe Ceres this year, the 200th anniversary of
its discovery. A good pair of binoculars or small telescope will show it
over the next few days just under the star Zeta in the constellation
Sagittarius as a faint point of light. Check out the star map for its exact
location.

Tom Burns directs Ohio Wesleyan University's Perkins Observatory in
Delaware.

tlburns@cc.owu.edu

============
(5) INTERPLANETARY INTERNET IN THE WORKS

From CNN, 18 July 2001
http://europe.cnn.com/2001/TECH/internet/07/18/nasa.tech.advances.idg/index.html

By Gary H. Anthes

(IDG) -- The mining of asteroids, space-based hotels, zero-gravity
manufacturing and medicine -- they're all part of the future
commercialization of space, according to a joint government and industry
group that's developing the InterPlaNetary (IPN) Internet.

Starting this year, with NASA funding, the IPN will roll out in pieces over
the next several decades to support communications among spaceships, robots
and manned and unmanned outposts in the solar system.

"It's conceivable that the IPN could go like its terrestrial counterpart,
starting out as a network supporting scientific research and eventually
evolving into something of commercial interest," says Vinton Cerf, senior
vice president of Internet architecture and technology at WorldCom Inc.

Cerf co-invented TCP/IP in 1973 and is often called a "father of the
Internet." He got the idea for an interplanetary extension of the Internet
in 1997 and is now working with engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., to make it real.

"I started thinking about the past 25 years as the Internet evolved, and I
thought, 'Gee, what should we be doing now so that in another 25 years, we
are ready for whatever's coming?' " Cerf explained.

The protocols, software and hardware developed for the IPN will benefit
terrestrial internet users, especially in mobile applications, Cerf says.

Protocols like TCP are unattractive for use in space because they're
"chatty" -- they depend on near-real-time exchanges between communicating
parties. But a message can take 40 minutes to travel between Mars and Earth.
The large distances also limit bandwidth and introduce high error rates.

"Size, weight and, most of all, power are supreme challenges for space-based
communication systems, as they are for ground-based mobile systems," said
the NASA-led IPN Research Group in a paper published in May.

Cerf says the IPN will be a "network of internets," in which ordinary
internets are interconnected by a store-and-forward "overlay" network that
forms a backbone across interplanetary space. Each internet's protocols will
be terminated at its local gateway, and a new "long-haul transport" protocol
will communicate between gateways. A new, end-to-end "bundle" protocol will
operate above the transport layer to carry information from a gateway on
Earth to one on Mars, for example.

Bundling is intended to eliminate the chattiness of local protocols. For
example, a file-transfer request bundle might contain the user's password,
the location of the file to retrieve and the address to which it is to be
delivered.

These concepts may have applications on Earth as the terrestrial Internet
becomes increasingly Balkanized, says Scott Burleigh, a senior software
engineer at the JPL.

Firewalls and network address translation boxes that sit between the
Internet and corporate intranets, along with the proliferation of
intermittently connected mobile devices, are introducing some of the
challenges of communicating in space, he says.

Copyright 2001, CNN

============
(6) EARTHQUAKES REVEAL DIAMONDS' ORIGINS

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

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona

Danika Painter

Contact:
James Hathaway, (480) 965-6375, Hathaway@asu.edu

July 13, 2001

Earthquakes Reveal Diamonds' Origins

Jewel aficionados may soon be praying for an earthquake.

The seismic rumblings could provide key clues about where miners should look
for diamonds, according to recent research. Matt Fouch, assistant professor
of geological sciences at ASU, studies vibrations caused by earthquakes to
visualize the earth at depths of hundreds of kilometers, where diamonds are
formed. His maps of the earth below South Africa provide new information
about Earth's structure in regions where many diamonds are found.

In the July 1, 2001 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, Fouch and his
coauthors, David James, John VanDecar (both of the Department of Terrestrial
Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington), and Suzan van der Lee (of
the Institute of Geophysics, Zürich, Switzerland), show that some of
southern Africa's most profitable diamond mines are located near areas where
the earth is exceptionally stable and cool up to 250 kilometers below the
surface. The paper will be published in a special section of the journal,
with seven other studies on geochemistry, composition, and rock dating of
southern Africa.

Many diamonds come from regions, called cratons, that are some of the most
geologically stable places in the world. Two cratons, the Kaapvaal and
Zimbabwe cratons, covering an area roughly the size of the nation of South
Africa, are the source of most of southern Africa's diamonds.

"The region we're studying in southern Africa is over 3 billion years old,
and in some places it's even 3.6 billion years old," says Fouch. Geologists
think diamonds develop up to several hundred kilometers deep within these
ancient cratons and are then driven straight up to the surface.

Miners scout the best places to dig for gems by looking for diamonds that
have made their way to the surface. Other techniques, such as drilling for
samples deeper in the rock or studying anomalies in the gravitational or
magnetic properties of the earth in the area, increase the chances of
finding diamonds. But none of these approaches guarantee success.

"If people knew exactly how it worked all the time, then we'd have a lot
more diamond mines," Fouch jokes. "Nearly all diamonds come from cratons,
but not all cratons contain diamonds. So the question is, why do some
cratons produce diamonds and others don't? Another question is, why do some
of those areas have diamonds that are commercially profitable, and others
don't? Some regions have diamonds, but they're just too chewed up to be gem
quality."

Fouch and his colleagues think they may have found part of the answer deep
in the earth's mantle -- the layer of rock that extends several hundred
kilometers beneath the crust. By imaging the earth at these depths, they
looked at the very source of diamonds, rather than waiting for them to
travel to the surface. Fouch created three-dimensional images of deep layers
of the earth by using an array of 82 seismometers, sensors that detect
vibrations caused by earthquakes from all around the world. The
seismometers, placed at roughly 100-kilometer intervals across South Africa,
Zimbabwe and Botswana, recorded data from more than 200 earthquakes
occurring over a two-year period, mainly from the Himalayan and Andean
mountain ranges. They used seismic tomography, a technique very similar to
CAT scans in medical imaging, to produce the images.

"As people, we never want earthquakes to happen, but as seismologists we
know they are an inevitability. So our job is to use them in the most
productive way possible," says Fouch. "Every time an earthquake happens,
it's like shining a flashlight on a particular part of the earth. The
seismic waves from each earthquake bounce off of different layers of the
earth and illuminate different internal features."

The speed and angle of earthquake waves' motion depends on what kind of
material they travel through. For example, the rippling caused by dropping a
pebble in a bowl of water will move differently than in water containing ice
cubes or in a bowl of jelly. By analyzing the timing and angle of the
vibrations' spread past the seismometers, Fouch and coworkers mapped the
physical properties of the earth below.

They found that the mantle directly below the most productive diamond mines
looks distinctly different than in the surrounding areas. In
diamond-producing areas, the mantle is "seismically fast," meaning that it
propagates earthquake vibrations quickly because the mantle rock may be
cooler or chemically different from the surrounding areas.

"There are a few distinct pockets of the faster seismic velocities," Fouch
explains. "One of these regions is beneath the Kaapvaal craton in South
Africa, and one -- a little more diffuse -- is beneath the Zimbabwe craton.
... Most of the gem-quality diamond mines in southern Africa lie very close
to these regions." By looking for similarly cold, seismically fast parts of
the mantle, diamond miners may be able to identify new promising areas for
mining. Industry collaborators in southern Africa are very interested in
Fouch's research, and some even allowed the seismologists to install
seismometers on their property.

"This is certainly a technique that could be used in conjunction with other
methods to possibly determine whether a region might be more prone to having
diamonds," Fouch says.

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

(7) SUPERVOLCANOES

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

Dear Benny,

here is an item from BBC dated 3rd February 2000 that may already be
familiar to CCNet:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/supervolcanoes_script.shtml

It apppears identical to a spot on DISCOVERY last week. Yellowstone is
mentioned, which has been linked to a cosmogenic impact in SE Oregon at
about 19 Ma. Apparently it's about to blow up again, as it has been doing
intermittently (every few 100 K years). Also mentioned is Toba, Sumatra
which blew 75 Ka. I was wondering if anything is known about possible
impact-relations of Toba. At more than 30 miles it seems rather large for an
ordinary volcanic caldera. Toba nearly caused our own ancestors to become
extinct at the height of the last glaciation, according to BBC.

Regards,

Hermann

=============
(8) TUNGUSKA EXPEDITION

From Andrei Ol'khovatov <olkhovatov@mtu-net.ru>

Dear Dr.Peiser,

In CCNet of July 16 there was a post re: "ANOTHER SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION TO
TUNGUSKA METEORITE FALL SITE," posted by Ron Baalke and citing PRAVDA
newspaper.

Unfortunately, the info about the expedition is a little bit exaggerated. It
is not a big expedition. As far as I know, the expedition consists of about
8 persons in total. Some of them participated in the Krasnoyarsk part of the
TUNGUSKA 2001 International Conference, but failed to buy tickets for the
flight to Vanavara (near the Tunguska epicenter), so they were not able to
join the main group going to Tunguska, and had to go separetely. The main
group of TUNGUSKA 2001 expedition of 10 persons made a short trip to the
epicenter to take samples and making TV-documentaries. More info on the
conference www.geocities.com/olkhov/conf01.htm. As far as I know, at least
one more reader of CCNet took part in the conference and in the trip, so
maybe he will share his impressions with others.

Sincerely,
Andrei Ol'khovatov
Russia, Moscow

=============
* ABSTRACTS *
=============

(9) PLANETARY DEFENSE: DIRECT HIGH-SPEED INTERCEPTION

Ulybyshev Y: Direct high-speed interception: Analytic solutions, qualitative
analysis, and applications. JOURNAL OF SPACECRAFT AND ROCKETS 38 (3):
351-359 MAY-JUN 2001

Trajectories for high-speed interception in a thin spherical shell of an
inverse-square central gravity field are considered. The solutions are
obtained for the problem of exoatmospheric flight, open time intercept of a
nonmaneuvering target in an orbit during free-flight phase. The fixed-fuel
interceptor is assumed to have the capability of generating fixed magnitude
thrust or a specific impulsive velocity change. A closed-form solution for
the control law is derived. The thrust direction is a linear function of the
relative states between the interceptor and target and a nonlinear function
of the transfer time. This transfer time is obtained as an analytic solution
to a quadratic equation. First- and second-order methods are developed. A
qualitative analysis and a descriptive geometric interpretation of a space
interception are considered. The results show that the optimal guidance law
for the boost phase of an interceptor is the well-known constant bearing
course relative to the target. Descriptive existence conditions of
trajectories for a fixed-fuel interceptor are derived and a computation
method to determine the reachable domain, that is, the boundary set of
initial positions of the interceptor and target, is developed. Numerical
examples of an asteroid interception and satellite interception are
presented. KeyWords Plus: EARTH, ASTEROIDS

Addresses:
Ulybyshev Y, Rocket Space Corp Energia, Space Ballist Dept, Korolev 141070,
Russia
Rocket Space Corp Energia, Space Ballist Dept, Korolev 141070, Russia

Copyright © 2001 Institute for Scientific Information

============
(10) WOBBLING ASTEROIDS AND COMETS

Planetary and Space Science, Volume 49, Issue 9, August 2001, Pages 937-955

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V6T-43GH08G-5&_us
er=777686&_coverDate=08%2F31%2F2001&_rdoc=5&_fmt=summary&_orig=browse&_srch=
%23toc%235823%232001%23999509990%23255461!&_cdi=5823&_sort=d&_acct=C00004303
1&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=777686&md5=c66ff65d5d32150e5a3594696f3ad1
e6

Relaxation of wobbling asteroids and comets - theoretical problems,
perspectives of experimental observation

Michael Efroimsky [efroimsk@fas.harvard.edu], Department of Physics, Harvard
University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Received 1 September 2000; revised 5 April 2001; accepted 8 May 2001
Available online 12 July 2001.

Abstract
A body dissipates energy when it freely rotates about any axis different
from principal. This entails relaxation, i.e., decrease of the rotational
energy, with the angular momentum preserved. The spin about the
major-inertia axis corresponds to the minimal kinetic energy, for a fixed
angular momentum. Thence one may expect comets and asteroids (as well as
spacecraft or cosmic-dust granules) to stay in this, so-called principal,
state of rotation, unless they are forced out of this state by a collision,
or a tidal interaction, or cometary jetting, or by whatever other reason. As
is well known, comet P/Halley, asteroid 4179 Toutatis, and some other small
bodies exhibit very complex rotational motions attributed to these objects
being in non-principal states of spin. Most probably, the asteroid and
cometary wobble is quite a generic phenomenon. The theory of wobble with
internal dissipation has not been fully developed as yet. In this article we
demonstrate that in some spin states the effectiveness of the
inelastic-dissipation process is several orders of magnitude higher than
believed previously, and can be measured, by the presently available
observational instruments, within approximately a year span. We also show
that in some other spin states both the precession and precession-relaxation
processes slow down considerably. (We call it near-separatrix lingering
effect.) Such spin states may evolve so slowly that they can mimic the
principal-rotation state.
 
Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

=============
(11) DIRECT SIMULATION OF METEOROIDS AND SPACE DEBRIS FLUX ON LDEF
SPACECRAFT SURFACES

Jingqi Miao(a) [ j.miao@ukc.ac.uk ] and J. P. W. Stark(b)

From Planetary and Space Science, Volume 49, Issue 9 , August 2001, Pages
927-935 
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V6T-43GH08G-4&_us
er=777686&_coverDate=08%2F31%2F2001&_rdoc=4&_fmt=summary&_orig=browse&_srch=
%23toc%235823%232001%23999509990%23255461!&_cdi=5823&_sort=d&_acct=C00004303
1&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=777686&md5=4ff4ea18b4555b2a797c879028c62d
b4

a The School of Physics Science, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NR, UK
b Engineering Department, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of
London, London E1 4NS, UK

Received 20 May 2000; revised 18 December 2000; accepted 3 April 2001
Available online 12 July 2001.

Abstract
The meteoroid flux on all faces of the long duration exposure facility
(LDEF) is predicted by a direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) model, which
for the first time provides a self-consistent method to model the collision
behaviour between both meteoroids and debris with oriented spacecraft
surfaces. This new model includes the modified Divine's meteoroid
population, and Taylor's velocity distribution, to include the effects of
planetary shielding and gravitational enhancement by the Earth. Results
obtained when only meteroid impact is considered show good agreement with
observed data and provide some correlation with previous models. When the
space debris population is also included, the total particle flux on
different faces of LDEF fits well with the observed measurements.
Information concerning Earth shielding, gravity capturing and atmospheric
effects can be obtained by comparing the ratio of the number of meteoroids
moving towards the Earth to the total number of the meteoroids, obtained
from the DSMC model with measured data. Approximately 25% of the meteoroids
flux is predicted as not returning into the interplanetary space due to
these effects.

Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
 
===========
(12) THE EUCRITE/VESTA STORY

Drake MJ: The eucrite/Vesta story
METEORITICS & PLANETARY SCIENCE 36 (4): 501-513 APR 2001

Many lines of evidence indicate that meteorites are derived from the
asteroid belt but, in general, identifying any meteorite class with a
particular asteroid has been problematical. One exception is asteroid 4
Vesta, where a strong case can be made that it is the ultimate source of the
howardite-eucrite-diogenite (HED) family of basaltic achondrites. Visible
and near-infrared reflectance spectra first suggested a connection between
Vesta and the basaltic achondrites. Experimental petrology demonstrated that
the eucrites (the relatively unaltered and unmixed basaltic achondrites)
were the product of approximately a 10% melt. Studies of siderophile element
partitioning suggested that this melt was the residue of an asteroidal-scale
magma ocean. Mass balance considerations point to a parent body that had its
surface excavated, but remains intact. Modem telescopic spectroscopy has
identified kilometer-scale "Vestoids" between Vesta and the 3:1 orbit-orbit
resonance with Jupiter. Dynamical simulations of impact into Vesta
demonstrate the plausibility of ejecting relatively unshocked material at
velocities consistent with these astronomical observations. Hubble Space
Telescope images show a 460 km diameter impact basin at the south pole of
Vesta. It seems that nature has provided multiple free sample return
missions to a unique asteroid. Major challenges are to establish the
geologic context of the HED meteorites on the surface of Vesta and to
connect the remaining meteorites to specific asteroids.

Addresses:
Drake MJ, Univ Arizona, Lunar & Planetary Lab, Tucson, AZ 85721 USA
Univ Arizona, Lunar & Planetary Lab, Tucson, AZ 85721 USA

Copyright © 2001 Institute for Scientific Information

=============
(13) LOW ALBEDOS AMONG EXTINCT COMET CANDIDATES

Fernandez YR, Jewitt DC, Sheppard SS: LOW ALBEDOS AMONG EXTINCT COMET
CANDIDATES

ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 553 (2): L197-L200, Part 2 JUN 8 2001

We present radiometric effective radii and visual geometric albedos for six
asteroids in comet-like orbits. Our sample has three of the four known
retrograde asteroids (1999 LE31, 2000 DG(8), and 2000 HE46) and three
objects [( 18916) 2000 OG(44), 2000 PG(3), and 2000 SB1] on prograde but
highly elliptical orbits. These measurements more than double the number of
known albedos for asteroids with a Tisserand invariant in the cometary
regime. We find that all six of our objects, and nine of the 10 now known,
have albedos that are as low as those of active cometary nuclei, which is
consistent with their supposed evolutionary connection to that group. This
albedo distribution is distinct from that of the whole near-Earth and
unusual asteroid population, and the strong correlation between Tisserand
invariant and albedo suggests that there is a significant cometary
contribution to this asteroid population.

Addresses:
Fernandez YR, Univ Hawaii, Inst Astron, 2680 Woodlawn Dr, Honolulu, HI 96822
USA
Univ Hawaii, Inst Astron, Honolulu, HI 96822 USA

Copyright © 2001 Institute for Scientific Information

============
* MEETINGS *
============

(14) FINAL ANNOUNCEMENT OF JAPANESE NEO WORKSHOP

From Syuzo Isobe <isobesz@cc.nao.ac.jp>

July 18, 2001

The 3rd Circular and the final request for registration.


                An International Workshop
                          on
               Collaboration and Coordination
          Among NEO Observers and Orbital Computers

                 Kurashiki City Art Museum
                 Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan

                  October 23 to 26, 2001


The Japan Spaceguad Association would like to hold a workshop from October
23 through 26, 2001, at the Kurashiki City Art Museum (near the Bisei
Spaceguard Center).

Following the workshop, we will inaugurate the Bisei Spaceguard Center on
October 27.

Purpose of the Workshop:

In these years NEO matters have been discussed at different occasions and
organizations. Number of NEO observers and orbital computers has been
increasing and they have been producing excelent results. However, it seems
that there were not much discussions on collaboration and coordination among
them and some critical debates between those teams were brought. Therefore,
the SOC intends to make this workshop to solve the problems or at least to
start to its solution. Program  of this workshop will be arranged with some
introductory reports by NEO observers and orbital computers and set aside
many hours for discussions.

SOC members: Syuzo Isobe (Co-Chair), Donald K. Yoemans (Co-Chair),
             Tom Morgan, Bob McMillan, Ted Bowell, Andrea Carusi,
             Brian Marsden, Richard Binzel, Karri Muinonen, and
             Mark Bailey

Program.

First day : October 23, Tuesday
        17:00 - 21:00   Reception at Kurashiki City Art Museum (Light
                        meals are prepared)

Second day : October 24, Wednesday
1st Session     Chairman Syuzo Isobe
         9:30 -  9:40   Welcome address by LOC chairman M. Yoshikawa
         9:40 -  9:50   Welcome address by Govener of Okayama Prefecture
                        M. Ishii
         9:50 - 10:00   Welcome address by Assistant Executive Director
                        of NASDA T. Inada

Coffee Break

2nd Session
        10:00 - 10:50   General remarks D. Yeomans
        10:50 - 11:00   Short note      S. Isobe

NEO Detection Observation Teams
        11:00 - 11:30   Space Watch Team        T. Gehrels
        11:30 - 12:00   LONEOS team     E. Bowell
        12:00 - 12:30   NEAT team       E. Helin*

Lunch Break

3rd Session
        14:00 - 14:30   LINEAR Team     G. Stokes*
        14:30 - 15:00   Catalina Team   S. Larson
        15:00 - 15:30   BSGC Team       M. Yoshikawa

Coffee Break

4th Session
NEO Followup Team
        16:00 - 16:20           P. Pravec*
        16:20 - 16:40           L. Ticha
        16:40 - 16:50           M. Ticha
        16:50 - 17:10           G. Tancredi*
        17:10 - 17:30           D. Tholen
        17:30 - 18:00   Discussion

Third day : October 25, Thursday
5th Session :
Organization Activity
         8:30 -  8:45   Spaceguard Foundation   A. Carusi
         8:45 -  9:10   SGF Central Node        A. Boattini
         9:10 -  9:35   NASA NEO Program Office D. Yeomans
         9:35 - 10:00   IAU related view        H. Rickman
        10:00 - 10:30   Discussion

Coffee break

6th Session
        11:00 - 11:30   A review of space mission       J.Kawaguchi
        11:30 - 12:00   Physical property of NEO        M. Greenberg
        12:00 - 12:30   Discussion from the 2nd day

Lunch break

7th Session :
Impact Prediction Team
        14:00 - 14:30   Minor Planet Center     B. Marsden
        14:30 - 15:00   NASA    P. Chodas
        15:00 - 15:30   Finland K. Muinonen
        15:30 - 16:00   Italy   A. Milani*

Coffee break

8th Session
        16:30 - 17:15   Discussion on the 3rd day
        17:15 - 18:00   Discussion cooperative observation efforts

Fourth day : October 26, Friday
9th Session
Contribution by Space Debris Teams
         8:30 -  8:55   NASA - US Air Force teams       J. Africano
         8:55 -  9:20   ESA team        T. Schildneckt
         9:20 -  9:45   NASDA team      K. Nonaka
         9:45 - 10:00   NASDA software development      M. Kameyama

10th Session
        10:30 - 12:00   Discussion on plan and schedule to optimize
                        international discovery and follow-up efforts

Lunch break

11th Session
        13:30 - 15:00   Prepare final conclusion
        15:00 - 15:10   The Final address and announcement      S. Isobe

        18:30 - 21:00   Banquet at Okayama Sanko-So, Okayama city
                All attendances and accompanying persons are invited

Fifth day : October 27, Saturday
         9:00   Departure to the BSGC in front of Kurashiki City Art Museum
        12:00   Arrive at the Bisei town. Lunch
        13:00   Innagulation of the BSGC
        15:00   Visit to BSGC
        17:00   Return to Kurashiki (the first bus)
        20:00   Return to Kurashiki (the second bus)
                after supper and watching observations at BSGC


* Speaker may be changed.

Additionally to this program, we will hold two public lectures on
       Sunday October 21 and Sunday October 28.

Meeting location: Kurashiki city art museum
       Address              2-6-1 Cyuou Kurashiki City Okayama-ken.
       Telephone            81-86-425-6034
       Facsimile            81-86-426-6036

How to reach:
       Attendees and guests will land at the Kansai International
       airport, take a super-express train with a name of Haruka to
Shin-Osaka
       (about 50 minutes), followed by a bullet train with a name of Hikari
       (rapid) or Kodama (slow) (Shin-Kansen) to Okayama (60 minutes),
       and the a commuter train to Kurashiki (10 minutes).
       You should buy a ticket to Kurashiki station and two supplement
tickets
       for super-express and bullet trains. These one way tickets cost
       about 8,000 yen.
 
       The other Attendees and Guests will land at the Narita International
       airport, take a super express train with a name of Narita-Express
       to Tokyo (about 60 minutes), followed by a bullet train with a name
       of Nozomi (much rapid but expensive 3 hours 10 minutes) or Hikari
       (rapid 4 hours) to Okayama, and a commuter train to Kurashiki
       (10 minutes). You should buy a ticket to Kurashiki station and
       supplement tickets for super-express and bullet trains. These one way
       tickets cost about 20,000 yen.
    
Accomodation:
       There are a few hotels in Kurashiki area. We blocked 30 single rooms
       of Kurashiki Station hotel and 30 single rooms of Toyoko Inn
Kurashiki
       Minamiguchi until August 31. You can request the other type hotel
room
       to Isobe and LOC will try to fit its request.

       1 KURASHIKI STATION HOTEL
Address                    2-8-1 Achi Kurashiki City Okayama-ken.
Telephone                  81-86-425-2525
Facsimile                  81-86-426-6702
Guest room                  all 111 rooms
Single bed                 \5,500 - \6,000
Twin beds                  \11,000 - \12,000

2 TOYOKO IN KURASHIKI MINAMIGUCHI
Address                      2-10-20 Achi Kurashiki City Okayama-ken.
Telephone                   81-86-430-1046
Facsimile                   81-86-430-1046
Guest room                   all 154 rooms
Single bed (143 rooms)      \5,800
Twin beds A                 \7,300
Twin beds B                 \7,800
 
Sight seeing:
       There are several good sight seeing areas not far from the Workshop
       hall. We will give you further informations in the next circular.

Weather and the other informations:
       October is one of the best season in Japan. Temperature is usualy
       11 - 17 degree C. In the evening, you may need an additional sweater.
       There is some percent of probability to be rainy as usual in Japan
       and may be occasionally hit by a typhoon. At the Bisei trip, you can
       enjoy a beuariful maple.

       Electricity is 100 V and 60 Hz.

Registration fee:
       15,000 yen which covers refreshment during meeting, one copy of
       proceeding, and trip to the Bisei Spaceguard Center.

Please send back following informations to the e-mail address of Isobe,
by May 25, 2001.
       Family Name:
       First Name:
       Institute:
       Postal Address:
       Tel. Number:
       Fax. Number:
       e-mail Address:

       O  I will attend the workshop.
       O  I do not decide yet.
       O  I do not attend the workshop.

       O  I am an invited speaker.
       O  I would like to present a paper.
       O  I will not present a paper.
       Title of paper: _________________________________________________
   
       Arrival date to Kurashiki      ___ October, 2001
       Departure date from Kurashiki  ___ October, 2001

       Which hotel will you ask LOC reserve?    1 or 2
       O Prepare your hotel room by yourself.
       O Request LOC to look for the other hotel room.
            Please write your request: _________________________________.
       If you have any specific request(s), please write below:
            ____________________________________________________________.

       If you need further informations on hotel in Tokyo or Osaka area,
       please contact with Isobe.
   
 
       Kurashiki City is in the Edo period style (17 to 19 century).

Thank you for your coorporation.

==============
(15) FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT: THE INSPIRATION OF ASTRONOMICAL PHENOMENA

From Rolf Sinclair  <rolf@SANTAFE.EDU>

THE INSPIRATION OF ASTRONOMICAL PHENOMENA
-- FOURTH CONFERENCE --

Magdalen College, Oxford (UK) August 3-9, 2003

FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT

Dear Colleagues:

The International Executive Committee for the INSAP Conferences wishes to
announce the fourth meeting in the series on "The Inspiration of
Astronomical Phenomena" (INSAP IV). In this meeting mankind's fascination
with the sky by day and by night will be explored. Such fascination has been
a strong and often significant element in human life and culture. The
conference will provide a meeting place for artists and scholars from a
variety of disciplines (including Archaeology and Anthropology, Art and Art
History, Classics, History and Prehistory, the Physical and Social Sciences,
Mythology and Folklore, Philosophy, and Religion) to present and discuss
their studies of the influences that astronomical phenomena have had on
humanity.

The first three meetings (Castel Gandolfo, 1994; Malta, 1999; Palermo, 2001)
successfully brought together, often for the first time, people from just
such a range of disciplines to address topics of common interest. Papers
from the first meeting were published in "Vistas in Astronomy" (1995) and in
"Leonardo" (1996); those from the second will appear shortly in book form,
"The Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena: Edition Malta"; those from the
third will appear in 2002 in a special issue of "Memoria della Società
Astronomica Italiana". These papers (described on our Website under each
INSAP Conference) give an idea of the range of subjects presented at these
meetings. A similar publication is planned for the fourth conference.

The next meeting will be held in Magdalen College, Oxford (UK), starting
Sunday, 3 August 2003. Further information on INSAP IV and on the earlier
conferences, together with an application form (on-or-after 1 September
2001) for the upcoming meeting, can be found on our Website
(http://ethel.as.arizona.edu/~white/insap) or obtained from the undersigned.
Attendance will be by invitation from among those applying. Applicants need
not present a paper or a poster: "observers" are welcome, but must also
apply as space is limited. All presentations and discussions will be in
English. As has been customary in the past, the Vatican and the Steward
Observatories will be among the sponsors of the Fourth Conference. 

For further information, contact:
Dr. Valerie Shrimplin, University of Luton: Co-Chair, Local Organizing
Committee (valerie.shrimplin@luton.ac.uk)
Mr. Nick Campion, Bath Spa University College: Co-Chair, Local Organizing
Committee (ncampion@caol.demon.co.uk)
Professor David W. Pankenier, Lehigh University: Coordinating Member,
International Executive Committee (david.pankenier@lehigh.edu)

Please circulate or post this announcement.
13/VII/2001

==================
(16) AND FINALLY: NO VOLCANOES, NO EARTHQUAKES, BUT LOTS OF CLOUDS. BRITISH
ENVIRONMENT ON MARS

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

[ http://www.nature.com/nsu/010719/010719-6.html ]

Monday, 16 July 2001

And now: the weather on Mars

The red planet is a lot more cloudy than we thought

By TOM CLARKE

Missions that landed on Mars revealed a still surface, undisturbed by
volcanoes, earthquakes or landslides. The red planet's atmosphere is nowhere
near so boring, say researchers who have been watching clouds, winds and
dust storms racing around the planet for a full martian year [1].

Studying Mars' climate in the coming years should yield important
information about the transport of water and dust around the planet, and
provide new insights into what climatic conditions were like before Mars
became the barren globe it is today.

"The surface of Mars may be quiescent; the atmosphere certainly is not,"
says John Pearl at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt,
Maryland, who is analysing data from the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft,
which began orbiting Mars in 1997.

Clouds on Mars were first seen in detail in the 1970s by the Viking Orbiter
spacecraft, "but no obvious general trends were observed," says Francois
Forget, who studies the martian atmosphere at the University of Paris,
France.

Mars Global Surveyor is equipped with an instrument that measures how light
is reflected from the martian atmosphere, giving real-time data on its
changes. "These are the first really quantitative observations of clouds,"
says Forget.

Valleys filled with low-lying morning fog and high peaks shrouded in mist
indicate local-scale variations -- or 'microclimates' -- in the martian
environment. At night, the carbon dioxide and water that make up martian
clouds seem to freeze out and fall to the ground. "This tells us that
water-ice clouds may play a significant role in the climate," says Forget.

Because Mars doesn't have any oceans -- which drive cloud formation on Earth
-- researchers had expected the martian atmosphere to be relatively easy to
understand.

"It's turning out to be very complex," says Pearl. His team mapped a large
cloud belt around the middle latitudes of northern Mars; the cloud stayed
put for the entire summer season, only to disappear in early autumn. They
also watched as a winter dust storm banished clouds from the southern
hemisphere.

Large-scale weather patterns like these are the key to understanding
long-term patterns in martian climate, says Pearl. Their job now is to start
to interpret their observations.

Other researchers will now incorporate Surveyor's weather observations into
'global circulation models' of martian climate. As data accumulates over the
next few years, these models should be able to predict martian climate
patterns.

By running theses models backwards in time, says Pearl, it could be possible
to see what the climate of Mars used to be like. This information is crucial
for those studying the planet's recent past, when liquid water is thought to
have flowed over its surface.

Real-time climate data from Surveyor may also be crucial to Mars missions.
Dust storms, which are turning out to be common on Mars, can interfere with
the 'aerobraking' manoeuvres that are used to get spacecraft into orbits
around the planet. Knowing the size and position of a dust storm can allow
spacecraft trajectories to be adjusted to avoid this problem, says Pearl.

A few months ago, a giant dust storm began to form on Mars; now at its peak,
the storm encircles the entire planet. It is the first time that a major
dust storm has been followed from the start. Says Pearl: "Our observations
would have made 19th-century astronomers drool."

The researchers are confident that the storm will have passed by the time
NASA's Mars Odyssey mission arrives at the planet in October.

References

[1] Pearl,, J. C., Smith, M. D., Conrath, B. J., Bandfield, J. L. &
    Christensen, P. R.Observations of martian ice clouds by the Mars Global
    Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer: The first martian year. Journal
    of Geophysical Research, 106, 12325 - 12338, (2001).

© Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2001

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