CCNet 120/2002 - 14 October 2002

"The seismic station of Irkutsk as well as other seismic stations of
the region did not record the fall. (The Bodaibo station recorded a
signal which cannot be easily interpreted). It means, that the Bodaibo
impact is much weaker than the Tunguska event of 1908 because the Tunguska
collision was recorded by the Irkutsk station. Note that the seismic
equipment in 1908 was much worse and the sites are located approximately at
the same distance from Irkutsk. The negative seismic data suggests also
that a significant crater was not formed by the Bodaibo fireball."
  --Michael Nazarov, Laboratory of Meteoritics, Moscow, 10

    NEO Information Centre, 13 October 2002

    Michael Nazarov <>

    Duncan Steel <>

    Ron Baalke <>

    Andrew Yee <>

    Marco Langbroek <>

    Andrew Yee <>


>From NEO Information Centre, 13 October 2002

The U.S. Department of Defense have released information obtained by U.S.
satellites on the fireball event that occurred over Siberia on Sept 24.
Eye-witness accounts of the event reported a large luminous object falling
to Earth near Bodiabo in Siberia. Hunters in the region have also reported
the existence of a crater surrounded by burnt forest suggesting that an
impact event had occurred. The event was detected by near-by geophones as a

U.S. satellites initially detected the fireball at 57.91N and 112.90 E at an
altitude of 62 km and it was tracked to 58.21 N and 113.46 E at an altitude
of 30 km. The satellite measurements indicate that the total energy radiated
from the fireball was roughly the equivalent of 0.2 kilotonnes of TNT.

Although the amount of energy of a meteoroid that is converted into heat and
light as it falls through the atmosphere is not simply related to the size
of the meteoroid it can be used to estimate the size of the event. The
fireball seen over Alaska on January 18, 2000, for example, was likewise
observed by U.S. satellites and released an energy of around 0.26
kilotonnes. This event, like the Siberian fireball, was detected by
earthquake geophones and resulted in the fall of the Tagish lake meteorite.
Only around 1 kg of Tagish lake was recovered from the frozen surface of a
lake, most of this fragile meteoroid was probably destroyed during
atmospheric entry. If the Siberian meteoroid, however, consisted of tougher
materials such as iron then more mass may have survived to collide with the
ground. Weak meteoroids also lose more of their energy during flight through
the atmosphere because of their break-up.

The Sikhote Alin meteorite fell in Russia in 1947 and more than around 70
tons of this meteorite were recovered, many from steep sided impact pits in
soft soil. Estimates of the energy released by Sikhote Alin vary, however,
its is likely to have been up to 10-20 kt with most of this energy lost
during fall through the atmosphere. The event in Siberia on Sept 24 is
unlikely to have been as significant as Tunguska or the event that generated
meteor crater in Arizona since both of these liberated tens of megatonnes of
energy. It may, however, prove to have resulted in the fall of an iron
meteorite although the fact that the fireball was tracked to an altitude of
30 km, where most fireballs associated with meteorites end, suggests it is
perhaps not likely to be as large as the Sikhote Alin fall. Only once
scientists have located and examined the impact site, however, will the size
of the event be known for certain.



>From Michael Nazarov <>

Unfortunately, at present we do not know exactly what happen there. We know

(1) The fall took place near Bodaibo, Irkutsk region on Sept.25 at 1:50 am
of local time

(2) The seismic station of Irkutsk as well as other seismic stations of the
region did not record the fall. (The Bodaibo station recorded a signal which
cannot be easily interpreted). It means, that the Bodaibo impact is much
weaker than the Tunguska event of 1908 because the Tunguska collision was
recorded by the Irkutsk station. Note that the seismic equipment in 1908 was
much worse and the sites are located approximately at the same distance from
Irkutsk. The negative seismic data suggests also that a significant crater
was not formed by the Bodaibo fireball.
Other information should be checked. Irkutsk scientists think that the site
of the fall is unknown. They did not tell us about a hunter who saw a
crater. It would be important to go to Bodaibo and to talk with
eyewitnesses. However I think it will not be easy to find the site of the
fall. Note the fall took place in night. Therefore, normal people was
sleeping. If even there are 100 eyewitnesses, a few of them will tell
something useful about the trajectory of the fireball. Others will tell
about the sounds and the flash but it is not very important. Note also, that
a fireball is very impressive and eyewitnesses  who naturally have never
seen it before will exaggerate systematically its power. Interestingly, in
30-50 years after the Pervomaisky (in 1933) and the Boguslavka (in 1916)
meteorite falls we got letters from some eyewitnesses who described their
impressions. Note also that Bodaibo is in a taiga area. There are not so
many villages there. It makes up additional difficulties to predict the site
of the fall and to find the meteorite.
The experience of meteorite research in Russia shows three possible cases:
(1) A meteorite will have never been found in spite of a huge fireball. This
is the most common case. For last 10-15 years I remember two observations of
huge fireballs in the Moscow region. In one case we constrained well the
possible site of the fall but nothing was found in spite of numerous
attempts. The site was located in a forest.

(2) A meteorite will be found occasionally in a time. The best example is
the Tsarev fall of 1,200 kg in 1922. It was found in 1968. This is also a
common case. If even we have some constrains on a site of a fall, a
constrained area is too big as a rule and a first meteorite fragment is
recovered occasionally in the area in a time.

(3) A meteorite is found immediately. It occurs if a meteorite falls in a
vicinity of eyewitnesses or if a fall is really very huge. The site of the
huge Sikhote Alin fall of 1947  was discovered at the same day by pilots of
a civil flight. The Bodaibo airport is active. I think that if there would
be a huge fall in the district, a crater or other destruction in the taiga
area would be recognized by pilots.
Interestingly that a meteorite named Bodaibo exists already. It is iron
piece of 15.9 kg found there in 1907.
Dr. Mikhail Nazarov
Laboratory of Meteoritics
Vernadsky Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry
Moscow 119991, Kosygin St.,19
phone: 939 7070
fax: 938 2054


>From Duncan Steel <>

Hi Benny,

This announcement confirms an *atmospheric* impact as opposed to a ground

Peter Brown notes in his release:
>The total radiated energy was 8.6 X 10^11 Joules (6000K black body).

This figure has a considerable uncertainty due to the requirement of making
various assumptions about certain input parameters. But if it is correct to
first order, then it corresponds to an energy equivalent near 100 tonnes of TNT.
Assuming an atmospheric entry speed in the low 20's (km/sec), and that essentially
all the meteoroid kinetic energy is transformed to radiant energy (a dubious assumption),
the pre-entry meteoroid mass would then be about 2 tonnes.

A hypervelocity impact on the ground would thus be contraindicated. A small
fraction of the  original meteoroid mass might survive entry and reach the
ground intact, but it would have done so at the free-fall speed (i.e. the
same as if it had been dropped from a high-flying


Duncan Steel


>From Ron Baalke <>

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

John F. Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center, Florida 32899
AC 321-867-2468

For Release: Oct. 11, 2002

KSC Contact: Manny Virata
(321) 867-2468

KSC Release No. 99 - 02


A new NASA study of a one-of-a-kind meteorite found 36 years ago in
Australia could help provide the science community and industry with
fundamental knowledge for use in the design of advanced

Such materials could be used for future spacecraft, improved jet aircraft
and in various manufactured goods from cars to household materials. In
addition, the meteorite - now at Kennedy Space Center - could help reveal
secrets about the core of our planet and its magnetic field.

The 100-pound Mundrabilla meteorite sample, which is on loan to Marshall
Space Flight Center from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of
Natural History, is being studied by MSFC and KSC, primarily through the use
of KSC's Computed Tomography Scanner.

Dr. Donald Gillies, discipline scientist for materials science at MSFC's
Microgravity Science and Applications Department, is the Principal
Investigator on the study.

"Most meteorites are solid chunks of metal, surrounded by a rocky surface.
This one is a combination of materials (iron-nickel and iron-sulfide) that
became solid at different rates in cooling over millions of years," Dr.
Gillies said. "It offers an amazing opportunity for understanding
fundamentals of alloy formation."

Pete Engel, an engineering specialist in Wyle Laboratory's Nondestructive
Testing Laboratory at KSC, has processed the scans of the meteorite at KSC.

"The CT Scanner is able to reveal the untouched internal structure of the
meteorite by detecting differences in the densities of its materials," Engel
said. "Without a tool like the scanner, it would be impossible to study the
inside of the meteorite without altering it by sawing into it or grinding it

The idea behind computed tomography - first used in the medical field - is
to create a picture of a very thin cross section of an object by passing a
very thin fan of X-rays or gamma rays through it and then repeating the
process until every slice of an object is imaged in order to create a 3-D
image. Dr. Gillies and Engel are conducting the meteorite CT work at KSC
using gamma rays given off by a pencil lead-sized piece of radioactive
cobalt as it decays.

"This meteorite, like all meteorites, was formed in a lower gravity
environment than here on Earth," Dr. Gillies pointed out. "Like experiments
performed on the Space Shuttle or the International Space Station, this
research allows us to look at fundamental science questions. Unlike our own
flight experiments, this one represents a billion year solidification
experiment in low gravity."

NOTE:  Media members who wish to view the meteorite and Computed Tomography
Scanner and interview Pete Engel should call Manny Virata at 867-2468 to
schedule a time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 16, for a tour of
the Nondestructive Testing Laboratory.


>From Andrew Yee <>

Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
Sagamihara City, Japan

26 September 2002

MUSES-C Launch Put Off

The MUSES-C ISAS asteroid mission which was scheduled to be launched in
coming December, has been put off till the next launch window (May 2003).

The MUSES-C team found an O-ring of a regulator for attitude control system
broken during the checking operation. As some other similar O-rings are used
for MUSES-C, ISAS team has been engaged in detailed investigation about
related components. As of the present moment, the O-ring in trouble has been
changed, and the investigataion has already confirmed the whole attitude
control system has no problem. The process, however, costed a long time, and
ISAS is obliged to postpone the launch of MUSES-C from scheduled December
2002 to the next launch window, May 2003.

Thanks to many people's cooperation, the applicants to "Let's go to our Star
Prince" reached about 880,000. ISAS would like all applicants to understand
the situation that the launch delay this time also means safer arrival of
880,000 names at the target asteroid, 1998SF36. In spite of this launch
delay, arrival times to the asteroid and the earth will not be changed.


>From Marco Langbroek <>

For those interested, I now have a pdf (100 Kb) reprint of the paper below
available. Send me a note in case you are interested.

Marco Langbroek

- - - -
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume 334 Issue 2 Page L16-L20  - August 2002
doi: 10.1046/ j.1365-8711.2002.05679.x

Title: Observational evidence for punctuated equilibria in the evolution of
Leonid dust trail widths and implications for meteor rate predictions

Author: Marco Langbroek

Abstract - Meteor activity profiles are reported for the three Leonid storms
of 1999 and 2001 and the substorm of 2000. These yield information on the
evolution of the shape of cross-sections through Leonid dust trails of known
age. Leonid dust trails shed 4 or more revolutions of the parent comet ago,
widen rather sudden, compared to the 3 revolutions old dust trail
encountered in 1999. Trails shed 4 respectively 7 revolutions ago differ
little from each other in width by contrast. It is proposed that the
evolution of Leonid dust trail widths is not gradual with age but progresses
by a process of punctuated equilibria, parallel to a similar pattern in the
orbital evolution of the parent comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. Trails shed 4 to 7
revolutions ago appear to represent an equilibrium phase. The current series
of encounters with these trails therefore yield a unique opportunity to
investigate the spatial dust density distribution for trails in this age
range. Minimum and maximum rate estimates are given for the upcoming 2002
Leonids. The minimum rates possible amount to zenith hourly rates of 3000
for the 4-revolution trail encounter and 2500 for the 7-revolution trail
encounter. Maximum rates possible, but unlikely to be fulfilled, are 6500
for the 4-revolution trail and 7100 for the 7-revolution trail. We can look
forward with confidence to two new Leonid storms in 2002 with rates at least
equal to and perhaps above those of 2001.
- - - -

Marco Langbroek                    e-mail:
Diefsteeg 1
NL-2311 TS Leiden
the Netherlands


>From Andrew Yee <>

Office of News and Public Affairs
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts

October 10, 2002

Ig Nobels go to the dogs, honoring canine translators, cat-washing machines:
Annual awards mix science with circus as the theme of the year is 'jargon'

By Beth Potier, Harvard Gazette Staff

Staff photos by Ruby Arguilla

Ostrich lust, belly button lint, and creative corporate accounting took
honors at the Twelfth 1st Annual Ig Nobel
[ ] Prize Ceremony in Sanders
Theatre on Oct. 3, an event that celebrates scientific achievements that
"cannot or should not be reproduced."

Prize winners paid their own expenses to travel from four continents to
collect their prizes -- a certificate and a statuette of chattering teeth --
and participate in an awards ceremony that was equal parts science and
circus. Genuine Nobel Laureates Dudley R. Herschbach, Frank B. Baird Jr.
Professor of Science; Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Chemistry
Emeritus William Lipscomb; and New England Biolabs' Richard Roberts passed
out awards and gamely participated in the irreverence.

As paper airplanes soared and costumed audience members shouted and cheered,
Ig Nobel winners graciously accepted the awards that made light of their
legitimate research. The awards and ceremony were "reluctantly inflicted
upon you," said the evening's program, by the science humor
magazine Annals of Improbable Research (AIR).

Arnd Leike, of the University of Munich, chugged a beaker of beer after
accepting the physics Ig Nobel for research that demonstrated that beer
froth obeys the mathematical Law of Exponential Decay.

"I had much fun in taking data and writing this paper," said Leike. "Thank
you, and cheers."

Accepting the biology award for a report he co-authored on "Courtship
Behaviour of Ostriches Towards Humans Under Farming Conditions in Britain,"
a dapper Charles G. Paxton quipped that "For too long, science has had its
collective head in the sand over this particular issue."

Ceremony censors nixed a demonstration of the medicine Ig Nobel, awarded to
University College, London, professor Chris McManus for his report on
"Scrotal Asymmetry in Man and in Ancient Sculpture."

A team of Japanese scientists accepted the Ig Nobel for peace for
Bow-Lingual, a dog-to-human translation device, and Eduardo Segura of Spain
won the hygiene award for inventing a washing machine for cats and dogs.

The literature award went to Vicki Silvers of the University of Nevada,
Reno, and David Kreiner of Missouri State University for their paper
exploring "The Effects of Pre-Existing Inappropriate Highlighting on Reading

"The moral of the story is, do not buy a textbook that has been highlighted
by an idiot," said Kreiner. After the ceremony, he admitted that he and
Silvers were both honored and somewhat miffed that their work was recognized
with an Ig Nobel. "We took this as serious, and we still do," he said.

Not surprisingly, none of the winners of the economics prize -- the
executives, directors, and auditors of Enron, WorldCom, Kmart, Arthur
Andersen, and other battered corporations -- claimed the honors in person.
They were collectively cited for "adapting the mathematical concept
of imaginary numbers for use in the business world."

Scientific hijinks and dramatic tomfoolery surrounded the actual bestowing
of awards. The evening's theme, jargon, was played out in the world premiere
of the four-act "Jargon Opera." The opera was set at the International
Jargon Conference where, sang one of the performers, "each syllable is

A range of "Ignataries," including National Public Radio "Science Friday"
host Ira Flatow and Alyssa Goodman, professor of astronomy at the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, delivered "24/7" seminars on
topics ranging from neurobiology to animals. Each lecturer
summarized his or her topic in 24 seconds and then explained it in lay terms
in seven words.

"Star light, star bright, it's my job," was Goodman's description of

Co-sponsored by the Harvard Computer Society, the Harvard-Radcliffe Science
Fiction Association, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Students,
the Ig Nobels aspire, remarkably, to a goal higher than hilarity: The
event's organizers hope that they can spark an interest in science
through humor.

"It lets scientists have a night when it's OK to have fun in public," said
AIR editor and master of ceremonies Marc Abrahams, and it lets the public
see that even Nobel laureates can cut loose.

"Everyone involved wants to tempt a few more people into getting curious
about science," he added.

[NOTE: Images supporting this article are available at ]

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