CCNet 122/2002 - 22 October 2002

"When somebody finds an asteroid that will be coming by the Earth in
about 30 years, then you will see all the countries of the world working
very hard to get the capability to get people out there to mitigate the
threat. I think we should start building up our capability in the very
near future. We should not wait for something to happen. We should get ready
for it."
--Robert Farquhar, Johns Hopkins University, 19 October 2002

    Meteoritics & Planetary Science 37 (2002)

    BBC News Online, 21 October 2002

    Andrew Yee <>

    Houston Chronicle, 19 October 2002



    Ron Baalke <>

    Ron Baalke <>

    Suzanne Leroy <Suzanne.Leroy@BRUNEL.AC.UK>

     Andrew Yee <>

     National Review Online, 18 October 2002


>From Meteoritics & Planetary Science 37 (2002)

Martin Connors*, Paul Chodas, Seppo Mikkola, Paul Wiegert, Christian
Veillet, Kimmo Innanen

*Correspondence author's address:  Centre for Science, Athabasca University,
1 University Drive, Athabasca AB, Canada T9S 3A3; e-mail address:

Abstract-The newly discovered asteroid 2002 AA29 moves in a very Earth-like
orbit that relative to Earth has a unique horseshoe shape and allows
transitions to a quasi-satellite state. This is the first body known to be
in a simple heliocentric horseshoe orbit, moving along its parent planet's
orbit. It is similarly also the first true co-orbital object of Earth, since
other asteroids in 1:1 resonance with Earth have orbits very dissimilar from
that of our planet. When a quasi-satellite, it remains within 0.2 AU of the
Earth for several decades. 2002 AA29 is the first asteroid known to exhibit
this behavior. 2002 AA29 introduces an important new class of objects
offering potential targets for space missions and clues to asteroid orbit
transfer evolution.

© Meteoritical Society, 2002. Printed in USA.


>From BBC News Online, 21 October 2002

By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor 
Astronomers have discovered the first object ever that is in a companion
orbit to the Earth.

Asteroid 2002 AA29 is only about 100 metres wide and never comes closer than
3.6 million miles to our planet.

But it shares the Earth's orbit around the Sun, at first on one side of the
Earth and then escaping to travel along our planet's path around the Sun
until it encounters the Earth from the other side. Then it goes back again.

Researchers are speculating that 2002 AA29 could be visited by astronauts or
used to understand the threat to our planet posed by such rocks from space.

Co-orbital object

2002 AA29 was discovered by the linear automated sky survey project on 9
January 2002.

Martin Connors of Athabaseca University in Canada writes in the journal
Meteoritics and Planetary Science that it, "moves in a very Earth-like
orbit," and is the "first true co-orbital object of Earth."

2002 AA29 has a bizarre horseshoe orbit around the sun
General Simon Worden of the United States Space Command described it as a
"near Earth object that is close to being trapped by the Earth as a second
natural satellite".

According to Helena Morais of the University of Lisbon and Allesandro
Morbidelli of the University of Nice, writing in a paper to be published in
the journal, Icarus: "2002 AA29 seems to be in a temporary horseshoe-like
orbit with the Earth."

This puts 2002 AA29 is in the same class as 3753 Cruithne, a similar rocky
body in a horseshoe orbit around the Earth.

But astronomers classify 2002 AA29 as the first real co-orbital body found
associated with the Earth because it more completely shares the Earth's path
around the Sun.

Co-orbiting asteroids have been found around other planets.

Over 1,200 so called "Trojans" have been found moving either ahead or behind

Eight such objects have been found associated with Mars.

But despite detailed searches no one has yet found any Trojan objects near
the Earth.

It is clear that 2002 AA29 was discovered by accident at a time when it was
at one end of its horseshoe orbit and, being at its closest to the Earth,
was bright enough to be detected in an automated sky survey.

Detailed observations of its trajectory through space show that 2002 AA29
will reach its minimum close approach to the Earth - 12 times the distance
between Earth and the Moon - at 1900 GMT on 8 January 2003.

Cat-and-mouse game

Thereafter it will travel ahead of the Earth moving faster than our planet
does, until after 95 years it will catch up with the other side of the Earth
and then reverse its motion.

Analysis of 2002 AA29's motions have revealed a remarkable event that
happens to it every few thousand years.

In 550AD, and again in 2600AD and 3880AD, for a while it will become a true
satellite of our planet, in effect Earth's second moon, although technically
it will remain under the gravitational control of the Sun.

It remains a second moon to Earth for about 50 years until it escapes.

Although only about 100 metres across 2002 AA29 may play a role in the
manned exploration of space out of all proportion to its size.

Already researchers are speculating that it could be visited by an unmanned
spaceprobe or even become the first object after the Moon to be stepped on
by astronauts.

The object could tell us a lot about the composition of asteroids.

Some have speculated that it could be nudged into a permanent Earth orbit
where it could be studied at greater length.

Copyright 2002, BBC


>From Andrew Yee <>

[ ]

Monday, October 21, 2002, 08:44 GMT

By Alexander Batalin

IRKUTSK (RIA Novosti) -- A scientific expedition will set out on Tuesday for
the meteorite crash site in the Irkutsk region (Siberia).

According to the latest data disclosed by Viktor Grigoryev, deputy head of
the Solar and Earth Physics Institute of the Siberian Department of the
Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), the meteorite fell on September 25th
about 30km from the Mama village, not in the Bodai district as was
previously believed. The crash site's co-ordinates were corrected on the
basis of data obtained by Irkutsk seismologists and an American satellite
which registered a burst of the meteorite exploding in the atmosphere.

According to Grigoryev, chances to find fragments of the space traveller are
low because of low temperatures and show in the region. The primary
objective is to minimise the search area. Scientists are planning to achieve
this goal by getting into hard-to-reach areas of taiga as far as possible.

The expedition at issue will last for a week. Scientists are next expected
to visit the area in spring.

© 2002 RIA Novosti


>From Houston Chronicle, 19 October 2002


With Apollo astronaut John Young leading the charge, top aerospace experts
warned Friday that humanity's survival may depend on how boldly the world's
space agencies venture into the final frontier.

Only a spacefaring culture with the skills to travel among and settle
planets can be assured of escaping a collision between Earth and a large
asteroid or devastation from the eruption of a super volcano, they told the
World Space Congress.

"Space exploration is the key to the future of the human race," said Young,
who strolled on the moon more than 30 years ago and now serves as the
associate director of NASA's Johnson Space Center. "We should be running
scared to go out into the solar system. We should be running fast."

Scientists believe that an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs more than 60
million years ago, and are gathering evidence of previously large

"The civilization of Earth does not have quite as much protection as we
would like to believe," said Leonid Gorshkov, an exploration strategist with
RSC Energia, one of Russia's largest aerospace companies. "We should not
place all of our eggs in one basket."

Young and Gorshkov joined colleagues from Japan and France at the space
congress to discuss wide ranging strategies for expanding human exploration
beyond the U.S.-led international space station.

Space policy experts, aerospace engineers, scientists and students from more
than 100 countries converged on Houston for the nine-day gathering, which
ends today. As in previous deliberations, the participants in Friday's
session wrestled with how to overcome the economic and political obstacles
that have slowed the human migration into space.

The last of NASA's Apollo moon missions returned to Earth on Dec. 19, 1972,
and no human has ventured as far since. Efforts to unite the world's major
spacefaring nations aboard the space station have been stymied by cost
overruns. As political support waned, NASA scaled the project back at least
temporarily, straining relations with its partners in Canada, Europe and

"When somebody finds an asteroid that will be coming by the Earth in about
30 years, then you will see all the countries of the world working very hard
to get the capability to get people out there to mitigate the threat," said
Robert Farquhar, a deep space mission design expert at the Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory in Baltimore. "I think we should start
building up our capability in the very near future. We should not wait for
something to happen. We should get ready for it."

During Friday's discussions, experts struggled to find agreement on
strategies to embark on an internationally backed migration into deep space.

Young favored the moon; Gorshkov's company favored a mission to Mars by
2022, though it lacks the financial backing. Without the finances, the
Russian said cosmonauts will at least attempt to mount an orbital mission to
Mars where they could supervise the activities of robots on the surface

The Europeans envision human missions to Mars by 2030. Near-term robotic
missions would attempt to collect soil samples from the Red Planet for
analysis. The European strategy, though, relies on sustained political and
financial support from more than a dozen nations.

For the moment, Japan seems most allied with NASA's strategy to move beyond
the space station with an Earth-orbiting human habitat near the moon.
Although they have not identified dates for the mission, planners believe
the habitat could become a staging area for the launch of deep-space
successors to the Hubble Space Telescopes.

As it expands, the habitat would also become a staging site for missions to
the lunar surface.

"I think we need a set of destinations for human exploration that
systematically pursues its fulfillment in a step-by-step fashion with both
robotic and human spaceflight," said Wes Huntress, a former NASA space
science chief who directs the Geophysical Laboratory at the Carnegie
Institution in Washington.

He predicted that little will happen unless there is a groundswell of new
public support for space exploration.

"There has to be a public imperative to go. It will not happen unless the
administration, the Congress and the people of the United States decide this
is what they want," Huntress told space congress participants. "We have to
build a case for why the taxpayers of the world should pay for this

Copyright 2002, Houston Chronicle


>From, 18 October 2002

Deep Impact is a NASA econo-class mission to shoot a projectile at a comet
in July 2005, making a football field-sized crater deep within a speeding
comet. But the word here at the World Space Congress is that the mission is
in deep trouble encountering technical woes and cost growth. The mission is
being led by a Univ. of Maryland, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Ball
Aerospace team. NASA Headquarters recently called the Deep Impact folks in
for discussion of possible cancellation of the project. The outcome of those
talks remains in the "to be determined" column as the Deep Impact team tries
to save the effort.

Copyright 2002,


>From, 21 October 2002

By Diana Jong
Staff Writer

Venus has its volcanoes. Mars has a canyon grander than any on Earth. Eros
the asteroid is pockmarked by impact craters and littered with boulders.

Many Sun-orbiting objects have geologic features that are analogous to those
here on Earth. New research reveals that even comets, the dirty balls of ice
from the edge of the solar system, can remind us of home.

Last September, while on its last leg, the Deep Space 1 (DS1) spacecraft
zipped by comet Borrelly, taking some of the most detailed images ever of a
comet's core. Examining these images, scientists noticed mesas, ridges and
hills, all resembling terrestrial surface features. 
Scientists detected many Earth-like features on Borrelly, such as mesas,
hills and ridges, as noted on this image. The geologic features on Earth and
Borrelly are formed through the same basic processes.
This new color-enhanced composite of Borrelly images taken by DS1 was
released earlier this month. It shows features of the comet's nucleus, dust
jets escaping the nucleus and the cloud-like coma of dust and gases.

On Earth, analogous structures are carved out largely through the erosive
forces of wind and rain. On a ball of dust and ice (with perhaps some rock)
hurtling through space, however, geology is formed when a material turns
directly from a solid into a gaseous state, a process called sublimation.

"It's basically all physics," says Dan Britt, a geologist from the
University of Tennessee and a member of the DS1 science team.

The mesas on Borrelly are more than 300 feet (100 meters) tall and can be 20
times as wide. Britt says they resemble the mesas in the American Southwest,
which are formed when a cap of hard rock overlies softer material that
erodes faster. The cap acts as a type of shield.

On Borrelly, the caps are made of the dust and rock left behind when
volatiles, such as water and methane ice, sublimate. Sublimation continues
from the sides of the mesa, and a resistant cap finally drops down when it
is undermined, Britt said. During the course of Borrelly's seven-year orbit
around the Sun, Britt adds, the mesas erode as much as thirty feet (10

There are also regions on Borrelly that experience slower
sublimation-related erosion, a fact Britt figures is responsible for making
the hills and linear features on the comet. Overall, he says, sublimation
removes about three feet (1 meter) of Borrelly every cycle.

"That's actually pretty active erosion, even in geologic terms," Britt said
in a telephone interview. "If your yard eroded one meter every seven years,
you'd be upset."

Britt and his colleagues also observed ridges on Borrelly. These were
formed, they believe, when one part of the comet broke off and was pushed
back at an angle.

"When you have two moveable objects pushing against each other, you make
ridges," he said. "That's how you make mountains on Earth."

As simple as it may sound to draw a correlation between Earth and comets,
these findings are somewhat surprising, Britt says.

"Comets, up until now, have been really astronomical objects, sort of dots
on a photographic plate, or blobs," he said. "I've never really thought that
a ball of ice and dust would make interesting surfaces and have interesting
processes and produce interesting pictures."

Britt and his colleagues compiled DS1's images of Borrelly to create 3-D
composites. They then carefully examined and measured the features on the
comet. They presented their findings earlier this month at a meeting of the
Division of Planetary Sciences in Birmingham, Alabama.

Astronomers have been taking pictures of comets for more than a decade, but
none have been as detailed as those of Borrelly, made when DS1 passed within
1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) of the comet.

In 1986, the European Space Agency's Giotto mission took pictures of comet
Halley. Those images, however, did not resolve the surface of the comet. In
2003, ESA will launch Rosetta, which will visit comet Wirtanen. It will be
followed in 2004 by NASA's Deep Impact, designed to slam a probe into a
comet while the mother ship monitors the event from afar, so as to learn
more about comet insides.

DS1, launched in 1998, was designed primarily to test new technology,
including an ion engine. Science was a secondary objective.

Copyright 2002,


>From Ron Baalke <>

NASA Researchers Seek Astrobiology Insights on the Leonid Multi-Instrument
Aircraft Campaign

By: David Lamb
NASA Astrobiology Institute
October 18, 2002

This November, Peter Jenniskens will again be leading a NASA team to explore
the 2002 Leonid meteor storm from high altitudes.

Meteor showers may be a beautiful, heavenly spectacle that can provide for a
good evening of entertainment, but they are also much more. Meteors, or
"shooting stars" are streaks of light that appear in the sky when small
particles from space enter Earth's atmosphere. They have amazed stargazers
for millennia. But only recently have scientists realized their importance
to understanding the evolution of the solar system - and their connection to
astrobiology. One shower in particular, the Leonids, has been especially
strong recently. And this year, stargazers and scientists alike are in for a
spectacular show, and astrobiologists will be closely monitoring from high

In 1965, Comet (55P) Tempel-Tuttle, the comet responsible for the Leonid
meteor shower, was rediscovered after being lost for nearly a century. The
following year, many onlookers viewed flurries of meteors that may have
reached 40 per second! Although we probably won't experience rates that high
this year, we will still be in for a good show. This is good news for Dr.
Peter Jenniskens, the Principal Investigator (PI) for the Leonid
Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign (MAC), which is designed specifically
around tracking, monitoring, and recording the recent increased rates of the
Leonids. Dr. Jenniskens has been following the Leonids closely since he
noticed an increase in their rates in 1994. This year, after three
successful missions, he and his team are gearing up for another intense
Leonid storm (a heavy meteor shower).

About the Leonid MAC Mission:

Since 1998, Dr. Jenniskens has been leading the Leonid Multi-Instrument
Aircraft Campaign. The MAC is an airborne NASA mission that brings together
researchers from different disciplines to be able to examine the meteors
from different scientific perspectives. Only an airborne mission can
guarantee clear viewing and appropriate location to study the Leonids. The
aircraft serves as a platform for various scientific instruments.
Researchers on board use spectrometers, cameras, and counters (for meteor
flux measurement) to gather their data. Experiments on the MAC help to
answer important questions such as:

"Will a particularly intense meteor storm cause satellites to malfunction
some time in the future?"

"What chemical reactions will occur as the meteors incinerate?"

"Might cometary debris have influenced the development of life on Earth?"

MAC missions also took place in 1999 and 2001 (low rates prevented a
comprehensive MAC mission in 2000). This year, two planes will be monitoring
the Leonids, the NKC 135-E FISTA and the NASA DC-8 Airborne laboratory. The
planes can fly at a 100-km distance and make stereoscopic observations of
the Leonids. For more details on the mission specifications, click here:

MAC Astrobiology Initiatives and International Cooperation

The 1998 MAC was dubbed as NASA's first astrobiology mission. One of the
overall objectives of the MAC is to "learn how extraterrestrial materials
may have been brought to Earth at the time of the origin of  life." Also,
MAC seeks to understand more about the reactions of meteors and Earth's
atmosphere. Specifically, Peter Jenniskens and his team are looking to find
the fate of organic matter in the meteors as the plunge into Earth's
atmosphere. At the 2001 Meteoroids conference in Kiruna, Sweden, Dr.
Jenniskens notes that "Meteors dominated the supply of organics to the early
Earth if organic matter survived this pathway efficiently. Understanding
these processes relies heavily on empirical evidence that is still very

Depending on the year, the MAC team has flown to various parts of the globe
to get the best views of the Leonids. In 2002, they will be flying above
Spain. The Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB), an NAI International Partner, will
host the deployment of the MAC. CAB will also participate in some of the key
experiments on the DC-8 airborne lab. The Centro de Astrobiologia previously
helped coordinate Leonid observations in 2000.

Experience the Mission!

Information on the Leonids and the Multi-Instrument Aircraft Campaign is
well documented on the MAC website. For example, during the 2001 mission
researchers recorded some spectacular shots of the Leonids. You can view
still images and even a short video on an 8 sec "Taurid fireball" at the MAC
2001 scientific results page:

If you are interested in viewing the Leonids this year, you will soon be
able to access the Leonid MAC Flux Estimator to help find prime viewing
conditions in your area:

also has an article giving more information on viewing.

You too can also be a part of the mission! Amateur astronomers are needed to
help count local rates of the Leonid storm. If you are interested in being a
counter for the mission, click here:


>From Ron Baalke <>

                        Third International Conference on
                           Large Meteorite Impacts
                              August 5-7, 2003
                            Nordlingen, Germany

                       FIRST ANNOUNCMENT - OCTOBER 2002

                                SPONSORED BY
                        Lunar and Planetary Institute
                              Stadt Nördlingen
                         Humboldt University, Berlin
                            University of Münster
                            Märker Zementwerke AG
                            Meteoritical Society

           Burkhard Dressler, Chair, Lunar and Planetary Institute
           Thomas Kenkmann, Co-Chair, Humboldt University, Berlin
                     Alex Deutsch, University of Münster
       Richard Grieve, Earth Science Sector, Natural Resources Canada
                Robbie Herrick, Lunar and Planetary Institute
                    Fred Hörz, NASA Johnson Space Center
                  Falko Langenhorst, University of Bayreuth
                       Jean Pohl, University of Munich
               Buck Sharpton, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
                Dieter Stöffler, Humboldt University, Berlin

                         LOCAL ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
            Michael Schieber, Chair, Rieskratermuseum, Nördlingen
           Thomas Kenkmann, Co-Chair, Humboldt University, Berlin
            Gisela Pösges, Co-Chair, Rieskratermuseum, Nördlingen
                  Falko Langenhorst, University of Bayreuth
                       Jean Pohl, University of Munich
                      Peter Schiele, City of Nördlingen

     The conference (formerly "Large Meteorite Impact and Planetary
     Evolution") will bring together researchers working on a wide
     range of aspects of impact cratering with emphasis on large
     terrestrial and planetary impact structures and the ways in which
     they influenced planet formation and evolution. Of special
     interest are new observations and interpretations obtained from
     studies of the three very large terrestrial structures -
     Chicxulub, Sudbury, and Vredefort. Contributions dealing with the
     following topics are invited:

          ¥ Impacts and Earth evolution
          ¥ Impact structures and climate change
          ¥ Role of target volatiles
          ¥ Formation of melt sheets, melt breccias, and impact glasses in
                 crystalline and sedimentary targets - melt sheets and melt
                 breccias within the impactite sequence
          ¥ Mass-movement of subsurface materials as revealed by
                 macroscopic and microscopic observations from crater floors,
                 mega-block zones, central uplifts, peak rings, and collar rocks
          ¥ Impacts in marine environments
          ¥ Impacts on other planets
          ¥ Material response to hypervelocity impact - shock metamorphism
          ¥ Geophysical signatures of planetary impacts
          ¥ Economic significance of impacts
          ¥ Experimental and numerical studies

     A proceedings volume presenting the results of the conference will
     be produced as a GSA Special Paper or similar publication.

     Moderate funds will be made available to students, recent
     graduates, and Ph.D.s who present results dealing with the topic
     of the conference. Students from developing countries are
     specifically encouraged to apply.

     Medieval Nördlingen is a beautiful city offering guided and
     self-guided walking tours to the city wall, churches, and other
     interesting buildings. Day tours by bus to other medieval towns
     nearby will be offered, depending on demand.


           December 13, 2002     Indication of Interest forms due

           March 7, 2003        Second announcement with call for
                                    abstracts and preregistration
                               information posted on LPI Web site

           May 8, 2003          Deadline for hard-copy submission
                                              of abstracts to LPI

           May 15, 2003        Deadline for electronic submission
                                              of abstracts to LPI

           June 13, 2003      Final announcement with preliminary
                                     program and abstracts posted
                                                  on LPI Web site

           August 3-4, 2003    Preconference field trip, Ries and
                                         Steinheim impact craters

           August 5-7, 2003     Third International Conference on
                                       Large Meteorite Impacts in

           August 8-9, 2003   Postconference field trip, Ries and
                                         Steinheim impact craters


                MEETING ORGANIZERS
      Burkhard Dressler, Lunar and Planetary  LPI MEETING COORDINATOR
                    Institute                     Kimberly Taylor
          e-mail:       Publications and Program
                                                   Services Dept.
      Thomas Kenkmann, Humboldt University,     Lunar and Planetary
                      Berlin                         Institute
                     e-mail:                  3600 Bay Area Boulevard       Houston TX 77058-1113
                                                phone: 281-486-2151
       Michael Schieber, Rieskratermuseum,       fax: 281-486-2160
                    Nördlingen                        e-mail:

     Future announcements, including information for submission of
     abstracts, will be posted on this LPI Web site.

     To subscribe to a mailing list to receive electronic reminders and
     special announcements relating to the meeting via e-mail, please
     submit an electronic Indication of Interest form by December 13,

     You may also send an e-mail with "Largeimpacts 2003 Interest" in
     the subject line to Please include your
     name and affiliation within the body of the message. Also, include
     a valid e-mail address if you are sending it from an e-mail that
     is different from your own. (Do not send any important messages
     with "Largeimpacts 2003 Interest" in the subject line; these
     e-mails will only be used for compiling a mailing list.)

     Please submit the Indication of Interest form even if you do not
     care about electronic notification of future announcements. The
     number of e-mails tallied will also serve to facilitate meeting
     planning by the Local Organizing Committee.


From: Suzanne Leroy <Suzanne.Leroy@BRUNEL.AC.UK>

Special Session of the 2003 Limnogeology Congress (ILIC3) to be held in
Tucson, AZ USA from the 29 Mar.-2 Apr., 2003 on Holocene Catastrophic Events
Recorded in Lakes. 

Dear Colleagues,

Daniel Ariztegui  and myself (Suzanne Leroy) are organizing a special
session entitled "Holocene Catastrophic Events Recorded in Lakes". 

We have the pleasure to invite you to submit a paper in this session.

Please take a moment to look at the web site at where you can find all information
you will need for registration, abstract submission, hotel information,
field trips, etc.

Important dates to keep in mind are:

· Jan 2nd-abstract submission deadline
· Jan. 15th-Early registration deadline.

Please forward all questions to  Many thanks!

See you there,

Prof. Suzanne A. G. Leroy,
Department of Geography and Earth Sciences
Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 3PH, (West London), UK.,
direct: +44-1895-20 31 78; fax: +44-1895-20 32 17, secr: +44-1895-20 32 15

>From Andrew Yee <>

National Academies
Washington, D.C.

October 18, 2002

Statement on Science and Security in an Age of Terrorism

>From Bruce Alberts, Wm. A. Wulf, and Harvey Fineberg, Presidents of the
National Academies

After the September 11, 2001, assaults on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon, and the subsequent anthrax attacks via the postal system, the
scientific, engineering, and health research community was quick to respond
at many levels, from initiating new research to analyzing needs for improved
security. This community recognizes that it has a clear responsibility to
protect the United States, as it has in the past, by harnessing the best
science and technology to help counter terrorism and other national security

In meeting this responsibility, the scientific, engineering, and health
research community also recognizes a need to achieve an appropriate balance
between scientific openness and restrictions on public information.
Restrictions are clearly needed to safeguard strategic secrets; but
openness also is needed to accelerate the progress of technical knowledge
and enhance the nation's understanding of potential threats.

A successful balance between these two needs -- security and openness --
demands clarity in the distinctions between classified and unclassified
research. We believe it to be essential that these distinctions not include
poorly defined categories of "sensitive but unclassified" information that
do not provide precise guidance on what information should be restricted
from public access. Experience shows that vague criteria of this kind
generate deep uncertainties among both scientists and officials responsible
for enforcing regulations. The inevitable effect is to stifle scientific
creativity and to weaken national security.

To develop sharp criteria for determining when to classify and/or restrict
public access to scientific information, as well as to address the other
important issues outlined below, we call for a renewed dialogue among
scientists, engineers, health researchers and policy-makers. To
stimulate such a dialogue, we present two "action points": one focused on
scientists, engineers, and health researchers and the other focused on

Action Point 1

The scientific, engineering, and health research community should work
closely with the federal government to determine which research may be
related to possible new security threats and to develop principles for
researchers in each field. Among the questions that the scientific,
engineering, and health community should address are the following:

* Are there areas of currently unclassified research that should be
classified in the new security environment?

* How can the scientific, engineering, and health community establish
systems that can monitor this issue effectively, as science and potential
threats change over time?

* Do any materials widely used in research require additional security

* How can the scientific, engineering, and health community establish
systems that will rapidly detect new potential threats from terrorism, as
well as novel opportunities for countering terrorism, that arise from new
discoveries, and convey these in an effective manner to the relevant
government agencies?
Action Point 2

The federal government should affirm and maintain the general principle of
National Security Decision Directive 189, issued in 1985:

"No restrictions may be placed upon the conduct or reporting of federally
funded fundamental research that has not received national security
classification, except as provided in applicable U.S. statutes."

In determining what research and information should be restricted from
public access, agencies should ask:

* How should we apply the principle of building "high fences around narrow
areas" in the new security environment, so as to protect critical and
well-defined information and yet permit the essential flow of scientific and
technical knowledge and human capital?

* How can such determinations be made at the outset of a research program so
as not to disrupt the research?

* How can we avoid creation of vague and poorly defined categories of
"sensitive but unclassified" information that do not provide precise
guidance on what information should be restricted from public access?

* How can the government enlist the help of a large number of the nation's
best scientists, engineers, and health researchers in counterterrorism
efforts, for both the unclassified and the classified areas of the overall

Achieving the purpose of scientific and technological activity -- to promote
the welfare of society and to strengthen national security -- will require
ingenuity from our science, engineering, and health community, as well as
from the many agencies of the federal, state,
and local governments involved in counterterrorism. The nation's safety and
the continued improvement of our standard of living depend on careful,
informed action on the part of both governments and the scientific,
engineering, and health community. A continuing, meaningful dialogue needs
to begin -- one that produces a true collaboration for the many decisions
that need to be made.

BRUCE ALBERTS, President, National Academy of Sciences
WM. A. WULF, President, National Academy of Engineering
HARVEY V. FINEBERG, President, Institute of Medicine

[NOTE: Read the accompanying background material at ]


>From National Review Online, 18 October 2002

By Pamela R. Winnick
COLUMBUS, OHIO - In what could turn out to be a stunning victory for
opponents of evolution, the Ohio Department of Education voted 17-0 on
Tuesday to pass a "resolution of intent" to adopt science standards that
would allow students to "investigate and critically analyze" Darwin's theory
of evolution. With additional hearings scheduled for November and a final
vote to be held in December, Ohio is likely to become the latest
battleground in the never-ending debate over how life began.

"The key words are 'critically analyze,'" said Stephen Meyer, director of
the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, a
Seattle-based organization that promotes alternative theories to evolution.

"The new language is a clear victory for students, parents, and scientists
in Ohio who have been calling for a 'teach the controversy' approach to
evolution,'" he added.

Meyers said, "The board should be commended for insisting that Ohio students
learn about scientific criticisms of evolutionary theory as a part of a good
science education. Such a policy represents science education at its very
best, and it promotes the academic freedom of students and teachers who want
to explore the full range of scientific views over evolution."

"Darwin's dike is finally breaking down," he said.

The vote drew ire as well as praise, however.

"It's clear that the motivation is anti-evolutionist," said Eugenie Scott,
director of the Oakland, Calif.-based National Center for Science Education,
a nonprofit organization that monitors school districts that run afoul of
the "evolution only" approach to science education. And Patricia
Princehouse, a history professor at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland,
warned: "The American Civil Liberties Union will find it unconstitutional."

In recent years, a handful of renegade scientists and academics have
launched a revolt against Darwinism. Unlike creationists, they accept that
the Earth is four billion years old and that species undergo some change
over time. What they don't accept is macroevolution, or the transition from
one species to the next - as in ape to man. Scientists in the "intelligent
design" community don't advocate any particular religion, but they do
believe that some higher intelligence - though not necessarily the God of
the Bible - created life in all its forms. Proponents of intelligent design
agree with the scientific establishment that students should be taught
evolution, but they think students should be made aware there is some
controversy over the theory.

Ohio is hardly alone in its "teach the controversy" approach. Last month,
Cobb County, located in the suburbs of Atlanta, stunned the scientific
community by allowing (though not requiring) teachers to present "disputed
views" about evolution. Though the federal government has no authority over
science education, the conference report accompanying this year's No Child
Left Behind Act notes that, "where topics are taught that may generate
controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help
students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why
such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can
profoundly affect society."

The language adopted by the Ohio board falls short of that pushed by three
anti-evolutionist members, who last week circulated an amendment that was
more forthright about allowing students to be exposed to theories that
contradict Darwin's theory of evolution - including the theory of
"intelligent design." But what the adopted language does do, according to
board member Mike Cochran, is to "allow students to understand that there
are dissenting views within the scientific community" regarding evolution.

"The earlier language was more clear cut," concedes Deborah Owens Fink, a
board member from Richfield and one of three on the board who support
intelligent design, "but this language gives some leeway" about how
evolution is taught.

Those in the scientific mainstream say there is no genuine dispute over
evolution - at least not within scientific circles. They cite such phenomena
as antibiotic-resistant bacteria as proof that species change in response to
environmental stressors, with nature weeding out the weak and favoring the
strong. They hold that students in public schools should be taught evolution
- and evolution only - and that religious views on such matters should be
restricted to the home and the church.

But the public disagrees.

According to a June poll conducted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, 82 percent
of Ohioans said they believed teachings on the origins of life should not be
restricted to evolution. The board received 20,000 letters urging that
multiple theories be taught and, in a packed room on the day of the vote,
the overwhelming majority of public speakers urged the board to be open to
theories that challenge Darwinian evolution.

Ohio's numbers mirror the national consensus. A recent Zogby poll showed
that 71 percent of Americans supported the proposition that "biology
teachers should teach Darwin's theory of evolution, but also the scientific
evidence against it." Nationally, 160 scientists recently signed a statement
calling for "careful examination" of Darwin's theory.

While the public may be clamoring for open-mindedness about evolution,
scientists argue that public opinion has no place in science education. They
compare intelligent design to such "fringe" crazes as astrology, noting that
intelligent design has never been presented in peer-reviewed scientific

"Science is not democracy," said professor Lawrence Lerner, professor
emeritus at California State University and author of a 2000 report from the
Fordham Foundation which showed that 19 of this country's states were remiss
in how they taught evolution.

"Science is not a viewpoint," said Eugenie Scott. "There's an objective
reality about science. If the Discovery Institute is really interested in
convincing scientists that their reality is false, then they would be
attending scientific meetings rather than selling their ideas in the
marketplace of political ideas."

Most members of Ohio's scientific community have argued for an
"evolution-only" approach to science education. "Intelligent design is not
based on scientific evidence," said Lynn E. Elfner, director of the Ohio
Academy of Science. And Steven A. Edinger, a physiology instructor at Ohio
University, commented: "I'm concerned that they've opened a loophole to
allow intelligent design in."

Board members conceded that the vote was "political." But, said Mike
Cochran, "if it's politics, this is in the best tradition of politics
because it's a compromise."

Conspicuously absent from the debate was Republican Governor Bob Taft, who
faces a close race this November against Democratic challenger Timothy F.
Hagan. Though Taft has reportedly been working behind the scenes for a
compromise, both sides have criticized him for refusing to take a public

Taft has reason to lay low. When the Kansas State Board of Education voted
three years ago not to require public-school students to learn about
Darwinian evolution or the Big Bang theory, Kansas became the laughingstock
of the world. Newspapers as far away as South Africa mocked America for
being backward and religiously fundamentalist, and editorialists at Kansas's
own newspapers worried that businesses would refuse to locate there because
students were so "poorly educated." In a much-publicized Republican primary
that drew attention from such liberal groups as People for the American Way
- which flew in Ed Asner to read from Inherit the Wind - three board members
were voted out of office; and the newly elected "moderate" board last year
voted to include both Darwinian evolution and the Big Bang in the Kansas
science standards.

Whether Ohio will go the way of Kansas remains to be seen.

Copyright 2002, National Review Online

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