PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 103/2001 - 28 September 2001
==================================


"On Sep. 11 it was the surrealistic collapse of the World Trade
Center's twin towers. A few months ago, it was a large meteor that
violently exploded above the Pacific Ocean. These events registered
loud and clear on a new network of listening devices that pick up and
track acoustical signals worldwide long after the sounds fade from the range
of human ears. "There's been nothing in history like it," said Michael
Hedlin, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the
University of California, San Diego. "We're just listening to the
atmosphere - listening to everything in the atmosphere."
--Irene Brown, Discovery News, 25 September 2001


"The comment published in today's issue of Science by Farley and
Mukhopadhyay where they report that they have been unable to confirm
the presence of impact-derived Helium-3 at the Permian-Triassic (P/T)
boundary is, at last, starting to bring some of the scientific rigor
required to the study of the P/T boundary. This comment is in marked
contrast to early studies of the K/T boundary where the initial report
of an Ir anomaly was quickly confirmed by 3 independent investigations. It
highlights one of the fundamentals of scientific investigation: if
your experiment is not reproducible then what you are doing is not
science."
--Iain Gilmour, Planetary and Space Sciences Research
Institute, The Open University

 
"Fossils of reptiles that survived the greatest extinction in the
Earth's history suggest that the catastrophe had a far greater
impact on ocean life than on land-dwellers. The theory that an
asteroid or comet slammed into the planet, wiping out most living things,
may have to be revised following the discovery. Scientists have found that
two-thirds of a group of ancient land reptiles managed to escape the
devastation, while about 90% of marine life died out. They say an
extraterrestrial impact would have had far-reaching effects on Earth, and
propose that the extinction was caused by something else."
--Helen Briggs, BBC News Online, 25 September 2001


"On 12 February this year, the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous
Shoemaker mission landed on the asteroid Eros, completing a journey of
more than 3 billion kilometres. It discovered a complex miniature
world, researchers now reveal. [...] There are thousands of large
boulders on Eros, which is only 33 kilometres long and 13 kilometres across.
The positions of the boulders indicate that most of them were scoured out
of a crater 7.6 kilometres wide, formed by the impact of a body several
hundred metres across. The rubble shows that debris from impacts could
still fall back to the surface, despite the asteroid's gravity being about
1,000 times weaker than that of the Earth. "This erases about 20 years of
thought that small asteroids should be devoid of any loose material," says
Erik Asphaug of the University of California at Santa Cruz."
--JOHN WHITFIELD, Nature, 27 September 2001


(1) AVOIDING A COLLISION WITH CALAMITY
    Michael Paine <mpaine@tpgi.com.au>

(2) HOW REPTILES SURVIVED THE BIG ONE
    BBC News Online, 25 September 2001

(3) DEEP SPACE 1 CAPTURES BEST-EVER VIEW OF COMET'S CORE
    Ron Baalke <baalke@jpl.nasa.gov>

(4) BORRELLY HAS SCIENTISTS RETHINKING COMET THEORY
    Los Angeles Times, 26 September 2001

(5) MAPPING OF ASTEROID EROS FINDS LARGE ROCKS ON SURFACE WERE EJECTED FROM
SINGLE CRATER
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(6) A COLLISION WITH A THOUSAND BOULDERS
    Ron Baalke <baalke@jpl.nasa.gov>
 
(7) ROCK GARDEN ON EROS
    Nature Science Update, 27 September 2001

(8) EXPERTS PUZZLE OVER STRANGE STRUCTURE OF EARTH'S (sic) ASTEROID
    The Independent, 27 September 2001

(9) NEW NETWORK TO EAVESDROP ON EARTH
    Discovery News, 25 September 2001

(10) SOLAR SYSTEM FORMATION SURPRISES
     Cosmicverse, September 20, 2001

(11) LACK OF IMPACT-DERIVED HELIUM-3 AT P/T BOUNDARY CASTS DOUBT ON IMPACT
THEORY
     Iain Gilmour <I.Gilmour@open.ac.uk>

(12) NASA URGED TO JOIN FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM
     Space.com, 27 September 2001

(13) NEW ISS DUTY: A MILITARY OUTPOST?
     Space.com, 24 September 2001

(14) DON'T FIGHT THE LAST WAR
     The Jerusalem Post, 28 September 2001

================
(1) AVOIDING A COLLISION WITH CALAMITY

>From Michael Paine <mpaine@tpgi.com.au>

Dear Benny

The Canberra Times has just published my case for an Australian Spaceguard.
Unfortunately the
editor did not point out that the article was written a week before the
dreadful events in New York.

I am told The Canberra Times is widely read by Federal politicians and their
minders, at least while they are in Canberra so I hope it will have an
'impact'. In any case there will be a Federal election in Australia within a
few months so it would be good timing if any CCNet subscribers can pull a
few strings and get other nations/organisations to raise the matter with the
Australian government.

regards
Michael Paine

The Case for an Australian Spaceguard Project
The Canberra Times, Science & Technology
27 August 2001
http://canberra.yourguide.com.au/detail.asp?class=features&subclass=science&category=science%20feature&story_id=92255&y=2001&m=9

Should an asteroid be heading our way, we need to spot it early, says
Michael Paine, but the government doesn't see it that way.

On a calm spring morning joggers on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin are
stunned by a bright light in the sky. Within seconds they are turned to
vapour, along with the rest of Canberra's inhabitants. In Young, Goulburn,
Nowra and Bega trees and houses ignite from the intense heat of the fireball
that has risen above Canberra. Ten minutes later buildings are flattened by
a blast of wind. In another ten minutes Sydney is hit by a blast wave that
shatters window glass and sends it flying through homes and offices like
shrapnel. Within minutes a series of earthquakes hits. Powerlines and water
mains fail. Uncontrollable fires break out.

Melbourne escapes from the blast wave. Telstra technicians are puzzled by
the loss of signals from Canberra and Sydney. Then the skies darken, day
becomes night and a choking cloud of dust settles on the city like deep snow
drifts. Skies darken around the world. Crops fail. People starve.

A year later a tribe that is desperately foraging for food wanders into the
Molongo valley. Where Canberra once stood they find a giant crater, 4
kilometres deep and stretching from what was once Queanbeyan to Belconnen.

Sound like a story line for another disaster movie? Perhaps an alien attack
on the Earth or a super weapon developed by a "rogue nation". No - it is
simply a description of what would happen if a one kilometre wide asteroid
collided with the Earth over Canberra city. The odds of such an event
happening directly over Canberra are exceedingly small but the chances of it
happening somewhere over Australia in the next twelve months are about one
in two million. Those are much better odds than winning the lottery. Just
because a major impact has not happened in recorded history does not mean
that it will not happen tomorrow.

Australians are at greater risk of dying from an asteroid impact than they
are of dying in a commercial airliner crash.

During the past decade the hazard to civilisation from asteroids and comets
has been acknowledged by governments of the USA, Britain and Japan together
with the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the International
Astronomical Union. An international "Spaceguard" program to search for
Earth-threatening asteroids has begun, funded mainly by the United States.

Unfortunately, in 1996 Australia's contribution to this global effort came
to an end when the only major search program in the southern hemisphere was
cancelled by the Federal Government. Until then this program accounted for
almost one third of new asteroid discoveries since it was set up in 1990.

One year later Prime Minister Howard, perhaps in response to the outcry from
scientists and politicians around the world, was reported to have asked his
Science, Defence and Education Ministers to "examine whether asteroid
spotting should continue". The date that this was reported in the Canberra
Times may have been ominous - 1st April 1997. Four years later there is
still no sign that the government is taking threat seriously. They are
gambling with our lives.

In 2000 NASA managed to soft-land the NEAR spacecraft on asteroid Eros.
Although Eros poses no threat to the Earth, this feat was an important step
because it showed we have the capability to nudge threatening asteroids into
safe orbits around the Sun. There is a catch however. We cannot stop a one
kilometre asteroid in its tracks - gentle nudges are need to be given to a
threatening asteroid years ahead of the collision date so that it misses the
Earth.

The Spaceguard program allows astronomers to find potentially threatening
asteroids and to calculate their orbits for the coming decades. It is a
simple and highly cost-effective insurance for mankind. However, Spaceguard
is currently blind in the southern hemisphere. An asteroid may well be
slipping by right now unnoticed - ready to give us a nasty surprise the next
time that our paths cross.

Who is on watch Mr Howard?

Michael Paine is an amateur astronomer and maintains the web pages of the
Planetary Society Australian Volunteers.

LINKS
Australian Spaceguard Survey Homepage
http://www4.tpg.com.au/users/tps-seti/spacegd.html

UK NEO Task Force Report
http://www.nearearthobjects.co.uk

FAQs
What are the environmental consequences of asteroid impacts?
http://www4.tpg.com.au/users/tps-seti/climate.htm

Avoiding a collision with calamity

What are the risks of major impacts with the Earth and possible death tolls?
http://www4.tpg.com.au/users/tps-seti/spacegd7.html

Are places like Sydney at greater risk due to the danger of tsunami
generated by impacts? Yes - several times greater than inland locations:
http://www4.tpg.com.au/users/tps-seti/spacegd7.html

Can anything be done if an asteroid if found to be on a collision course
with Earth? Yes - we have the technology to nudge a rogue asteroids into a
harmless orbit.
http://www4.tpg.com.au/users/tps-seti/reading.html#ez8

===============
(2) HOW REPTILES SURVIVED THE BIG ONE

>From the BBC News Online, 25 September 2001
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1562000/1562191.stm
 
By BBC News Online's Helen Briggs

Fossils of reptiles that survived the greatest extinction in the Earth's
history suggest that the catastrophe had a far greater impact on ocean life
than on land-dwellers.

The theory that an asteroid or comet slammed into the planet, wiping out
most living things, may have to be revised following the discovery.

Scientists have found that two-thirds of a group of ancient land reptiles
managed to escape the devastation, while about 90% of marine life died out.

They say an extraterrestrial impact would have had far-reaching effects on
Earth, and propose that the extinction was caused by something else.

Fluctuations in sea level, global cooling or volcanic activity are just some
of many scenarios proposed to explain an event so severe it has been dubbed
"the mother of mass extinctions".

Earlier this year, scientists in the United States said they had found
evidence that the extinction was triggered by an asteroid or comet hitting
the planet.

And Japanese researchers said last week that sulphur trapped in rocks in
southern China provides further evidence of a massive impact.

Super-continent

The disaster happened about 251 million years ago, at the end of the Permian
period. It was far more devastating than the extinction that ended the reign
of the dinosaurs, nearly 200 million years later.

At the time, life was flourishing on land, then largely a giant continent
covered by desert. Amphibians and reptiles continued their invasion while
crinoids, ammonites, corals and fish colonised the seas.

What happened next is still a mystery. But it had devastating effects.
Evidence from the fossil record suggests that as many as 96% of all marine
species were lost, while on land more than three quarters of all vertebrate
families became extinct.

Now, scientists in Canada and South Africa have pieced together the family
tree of an ancient group of reptiles, which they say could shed light on the
nature of the event.

They have analysed existing fossils of a relatively small group of
lizard-like reptiles, called procolophonoids, which arose in the Permian.

The research shows that four out of six lines of these four-legged burrowing
reptiles escaped extinction and made it through to the Triassic period, the
beginning of the age of the dinosaurs.

"Our work with this group of reptiles together with other recent work
suggests that the mass extinction at the Permo-Triassic boundary was not as
devastating for terrestrial animals as for marine animals," team leader Sean
Modesto told BBC News Online.

"It also suggests that the cause of the extinction was not
extra-terrestrial."

City-sized asteroid

Dr Modesto, a palaeobiologist at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto,
Canada, believes an asteroid impact would have wiped out most land animals
as well as marine ones.

Scientists behind the asteroid hypothesis estimate that a body up to 12 km
(7.4 miles) wide hit the Earth.

They say the impact would have released an amount of energy equivalent to
about one million times the largest earthquake recorded in the 20th Century.


The devastation left by the space object that hit Siberia in 1908
 
Mark Bailey, of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, said it was very
difficult to predict what might happen to life on the land or in the sea
following an asteroid collision on this scale.

"When comets or asteroids hit the Earth, you get very complex environmental
degradation," Dr Bailey told BBC News Online.

A collision could trigger anything from acid rain and global temperature
changes to tsunamis, he said.

He pointed out that many animals - such as small mammals, crocodiles,
lizards and indeed reptiles - survived the impact of 65 million years ago
while dinosaurs died out.

"We see from the dinosaurs that some species can survive," he said. "And
there is very little doubt that this extinction was caused by an asteroid."

But Dr Modesto says the new work is just one piece in a big jigsaw puzzle.
He says there could well be alternative explanations for the reptiles'
survival.

Perhaps the creatures, which were burrowers, were able to escape the
environmental catastrophe by hiding underground.

The reptile research is published in the journal Royal Society Proceedings
B.

Copyright 2001, BBC

=============
(3) DEEP SPACE 1 CAPTURES BEST-EVER VIEW OF COMET'S CORE

>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: JPL/Martha J. Heil      (818) 354-0850                 
         NASA/Dolores Beasley (202) 358-1753

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     September 25, 2001

NASA SPACERAFT CAPTURES BEST-EVER VIEW OF COMET'S CORE

In a risky flyby, NASA's ailing Deep Space 1 spacecraft successfully
navigated past a comet, giving researchers the best look ever inside the
glowing core of icy dust and gas.

The space probe's close encounter with comet Borrelly provided the
best-resolution pictures of the comet to date. The already-successful Deep
Space 1, without protection from the little-known comet environment, whizzed
by just 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) from the rocky, icy nucleus of the
10-kilometer-long (more than 6-mile-long) comet.

Exceeding the team's expectations of how this elderly spacecraft would
perform, the intrepid spacefarer sent back black-and-white photos of the
inner core of the comet.  It also measured the types of gases and infrared
waves around the comet, and how the gases interacted with the solar wind.

"Deep Space 1 plunged into the heart of comet Borrelly and has lived to tell
every detail of its spine-tingling adventure!" said Dr. Marc Rayman, the
project manager of Deep Space 1 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL),
Pasadena, Calif. "The images are even better than the impressive images of
comet Halley taken by Europe's Giotto spacecraft in 1986."

Rayman added, "After years of nursing this aged and wounded bird along -- a
spacecraft not structured to explore comets, a probe that exceeded its
objectives more than two years ago -- to see it perform its remarkably
complex and risky assignment so well was nothing short of incredible."

"It's mind-boggling and stupendous," said Dr. Laurence Soderblom, the leader
of Deep Space 1's imaging team, and a geologist with the U.S. Geological
Survey, Flagstaff, Ariz. "These pictures have told us that comet nuclei are
far more complex than we ever imagined. They have rugged terrain, smooth
rolling plains, deep fractures and very, very dark material."

Scientists also realized that Borrelly was different than they expected as
Deep Space 1 flew through the coma, the cloud of dust and gas surrounding
the nucleus. They had expected
that the solar wind would flow symmetrically around the cloud, with the
nucleus in the center.

Instead, they found that though the solar wind was flowing symmetrically
around the cloud, the nucleus was off to one side shooting out a great jet
of material forming the cloud that makes the comet visible from Earth. "The
formation of the coma is not the simple process we once thought it was,"
said Dr. David Young of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, leader of the
team that made the measurements. "Most of the charged particles are formed
to one side, which is not what we expected."

Deep Space 1 completed its primary mission testing ion propulsion and 11
other advanced, high-risk technologies in September 1999. NASA extended the
mission, taking advantage of the ion propulsion and other systems to
undertake this chancy but exciting encounter with the comet.

Deep Space 1, launched in October 1998 as part of NASA's  New Millennium
Program, is managed by JPL for NASA's Office of Space Science in Washington.
The California Institute of  Technology manages JPL for NASA.

More information can be found on the Deep Space 1 Internet home page at:
http://nmp.jpl.nasa.gov/ds1/ .

=========
(4) BORRELLY HAS SCIENTISTS RETHINKING COMET THEORY
 
>From Los Angeles Times, 26 September 2001
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-000077137sep26.story?coll=la%2Dnews%2Da%5Fsection
      
By USHA LEE McFARLING, TIMES SCIENCE WRITER

The first clear and close-up photos ever taken of a comet have scientists
rewriting much of what they thought they knew about the common and often
dazzling objects that transit our solar system.

"It's mind-boggling and stupendous," said Laurence Soderblum, who led the
team that captured images of the comet Borrelly about 137 million miles from
Earth using NASA's Deep Space 1 spacecraft. Comets, he said, "are far more
complex than we ever imagined."

Comets have long been thought of as relatively homogeneous objects that
generate uniform clouds of dust and gas. The new images contradict those
beliefs. Borrelly's 5-mile-long rocky core is far from uniform. It's an
object of rugged terrain that includes two mountainous peaks, smooth rolling
plains and deep fractures. The core, or nucleus, of the comet is shaped
something like an upside-down bowling pin. "It's a very strange geometry,"
Soderblum said.

Moreover, it is known that comets disrupt the energized particles that come
from the sun and flow through space. But preliminary measurements from Deep
Space 1 show that Borrelly disrupted this "solar wind" in a completely
unexpected manner. The nucleus of the comet did not do the disrupting; the
solar wind was disrupted by charged particles that came from the comet, but
were only on one side of it.

"It's as if a shock wave is not in front of a jet fighter, but a mile off to
the side," said David Young, a space physicist at the University of
Michigan. "It's in the wrong place. Period."

Fascination with comets dates back to ancient times, when people treated the
occasional visitations of mysterious "hairy stars" as omens. Scientists
regard the icy clumps of rock and dust as pristine, frozen remnants of the
material that made up the early solar system. Some researchers theorize that
comets may have been responsible for carrying to Earth the water and organic
materials necessary for life.

Comets "tell us where we came from and where we might be going," Robert M.
Nelson, the project scientist for Deep Space 1, said at a news conference
Tuesday at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Another puzzle from Borrelly is that the nucleus is much darker in some
places than others. The entire object is covered with soot--but some of the
soot is "dark, dark, dark, dark," Soderblum said. Scientists are not sure
why the areas look so different. The darker areas appear to be on top of the
peaks and "are not just shadows," Soderblum added.

The photos lend credence to the idea that comets are less like "dirty
snowballs" than "snowy dirt balls."

"This object is blacker than a charcoal briquette on the surface," said
Donald Yeomans, an expert on comets at JPL who was not directly involved
with the mission.

The inside of the comet is likely to be mainly ice, he said, comparing the
comet to a baked Alaska dessert--a frozen core surrounded by a crust of
different material.

In addition, there is not just one jet of gas coming from the comet, but
jets spewing in several directions. The largest jet is not uniform, but
appears to be made up of at least three columns. And the jets spout from
distinct parts of the comet, most notably the smooth plains, which appear to
be eroding as material spews off.

"This is not a ho-hum picture," Young said. "We've got some explaining to
do."

Scientists said Tuesday they were just beginning to analyze the photos and
voluminous amounts of data gathered by the spacecraft. "All these ideas are
still floating around in our heads," said Daniel Boice, a member of the
science team from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

The spacecraft that snapped the images, Deep Space 1, was not built to
conduct any science and has far outlived its expected life span. It was
launched in 1998 to spend a year testing exotic new technologies, including
an engine propelled solely by ions and an artificial intelligence
navigational system. But it has been nursed along and rescued once from
complete failure by a band of JPL engineers led by Marc Rayman. Nearly
emptied of gas, it made it to the comet on fumes.

"If this was a car, the fuel light would be on," said Todd Barber, a JPL
propulsion engineer.

Although he is still analyzing information coming from the spacecraft,
Rayman said it appeared to survive the risky 36,900-mile trip through
dangerous cometary debris unscathed. "The only thing unusual about the
spacecraft," he said, "is it has a big grin on it now."

Images of the comet can be viewed at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov

Copyright 2001 Los Angeles Times

===============
(5) MAPPING OF ASTEROID EROS FINDS LARGE ROCKS ON SURFACE WERE EJECTED FROM
SINGLE CRATER

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

News Service
Cornell University

Contact: David Brand
Office: 607-255-3651
E-Mail: deb27@cornell.edu

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 26, 2 P.M. EST

First detailed mapping of asteroid 433 Eros finds most large rocks on
surface were ejected from single crater

ITHACA, N.Y. -- The first detailed global mapping of an asteroid has found
that most of the larger rocks strewn across the body were ejected from a
single crater in a meteorite collision perhaps a billion years ago.

"One big impact spread all this debris," says Peter Thomas, senior
researcher in Cornell University's Department of Astronomy. "This
observation is helping us start answering questions about how things work on
the surface of an asteroid."

Thomas' report on the crater -- which has the proposed name of Shoemaker --
as a major source of ejected rocks on asteroid 433 Eros appears in the
latest issue (Sept. 27) of the journal Nature . Thomas' fellow authors are
Joseph Veverka, professor of astronomy at Cornell; Mark Robinson of
Northwestern University and Scott Murchie of Johns Hopkins University. The
paper is one of three detailing the first findings from the controlled landing of the
spacecraft NEAR-Shoemaker on the surface of Eros on Feb. 12, 2001.

Before the landing, the spacecraft had orbited Eros for a year, taking
thousands of high-resolution images of the 21-mile-long asteroid. From the
global map of the surface that was assembled, Thomas and his colleagues were
able to count 6,760 rocks larger than about 16 yards across (15 meters)
strewn over the asteroid's 434 square miles (1,125 square kilometers). They
found that nearly half (44 percent) of these rocks were inside the Shoemaker
crater, positioned near one end of the potato-shaped asteroid. And most of
the rocks of this size along the asteroid's equator appear to have been
ejected from Shoemaker, Thomas says.

"We know they came from Shoemaker because the mapping of the geography of
the pattern [of the rocks] on the surface closely matches the predicted
paths from the one impact event that made Shoemaker," he says. Eros is
estimated to be about 4 billion years old, probably the remnant of a larger
asteroid broken up by a collision with another asteroid. Perhaps a billion
years ago, Eros itself was struck by an object -- a meteorite or small comet
-- creating a crater nearly 5 miles (7.6 kilometers) wide and shattering
into rocks of all sizes. Some of these rocks "went straight up and straight
down," says Thomas. Most of the remainder traveled as far as two-thirds of
the way around the rotating asteroid in either direction (the asteroid
rotates once every 5 1/4 hours), finally coming to rest on the surface. The
mystery posed by the Eros maps for the researchers is why the same thing
didn't happen with two other large craters on Eros: Himeros, on
the body's convex side, and Psyche, on the concave side. Either the rocks
have been buried, have been eroded or weren't made in the first place, says
Thomas.

One of the big surprises from the maps, Robinson reports in his Nature
paper, is that Eros' surface appears to have a global cover of "loose
fragmental debris." The surface appears to be blanketed with a fine
material, some of which has created flat deposits, particularly in
depressions, such as craters. These fine deposits, Robinson's paper reports,
appear to have been "sorted" from the upper portion of the asteroid's regolith, or soil.

These so-called "ponded" deposits were visible in the final images
transmitted by the spacecraft before it hit the asteroid's surface. Indeed,
in his paper Veverka reports, "A strong argument is that the last image
shows that the spacecraft landed on or within a few meters of a pond, a
landform known to occur predominantly on the floors of craters."

How has this sorting occurred? Robinson's paper postulates an electrostatic
effect, similar to that indicated on the moon's surface by the Surveyor
spacecraft. Particles can build up photoelectric charges with long exposure
to the sun, and this charge might separate out finer particles, says Thomas.
But he concedes, "This requires a lot of assumptions, and does not explain
all the mechanisms."

The big question for researchers is: Do these observations of the surface
mechanics of Eros indicate that similar processes are under way on other
astronomical bodies? In his paper, Veverka notes it is difficult to make
comparisons because no other such distant body has been so closely mapped.
There are high-resolution views of the asteroids Gaspra and Ida and of
Phobos, a satellite of Mars. Phobos, he writes, does show groupings of rocks
in the vicinity of the crater Stickney that are comparable to those on Eros.
"Nothing comparable to the flat 'pond' deposits has been noted on Gaspra,
Ida or Phobos, even though Phobos coverage is certainly adequate to show
such features if they were present," he writes. In making his assessment of
rock distribution on Eros, Thomas counted about 30,000 rocks. He was able to
do this by using software created by Cornell analyst Jonathan Joseph. The
software allows a researcher to mark a rock in an image, then calculate from
a shape model where the rock is and its size and then to record this
information in a data file.

Thomas's report in Nature is titled "Shoemaker Crater: A major source of
ejecta on asteroid 433 Eros." Veverka's report, which has several
co-authors, is titled "The landing of the NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft on
asteroid 433 Eros." (Veverka was the principal investigator on the
multispectral imager, or camera, and the NEAR infrared spectrometer, two of
the five instruments on board the spacecraft.) Robinson's report,
co-authored by Thomas, Veverka, Murchie and Brian Carcich of Cornell, is
titled "Morphology, Distribution and Origin of Ponded Deposits on Eros." The
research was supported by NASA.

Related World Wide Web sites:

The following sites provide additional information on this news release.
Some might not be part of the Cornell University community, and Cornell has
no control over their content or availability.

* Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Mission
   http://near.jhuapl.edu/

IMAGE CAPTION:
<http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Sept01/Eros.Nature.deb.html>
Images of 433 Eros taken from the orbiting NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft: (a),
scale bar, lower right, measures 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), crater Shoemaker
as viewed from the south; (b), scale bar 1 kilometer, crater Psyche; (c),
scale bar 200 meters, interior of crater Shoemaker; (d), scale bar 100
meters, large rock inside Psyche; (e), scale bar 50 meters, and (f), scale
bar 100 meters, large rocks ejected from crater Shoemaker that were
deposited in older craters; (g), scale bar 10 meters, and (h), scale bar 20
meters, the range of shapes of large rocks on Eros -- from angular to
falling apart. NEAR imaging team

===========
(6) A COLLISION WITH A THOUSAND BOULDERS

>From Ron Baalke <baalke@jpl.nasa.gov>
 
NEAR Mission News
September 26, 2001
http://near.jhuapl.edu
 
A Collision Worth a Thousand Boulders
 
The first detailed global mapping of an asteroid - conducted as part of
NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission - has found that most
of the larger rocks strewn across 433 Eros were ejected from a single crater
in a meteorite collision perhaps a billion years ago.
 
"One big impact spread all this debris," says NEAR team member Peter Thomas,
a senior researcher in Cornell University's Department of Astronomy. "This
observation is helping us start answering questions about how things work on
the surface of an asteroid."
 
Thomas' report on the crater - which has the proposed name of Shoemaker - as
a major source of ejected rocks on Eros appears in the Sept. 27 issue of the
of the journal Nature. Thomas' fellow authors are NEAR team members Joseph
Veverka, imaging team leader and professor of astronomy at Cornell; Mark
Robinson of Northwestern University; and Scott Murchie of The Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory, which managed the NEAR mission for
NASA. The paper is one of three detailing the first findings from the NEAR
Shoemaker spacecraft's controlled landing on the surface of Eros on Feb. 12,
2001.
 
Before landing, NEAR Shoemaker had orbited Eros for a year, taking thousands
of high-resolution images of the 21-mile-long asteroid. From the global map
of the surface the team assembled, Thomas and his colleagues counted 6,760
rocks larger than about 16 yards across (15 meters) strewn over the
asteroid's 434 square miles (1,125 square kilometers). They found that
nearly half (44 percent) of these rocks were inside the Shoemaker crater,
positioned near one end of the potato-shaped asteroid. And most of the rocks
of this size along the asteroid's equator appear to have been ejected from
Shoemaker, Thomas says.
 
"We know they came from Shoemaker because the mapping of the geography of
the pattern [of the rocks] on the surface closely matches the predicted
paths from the one impact event that made Shoemaker," he says.
 
Eros is estimated to be more than 4 billion years old, probably the remnant
of a larger asteroid broken up by a collision with another asteroid. Perhaps
a billion years ago, Eros itself was struck by an object - a meteorite or
small comet - creating a crater nearly 5 miles (7.6 kilometers) wide and
shattering into rocks of all sizes. Some of these rocks "went straight up
and straight down," says Thomas. Most of the remainder traveled as far as
two-thirds of the way around the rotating asteroid in either direction (the
asteroid rotates once every 5 1/4 hours), finally coming to rest on the
surface.
 
The mystery posed by the Eros maps for the researchers is why the same thing
didn't happen with two other large craters on Eros: Himeros, the
saddle-shaped depression on the body's convex side, and Psyche, on the
concave side. Either the rocks have been buried, have been eroded or weren't
made in the first place, says Thomas.
 
One of the big surprises from the maps, Robinson reports in his Nature
paper, is that Eros' surface appears to have a global cover of "loose
fragmental debris." The surface appears to be blanketed with a fine
material, some of which has created flat deposits, particularly in
depressions, such as craters. These fine deposits, Robinson's paper reports,
appear to have been sorted from the upper portion of the asteroid's
regolith, or soil.
 
These so-called "ponded" deposits were visible in the final images NEAR
Shoemaker transmitted before it touched down. In fact, as Veverka reports in
his paper, "A strong argument is that the last image shows that the
spacecraft landed on or within a few meters of a pond, a landform known to
occur predominantly on the floors of craters."
 
How has this sorting occurred? Robinson's paper postulates an electrostatic
effect, similar to that indicated on the moon's surface by the Surveyor
spacecraft. Particles can build up photoelectric charges with long exposure
to the sun, and this charge might separate out finer particles, says Thomas.
But he concedes, "This requires a lot of assumptions, and does not explain
all the mechanisms."
 
The big question for researchers is: Do these observations of the surface
mechanics of Eros indicate that similar processes are under way on other
astronomical bodies? Veverka notes it is difficult to make comparisons
because no other such distant body has been so closely mapped. There are
high-resolution views of the asteroids Gaspra and Ida and of Phobos, a
satellite of Mars. Phobos, he writes, does show groupings of rocks in the
vicinity of the crater Stickney that are comparable to those on Eros.
"Nothing comparable to the flat 'pond' deposits has been noted on Gaspra,
Ida or Phobos, even though Phobos coverage is certainly adequate to show
such features if they were present," he writes.
 
In assessing the rock distribution on Eros, Thomas counted about 30,000
rocks. He was able to do this by using software created by Cornell analyst
Jonathan Joseph. The software allows a researcher to mark a rock in an
image, calculate from a shape model the rock's location and size, and then
record this information in a data file.
 
Thomas' report in Nature is titled "Shoemaker crater as the source of most
ejecta blocks on the asteroid 433 Eros." Veverka's report, which has several
co-authors, is titled "The landing of the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft on
asteroid 433 Eros." Robinson's report, co-authored by Thomas,  Veverka,
Murchie and Brian Carcich of Cornell, is titled "The nature of ponded
deposits on Eros." 
 
NEAR Shoemaker launched on Feb. 17, 1996 - the first in NASA's Discovery
Program of low-cost, scientifically focused planetary missions - and became
the first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid on Feb. 14, 2000. The car-sized
spacecraft gathered 10 times more data during its orbit than originally
planned.
 
(From a Cornell University news release.)
 
The first in NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost, scientifically focused
planetary missions, NEAR conducted a close-up, yearlong study of asteroid
433 Eros. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel,
Md., designed and built the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft and managed the NEAR
mission for NASA. For the latest news and images visit the NEAR Web site at
http://near.jhuapl.edu. For more on NASA's Discovery Program visit
http://discovery.nasa.gov/
 
=============
(7) ROCK GARDEN ON EROS

>From Nature Science Update, 27 September 2001
http://www.nature.com/nsu/010927/010927-10.html

The surface of the second largest near-Earth asteroid is surprisingly
cluttered.

27 September 2001
JOHN WHITFIELD

On 12 February this year, the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Shoemaker
mission landed on the asteroid Eros, completing a journey of more than 3
billion kilometres. It discovered a complex miniature world, researchers now
reveal (1-3).

Far from being a barren lump of rock, the potato-shaped Eros has a dusty
boulder-strewn landscape. "It's like a building site," says astronomer Alan
Fitzsimmons of Queen's University, in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

"We were pleasantly surprised," says Joseph Veverka of Cornell University,
in Ithaca, New York, who led the mission to map Eros. "There was a tendency
to believe that asteroids were very simple."

There are thousands of large boulders on Eros, which is only 33 kilometres
long and 13 kilometres across. The positions of the boulders indicate that
most of them were scoured out of a crater 7.6 kilometres wide, formed by the
impact of a body several hundred metres across.

The rubble shows that debris from impacts could still fall back to the
surface, despite the asteroid's gravity being about 1,000 times weaker than
that of the Earth. "This erases about 20 years of thought that small
asteroids should be devoid of any loose material," says Erik Asphaug of the
University of California at Santa Cruz.

Eros's ability to hang on to its rocks shows that planet formation could be
easier than some theories have suggested, says Asphaug. "Even small bodies
can, under the right circumstances, begin to grow instead of being eroded
away by collisions."

Asteroids may one day be an important source of minerals. The scene on Eros
should cheer would-be asteroid miners, comments Fitzsimmons. "You don't need
to mine an asteroid - it's already been mined by an impact. You can just go
there and pick up what's lying about."

The joint US-Japanese MUSES-C mission aims to collect rock samples from the
similar near-Earth asteroid 1989ML in 2005 and return them to Earth for
analysis.

Dust bowls

More mysterious are the 'ponds' of bluish dust on Eros. The probe landed in
one of these, revealing its contents to be like dry cement. The lowest-lying
regions of Eros hold hundreds of ponds tens of metres wide and a few metres
deep. "Something sorted out the finest stuff and moved it downhill," says
Veverka.

Most of the ponds are in well-lit areas of the asteroid. The researchers
speculate that sunlight may have charged small particles, causing them to
repel each other, rise above the surface of the asteroid and then settle,
running downhill to collect in hollows.

Other features of Eros defy explanation. The boulders, for example, show
signs of erosion, and yet there is no atmosphere or water that might have
caused this. "There are a whole series of things that we haven't seen
before," says Veverka. "That's the wonder of exploration."
 
References
Veverka, J. et al. The landing of the NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft on asteroid
433 Eros. Nature, 413, 390 - 393, (2001).
Thomas, P. C., Veverka, J., Robinson, M. S. & Murchie, S. Shoemaker crater
as the source of most ejecta blocks on the asteroid 433 Eros. Nature, 413,
394 - 396, (2001).
Robinson, M. S., Thomas, P. C., Veverka, J., Murchie, S. & Carcich, B.The
nature of ponded deposits on Eros. Nature, 413, 396 - 400, (2001).
 
Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2001
 
===========
(8) EXPERTS PUZZLE OVER STRANGE STRUCTURE OF EARTH'S (sic) ASTEROID

>From The Independent, 27 September 2001
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/science/story.jsp?story=96257

By Charles Arthur Technology Editor

Deflecting an asteroid approaching Earth could be more complex than just
blowing it up, new research suggests.

There is also a chance, though, that the interplanetary rocks' strange
structure will one day make it easy to mine precious metals in space with
almost no effort - except getting there. Data and images from Eros, a
21-mile-wide asteroid that is the second-largest "near-Earth object" (NEO)
known, show it is made up of a loose mass of rocks and covered in "pools" of
dust, grains of which are the size of a few atoms.

To predict what would happen if Eros had to be diverted from a collision
with the Earth is nearly impossible. The risk of Eros hitting us was 5 per
cent (sic!) but, said Erik Asphaug of the University of California at Santa
Cruz, "not anytime soon".

There are reckoned to be hundreds (sic) of asteroids in our solar system
that could at some time (sic) be heading for Earth. An object just a few
hundred yards wide could destroy a city; one as big as Eros could wipe out
all life. There are international schemes to discover and monitor such NEOs,
but no clear plan on how to deal with them.

The favoured theory for diverting an asteroid was to set off a nuclear blast
near the surface, to push it off its orbit. But that might have no
appreciable effect - or it could be unpredictable because its internal
structure was so irregular.

The data emerged after Near, an unmanned spacecraft built by Nasa, was
intentionally crashlanded on Eros in February, after a five-year mission
during which it spent one year orbiting the asteroid taking photographs and
readings.

The vista there was stranger than expected because the surface of Eros
appeared eroded. Joseph Veverka, an astronomer at Cornell University writing
about Eros in today's Nature, said: "It continues to surprise us, and to add
to our amazement about how diverse the surface of an asteroid can be."

The mystery of the erosion and the pools hinders planning how to deflect
asteroids heading for Earth. Professor Asphaug said the layer of dust could
pose a problem for exploration. But it could also make relatively easy the
mining of asteroids for their abundant metals, including precious metals
such as gold and platinum. "They'll be making soda cans out of platinum if
they're successful," the professor said.

Copyright 2001, The Independent

=============
(9) NEW NETWORK TO EAVESDROP ON EARTH

>From Discovery News, 25 September 2001
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20010924/network.html

By Irene Brown, Discovery News

Sep. 25 - On Sep. 11 it was the surrealistic collapse of the World Trade
Center's twin towers. A few months ago, it was a large meteor that violently
exploded above the Pacific Ocean.

These events registered loud and clear on a new network of listening devices
that pick up and track acoustical signals worldwide long after the sounds
fade from the range of human ears.
"There's been nothing in history like it," said Michael Hedlin, a researcher
at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California,
San Diego. "We're just listening to the atmosphere - listening to everything
in the atmosphere."

Reverberating far below the human range of hearing, the long-wave acoustic
signals, called infrasound, result from the rhythmic pressure of energy
bouncing off the atmosphere. Large-scale, high-energy phenomena, such as
hurricanes, cyclones, landslides, supersonic aircraft, nuclear explosions
and meteors all trigger infrasound.

The global network, which is still in early development, eventually will be
able to provide real-time global monitoring and tracking of all sorts of
naturally occurring, as well as human-induced, atmospheric disruptions. One
of its primary uses is to detect nuclear weapons detonations.

The Scripps Institute is just one of several agencies designing and building
the arrays. Researchers recently completed the first Scripps array, which is
comprised of eight microbarometers spread across two kilometers of land at
the Cecil and Ida Green Pi, located in the mountains south of Palm Springs,
Calif.

The array is among the largest of the 60 stations planned worldwide, said
Jon Berger, a project lead scientist. The team plans to begin construction
of a second array later this month in Washington state. So far, about 12 of
the arrays are operating, including a station in Japan that has been using
the data to study volcanoes.

Infrasonic monitoring was popular in the 1950s and 1960s when there was a
lot of nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, but interest fell off when
testing moved underground, said Hedlin. "Now infrasound monitoring has
re-emerged in importance due to the number of countries that may be capable
of developing nuclear weaons. We need to monitor around the globe."

The team is particularly keen to begin using an array planned for Cape
Verde, located off the African coast, a breeding ground for hurricanes.
Listening in on brewing storms should give meteorologists a powerful tool
for early detection and more accurate forecasting.

"There is a lot going on in the atmosphere that we need to know more about,"
said Hedlin. "The infrasound network offers us an unprecedented opportunity
to better understand these phenomena on a global scale."

The project is financed by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency the
Provisional Technical Secretariat of the U.N. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty
Office in Vienna, and the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command
University Research Initiative.

Copyright 2001 Discovery Communications Inc.

=============
(10) SOLAR SYSTEM FORMATION SURPRISES

>From Cosmicverse, September 20, 2001
http://www.cosmiverse.com/space09200102.html

Scientists watching the southern hemisphere star Beta Pictoris have gained
new insights into the formation of solar systems, some of them explaining
previous mysteries. Using the American-French-Canadian satellite telescope
FUSE, they were surprised to learn that orbiting bands of matter contained
no molecular hydrogen despite the presence of carbon monoxide.

Since the universe is largely hydrogen, and carbon monoxide rarely shows up
in space without H2 nearby, the research team concluded that the carbon must
be coming from the passage of millions of comets. As the comets approach the
star, they emit carbon monoxide, which in frozen form constitutes a large
part of their composition (but not hydrogen, which cannot be trapped this
way).

This explanation accounts not only for the unexpected CO readings, but also
substantiates the theory that the early life of a solar system includes a
few hundred million years of violence as asteroids disappear in collisions
with each other, tiny planets crash into big ones, and comets evaporate by
the millions. Only then does the orbiting of planets in their course begin.

Beta Pictoris may well be in the throes of just such an active phase of
planetary system construction. Further indication that something's going on
around Beta has been provided by the same group, using FUSE to detect the
presence of oxygen five times ionized. The latter is typical of very hot
environments such as the corona of a mature star, but Beta is too young to
have a corona, at least according to orthodox standards. Observing all the
activity around Beta may yield insights into the early days of our sun and
its evolving system.

Source: French Advances in Science and Technology

Copyright 2001, Cosmiverse

=================
(11) LACK OF IMPACT-DERIVED HELIUM-3 AT P/T BOUNDARY CASTS DOUBT ON IMPACT
THEORY

>From Iain Gilmour <I.Gilmour@open.ac.uk>

Dear Benny:

The comment published in today's issue of Science by Farley and Mukhopadhyay
where they report that they have been unable to confirm the presence of
impact-derived Helium-3 at the Permian-Triassic (P/T) boundary is, at last,
starting to bring some of the scientific rigor required to the study of the
P/T boundary. This comment is in marked contrast to early studies of the K/T
boundary where the initial report of an Ir anomaly was quickly confirmed by
3 independent
investigations. It highlights one of the fundamentals of scientific
investigation: if your experiment is not reproducible then what you are
doing is not science.

Iain
--
====================================
Iain Gilmour
Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute
The Open University
Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA
United Kingdom

Tel. +44 190 865 5140
Fax. +44 190 865 5910
http://pssri.open.ac.uk

=============================
* CATASTROPHISM & TERRORISM *
=============================

(12) NASA URGED TO JOIN FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM

>From Space.com, 27 September 2001
http://www.space.com/news/nasa_military_010927.html

By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer

WASHINGTON - NASA should put its research muscle behind the effort to
counter terrorism, a leading aerospace industry support group advocates. But
some experts caution that expanding military budgets may usurp and derail
the civilian space agency's own agenda.

In a September 19 letter to NASA Administrator, Daniel Goldin, the head of
the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), John Douglass, expressed support
for increased research and development money for NASA. AIA is a powerful
trade association here, representing the nation's aerospace manufacturers.

Douglass said the tragic terrorist strikes "highlighted the need to
dramatically improve our country's capabilities" in several areas: air
traffic management, security of our national air space, airport security,
and aircraft security.

"Speaking for the U.S. aerospace industry, we feel that NASA is the
appropriate place for research and development on these and related systems
to take place," Douglass advised Goldin in the letter obtained by SPACE.com.

Douglass also added one note of concern.

"We do not, however, feel your current budget will allow any significant
progress on these high priority issues. We urge you, therefore, to request
increased R&D [research and development] funding."

Resources and expertise

Bruce Mahone, director of Space Policy at AIA, told SPACE.com that, "at a
time when our national security is at risk, it makes sense to marshal all
our abilities as a nation to meet the threats we face."

Mahone said NASA has a wealth of resources and expertise that can assist the
military, as well as intelligence and law enforcement communities. Possible
examples include remote sensing skills and innovative computing
capabilities, he said.

Furthermore, Mahone points to several human spaceflight advances that could
be of great help to the military.

For one, reusable launch technologies may lead to a military space plane,
Mahone said. Also, life support systems now used in space could have
applications for use on Earth in hostile environments. Another example is
miniaturized health monitoring systems, swallowed like a pill, in use to
monitor the health of orbiting astronauts.

"These could have numerous applications in surveillance and intelligence
collection," Mahone said.

Balancing act

Former NASA plans and policy chief Lori Garver agreed that NASA's
technological prowess should be tapped.

"Now more than ever, NASA may focus on issues where their technology can
make a contribution to national security," Garver said.

NASA's past work with the Department of Defense and Federal Aviation
Administration can be strengthened in key areas, such as space
transportation and aviation safety, Garver said.

Garver, now director of space programs at DFI International here, said that
"although the nation's space program must still balance scientific goals
with technology development, U.S. space policy will likely focus on
increased technology investment in the near term," she said.

NASA's high-tech skills are indeed a plus, said Joan Johnson-Freese, a
professor in the Department of Transnational Studies in the Asia-Pacific
Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Department of Defense is looking at enhanced communications
requirements, along with intelligence-gathering systems, including imagery,
as well as "any and all kinds of sensors," Johnson-Freese said. "NASA has
vast experience in developing exactly the kinds of technologies the military
needs, and ought to be involved," she said.

"I would hope to see NASA making suggestions on its own about how the agency
can help, rather than wait to be asked," Johnson-Freese said. "Innovation
and creativity will be much needed and appreciated," she said.

Funding nosedive?

But as the nation swings into a full court press against global terrorism,
and military budgets increase, could NASA wind up on the short end of the
budgetary stick?

NASA could find itself in a funding nosedive, said Marshall Kaplan, in
charge of Space Consulting Activities at Strategic Insight Ltd. of
Arlington, Virginia.

"In recent years, NASA's mission and that of the Pentagon have found some
common ground, but only a relatively small amount," Kaplan said. "Now that
Pentagon money needs and priorities have come to the forefront of America's
attention, it is likely that NASA's budget will suffer for the next one to
three years."

Any NASA budget decline, Kaplan said, would adversely impact such large
price tag programs as the International Space Station, the space shuttle,
and the Space Launch Initiative - a multi-billion dollar effort to develop
next generation launch vehicles. "High visibility programs, such as
planetary probes, will probably not suffer significantly," he said.

Institutional threat

NASA is likely to benefit from any ramp-up in military funding in the short
term. However, whether NASA maintains its relevance might be short-lived,
said military space expert, Roger Handberg, professor and interim chair in
the Department of Political Science at the University of Central Florida in
Orlando.

"The problem is that the agency becomes less relevant except in R&D function
regarding hypersonic flight and possible reusable launch vehicles. But the
question is whether NASA will control that," Handberg said.

A Presidential order and subsequent policies have prohibited and stalled
military manned spaceflight, Handberg said. While not a prime priority, "the
military may use the war footing as the mechanism for getting back into the
manned spaceflight arena," he said.

If a major U.S. military push evolves to seize control over entry and use of
outer space by other nations, however, NASA would be pushed into backseat
status in terms of human spaceflight, Handberg said.

"For NASA, all of this becomes institutionally threatening since it implies
that at some point the military may take control over human spaceflight by
the United States, relegating NASA to space science and aviation
development. That would lead to a budget decline that would significantly
change the nature of the American space program," Handberg predicted.

Cooperate in new and unexpected ways

As the war on terrorism unfolds, innovative scientists at many NASA centers
and laboratories - along with the university and contractor community the
civilian space agency works with -- could be helpful in overcoming technical
challenges that will arise, said AIA's Mahone.

"We do not envision or desire to see NASA become a military or paramilitary
organization," Mahone said. "We do, however, see the need for NASA to
cooperate in new and unexpected ways with other branches of the federal
government by sharing its expertise, facilities and problem-solving
abilities."

"More R&D funding will be needed," he said, "for NASA to do so effectively."

Copyright 2001, Space.com

==============
(13) NEW ISS DUTY: A MILITARY OUTPOST?

>From Space.com, 24 September 2001
http://www.space.com/news/iss_military_010924-1.html

By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
 
WASHINGTON -- Satellite surveillance has long been a central pillar of
espionage and military intelligence.

Now, for the first time, a multi-nation human outpost -- the multi-billion
dollar International Space Station (ISS) -- could prove beneficial in the
world-wide campaign to root out terrorism.

It is not unique to include space-based assets are part of an American
counterattack. The August 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq brought about
Operation Desert Storm, an allied response led by the United States. That
Gulf War conflict made great use of space borne hardware, earning it the
label of the world's first space war.

Surveillance, intelligence-gathering, weather, communications, and global
navigation spacecraft are already tasked to help in finding and keeping tabs
on terrorists, as well as plotting retaliatory responses.

But to what extent can humans in Earth orbit assist battlefield commanders?
Moreover, can the civilian orbiting complex -- an icon for the peaceful uses
of outer space -- be legally assigned such a duty?

Peaceful purposes

An Intergovernmental Agreement on the ISS was first put in place in 1988,
resulting in an exchange of letters between participating countries involved
in the mega-project. Those letters state that each partner in the project
determines what a "peaceful purpose" is for its own element.

"The 1988 U.S. letter clearly states that the United States has the right to
use its elements ... for national security purposes, as we define them" said
Marcia Smith, a space policy expert at the Congressional Research Service -
a research arm of the U.S. Congress.

Smith told SPACE.com that using space stations to support military functions
is not new. As example, the former Soviet Union assigned military work to
their Salyut 3 and Salyut 5 space stations in the 1970s.

The crewed stations of the Soviet Union and now Russia, including the
recently deorbited Mir, are known to have supported remote sensing of Earth,
Smith said. Various types of Earth-monitoring devices were flown up to and
used by crews on those facilities, she said.

"That line between remote sensing and reconnaissance is very fine. They
certainly had an array of remote sensing equipment. But how useful the data
was for their military activities, and compared to what their reconnaissance
satellites can do, I can't evaluate that," Smith said.

Space stations flown to date haven't been in ideal, pole-to-pole orbits that
provide full coverage of Earth and adequate revisit times over world trouble
spots. However, they can be "in the right place at the right time,"
contrasted to an unpiloted spacecraft that might be in the wrong location
when needed, Smith said.

The unmaking of MOL

U.S. Air Force space planners have long been interested in the role of
military personnel in Earth orbit. Getting a real program off the ground,
however, has been thwarted in the past - at least in open circles.

Following cancellation in late 1963 of the Air Force DynaSoar project -- a
piloted space glider capable of making bombing runs among other functions --
then American President Lyndon Johnson approved the building of the U.S. Air
Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL).

MOL's mission was grand. Military astronauts would carry out reconnaissance
using novel cameras and radar gear. Satellites could be inspected,
retrieved, even intercepted, if need be. A variety of experiments and
hardware were built to explore the usefulness of military command and
control operations from Earth orbit. By 1967, the MOL project became the Air
Force's largest space program.

Cost growth in the MOL, technology advances in automated military
spacecraft, as well as the expensive Vietnam war, helped force cancellation
of the project in mid-1969. MOL systems later found their way on classified
military satellites. Similarly, MOL experiments were later flown onboard
NASA's Skylab space station in the early 1970s.

Rapid-fire

The role of humans in orbit to perform military space operations continues
to dog the U.S. Air Force.

"We're still looking for that definitive mission," said Air Force Lt. Col.
Steve Davis, an officer at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New
Mexico. "Force enhancement is primarily what we're doing today," he said
August 28 during Space 2001, a meeting of the American Institute of
Aeronautics and Astronautics held in Albuquerque.

Davis said there is increasing reliance on using space for national needs.
"Space control is becoming more important as we have very high value assets
in orbit. We depend on these assets and are interested in protecting them,"
he said.

Onboard one of the Soviet Union's early orbital piloted stations, Davis
said, a rapid-fire cannon was installed. The military outpost was armed, he
said, "so they could defend themselves from any hostile intercepts."

Air Force mission

At present, any vision of military commandos zooming from orbit to orbit,
blowing up enemy satellites, seems far-fetched and more like sci-fi fare
than real battle plans.

The bottom line, Davis said, "is that there is no current or near term roles
for military man in space. We will probably continue on a current method of
having supervised systems...man on the ground in the loop...supervising
systems in space," he said.

However, terrorist threats to ground links that maintain space assets is
another matter, Davis said. These type of attacks can be cheaply done, and
accomplished by adversaries that don't have a significant space capability,
he said.

Furthermore, terrestrial threats to ground links could mean putting military
personnel in orbit, Davis explained. That reduces vulnerabilities and pushes
command and control functions into orbit and out of harm's way, he said.

Davis said there are provisions for doing "sensitive research" on the
International Space Station. Using the brainpower and precision hand-eye
coordination of humans in orbit is hard to beat with automated equipment.

"It would be nice to have a blue-suiter (an Air Force technician) sitting
there for Air Force type research," Davis said.

Collaboration

In a gathering of NASA employees last week, days after the terrorist attack
on New York and Washington, D.C., space agency chief, Daniel Goldin said
that the civilian organization stands ready to work with the Defense
Department, as it has in the past.

A recent study of collaboration between civil space agencies, military and
intelligence services found a number of areas ripe for follow-up. NASA could
assist military space strategists in honing critical capabilities,
including: satellite servicing and repair; on-orbit refueling; artificial
intelligence, such as automated reasoning, intelligent use of data, and
human-centered computing; as well as forecasting space weather.

Another opportunity for collaboration is drawing on NASA expertise in
crafting the 16-nation International Space Station effort in the first
place. "NASA's experience with international partnerships could serve as a
model for establishing joint space security agreements with our allies," the
study concluded.

Window on the world

A program already in place is the Department of Defense Space Test Program
(STP). Created in 1966, the STP has manifested a range of experiments on the
Space Shuttle and now the ISS. A Department of Defense Space Shuttle and ISS
Integration and Operations office is located at the NASA Johnson Space
Center in Houston, Texas.

Defense Department experiments have flown on almost every Space Shuttle
mission. Access is now available for long-duration research on the ISS, both
inside the orbiting facility as well as via externally attached payload
accommodations.

An early and likely spot on the ISS that could prove useful for an
anti-terrorist campaign is built into the U.S. Destiny module - a unique
window on the world. This optical-grade round window is located in the
center section of the module. The purity of glass used, size of the
porthole, and its ability to support a range of cameras and film types
should make observations and picture shooting extremely good from on-high.

A thorny issue remains, however.

Gaining overall acceptance by all partners to use ISS for military and
intelligence gathering tasks may be problematic. Just as in carrying out
proprietary commercial research in orbit, one nation may not want to reveal
to other nations what it has learned.

At this stage, all the ISS partners seem allied to a snuff-out-terrorism
work order. Over time, however, any growing list of ISS military and
intelligence assignments might find less accord among the partners.

Copyright 2001, Space.com
 
===========
(14) DON'T FIGHT THE LAST WAR

>From The Jerusalem Post, 28 September 2001
http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/09/28/News/News.35448.html

Analysis By Barry Rubin

WASHINGTON (September 28) - America is understandably obsessed by the bloody
and tragic attack. There are more flags around than ever and much patriotic
talk.

Endless discussions take place in government, the media, and among citizens
regarding what this experience means and what to do about it.

Yet despite all the good instincts and intentions expressed by the American
leaders and people - and the virtually endless discussion of such matters -
it seems as if the debate over security arrangements and implications has
gone seriously astray. For those used to Israeli concepts on this subject,
there are a number of mistakes already being made that seem dangerously
wrong and likely to lead to more debacles in the future.

And the United States could learn a great deal from Israeli experience,
methods, and technology.

Here are 10 points that are being neglected and virtually never mentioned in
the hours of coverage, meters of printed pages, and chattering of newly
self-appointed instant experts.

1. Avoid panic. While some emotions are properly strong in the aftermath of
the attack, others are less appropriate. The terrorists are being handed an
additional, if perhaps temporary, victory by the irrational fear of
immediate repetitions. The economy is suffering seriously while the airline
and travel-related industries are particularly hard-hit.

Shouldn't someone tell the American people every few hours that if the
terrorists needed three to four years to plan this last attack, another one
is unlikely to occur soon? A terrible thing has happened, but this doesn't
mean that it is going to take place every week. Osama bin Laden's forces
last struck effectively against US embassies in Africa more than three years
ago. His operatives are now heading for cover and it will take them some
time to regroup.

2. Focus resources. America is a big, powerful country used to having all
the resources needed to meet any goal. But security resources are inevitably
limited. Don't waste assets trying to protect everything or spreading your
forces to thin. To cross the ocean and hit America, terrorists are not going
to focus on a shopping mall in Muncie, Indiana.

Priority must be put and kept on high-profile targets, especially in New
York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, along with specific buildings in other
key cities.

3. Don't fight the last war. America is now gearing up to protect itself
from a group of terrorists who hijack aircraft using knives and fly them
into buildings. Much of the American security strategy seems keyed to
preventing precisely the same attacks as those occurring on September 11.

But terrorists, too, read newspapers and know this is happening. Moreover,
the whole point of terrorism tactically is an ability to change targets and
methods. The next attack could involve anything ranging from renting private
planes to chemical warfare, or an Oklahoma-type attack using a car bomb, to
just shooting at people. Counterterrorist planners need to have some
imagination - but not too much (see point 2, above) - in figuring out the
more likely threat and not just a rote repetition of the previous assault.

4. Basic defenses are the most effective ones. With all the attention
focused on security failures, a simple but obvious point is being neglected.
If the X-ray machines and metal detectors had been run properly, the
terrorists probably would not have succeeded.

Rather than invent all sorts of new technology and defensive forces, it
would make more sense to ensure that the existing ones perform properly. At
a recent congressional hearing, a senator recounted how he had gone through
an airport - after the September 11 attack - and those staffing the X-ray
machines had been engaged in horse-play rather than paying attention. You
don't need air marshals or armed pilots if you do proper inspections on the
ground and keep the cockpit door locked. Most of Israel's airport security
systems have been in use since the 1960s with relatively little change.

5. High-quality people. There is no substitute. In Israel, the best people
go into security and intelligence work. At airports, security relations with
passengers are handled by bright young people who know the importance of
what they're doing and are especially conscientious because this is their
first job. In America, with exceptions of course, those doing this work are
there simply because they cannot get other employment.

There was a warning about 15 years ago that the airport security people were
paid less than those working at fast-food restaurants. No matter how much
you spend on technology or what clever plans you develop, these are only as
good as the people implementing them.

Precisely because attacks are so rare, Americans have a very hard time
taking security seriously. Given the high levels of crime, though, this is a
luxury that cannot be afforded. I visited a famous journalist friend who
lives in a community where residents pay thousands of dollars a year for
protection. A few days after the attack and practically within sight of the
World Trade Center, the guard waved me through when I mentioned my host's
name. It became quickly apparent that he thought I lived there without
checking anything. In America, the job title "security guard" is a joke, and
it is not unknown that the "guards" may have criminal records themselves.

6. The security issue that dare not speak its name. America is not under
attack by tribes from the Amazon river, Eskimos, Polynesians, or Zulus.

Everyone knows this fact, but even to mention it is to invite the most
vicious personal attacks and name-calling. But let's say it for the record:
the terrorist attacks on the United States are being planned and implemented
by Muslims from the Middle East, primarily Arabs. Therefore, it may be
politically correct but it is also politically insane to pretend otherwise.

The great majority of Muslims and Arabs in America (or in the Middle East
for that matter) are not involved in such terrorism. The civil liberties of
all Americans should be respected. Nevertheless, if intelligence and
security resources aren't focused on this area, then how can anything be
effective? Everyone is at great pains to stress that prejudice is wrong and
innocent people should not be harassed.

Yet almost no one has pointed out - except for Daniel Pipes - the extremely
important point that key Muslim groups, including those invited to meet with
President George W. Bush, are controlled by radicals who support terrorism.
If the lives of thousands of people are at risk, the importance of being
politically correct or not hurting someone's feelings may seem less
significant.

Ethnic profiling does make sense. Anyone who believes this has never stood
on line behind a Colombian citizen at an American customs' station.
Surveillance of Islamic and Arab groups in the United States does make
sense. There is a valid reason for national and ethnic profiling.

Sorry, but that's the truth. Ignore it if you want to do so, but understand
that this puts lives at risk.

7. Avoid questionable allies: If Iran, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon are invited
into an anti-terrorist coalition, can one expect success? Whatever grudge
some of these leaders have against the Taliban or desire to get some reward
for fooling the United States, are these regimes really going to help fight
terrorism?

Let's face it: When and if the current crisis cools off, bin Laden may be a
respected consulting terrorist living in Teheran, Damascus, or Baghdad.
These countries are going to sabotage any US military strike or pressures,
because they know that similar methods could be used against them some day.
They don't want to turn in the names of terrorists, because they might be
hiring them in a few months. Already the US government has been whitewashing
such countries as Saudi Arabia and Yemen, which it was castigating only
weeks ago for their refusal to cooperate in solving previous terrorist
attacks against Americans in their countries.

8. Tell the American people the truth about what's being said in the Arab
world and Iran: Most of the statements cited in the American media are
formal expressions of regret from Middle Eastern leaders. Yet the support
and sympathy for anti-American terrorism is sharply understated.

Here is one example from MEMRI, one of the groups (Palestinian Media Watch
should also be mentioned) doing a remarkable job of making this material
available. The chairman of the state-sponsored Syrian Arab Writers
Association, Ali Uqleh Ursan, wrote in the group's "intellectual" organ
that, on hearing about the attacks, "I felt like someone delivered from the
grave; my lungs filled with air and I breathed in relief, as I'd never
breathed before."

And incidentally, he cited American attacks on Korea, Vietnam, and Libya (in
addition to support for Israel) as reasons for taking revenge. I have
compiled about 300 pages of this material from a wide range of sources since
September 11, including many expressions of joy on non-public Islamist chat
groups.

9. If you don't deter today you will pay tomorrow. In 1998, hundreds of
people were killed in attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Most of them were black Africans and a number were surely Muslims, though
the terrorists didn't care about that. The American response was a joke: an
hour-long bombing attack on Sudan and in Afghanistan. And even this was
criticized as excessive by many observers, who questioned whether there was
full evidence for hitting the site in Sudan.

If punishments are so limited, why shouldn't states sponsor terrorists,
including bin Laden, and individuals become terrorists? Why aren't American
leaders and opinion makers saying every day: The failure to hit back hard
after previous terrorist attacks is one of the main reason why 5,000 people
are dead in New York? Such a conclusion certainly suggests the importance of
tough - and violent - action today.

10. Listen to those who have been right all along. Instant experts are
proliferating everywhere: people who a month ago couldn't have told you the
difference between a Sunni and a Shia Muslim are now expounding on the
details of Islamic doctrine and radical Middle East politics.

The first time I heard about the dangers of a major terrorist attack in the
United States was from Israeli experts almost a decade ago. While I doubt
that Israel had any remarkable intelligence on the current attacks, very
detailed material on revolutionary Islamist activities within the United
States and the efforts of Middle East groups to build agent networks in
America was being passed by the Israeli government to the United States as
long ago as the early 1990s. And the United States now faces issues of
countermeasures and responses similar to those confronting Israel for more
than 40 years. Perhaps Washington will at last be ready to listen to some of
these perspectives and experiences.

And yet, even aside from the huge problems of punishing or catching the
terrorists, there are real doubts about how this crisis is being handled
today. I can't help but wonder whether, say six months or a year from now,
the US response to the September 11 attacks will become known as the
disaster that followed the catastrophe.

(The writer is the deputy director of the BESA Center for Strategic Studies
at Bar-Ilan University.)

Copyright 2001, Jerusalem Post

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