PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 126/2002 - 4 November 2002
--------------------------------


"Knowing your space rocks can help keep world peace -- if you are
willing to share the intelligence.... Sharing information on the [impact]
hazards and any "air-bursting" events with all nuclear-capable nations
would go a long way toward ensuring the peace is kept. It is a policy
the White House and Pentagon and should vigorously pursue, and the
sooner it's in the place the better." 
--Florida Today, 2 November 2002
 

"To survive long enough to evolve any complexity, life must also
avoid being destroyed by space debris. Earth is shielded by Jupiter's
gravitational field, which slows down [and pulls in most] incoming
comets. But in most solar systems, a Jupiter-sized planet has such an
erratic orbit that it will eventually fling any nearby planet away from the
star. We may be uniquely lucky to live in such a safe neighborhood."
--Peter Ward, Boston Globe, 3 November 2002


"In Russia, the recently patented "method of presentation of visual
effects on the celestial sphere"(patent RU 2166803), where irregular
reflecting surfaces (or IRS) would be deployed in near-earth space and set
to spin. This could provide the necessary test objects to simulate
asteroids and splinters of space debris. The casting of doubles of
"wandering stars" as stand-ins for real asteroids would be an
invaluable aid to the design, calibration, and evaluation of systems
slated to "shoot" them. Then for tellurians they could be transformed
from horrific hazards in the spaceways to signalling beacons warning of
their potential threat and giving us an opportunity to avoid the
catastrophic scenario."
--Radik Kagirov, Patent Cafe, 30 October 2002

============
(1) SHARING NEO INTELLIGENCE KEY IN JITTERY WORLD
    Florida Today, 2 November 2002

(2) STARDUST SUCCESSFULLY FLIES BY ASTEROID ANNEFRANK
    Ron Baalke <baalke@jpl.nasa.gov>

(3) ASTEROID FLYBY SUCCESSFUL
    BBC News Online, 4 November 2002

(4) LASER CONFERENCE WILL ALSO FOCUS ON NEO DEFLECTION TECHNIQUES
    Huntsville News, 3 November 2002

(5) U.S. AIR FORCE FUND SOUTHERN COLORADO NEO SEARCH PROGRAMME
    The Pueblo Chieftain, 3 November 2002

(6) ASTEROIDS AS BEACONS: IMPROVING THE VERIFICATION OF SPACE COURSES
    PATENTCAFE ONLINE, 30 October 2002

(7) LONELY PLANET: OUR PLACE IN SPACE MAY BE UNIQUELY ADVANTAGEOUS TO
INTELLIGENT LIFE
    Boston Globe, 3 November 2002

(8) MOON MIGHT REVEAL FIRST LIFE ON EARTH
    Nature Science Update, 2 November 2002

(9) SPACEGUARD INDIA
    Vishnu Reddy <vishnureddy@hotmail.com
 
(10) IMPACT PAPERS AT THE ANNUAL GSA MEETING
     Michael Paine <mpaine@tpg.com.au>

(11) NAMES FOR NEW MOONS OF JUPITER
     Vinzenz Lübben <vluebben@yahoo.com>

(12) AND FINALLY: FATHERLY LOVE AND THE WONDERS OF LIFE
     Ananova, 1 November 2002


===========
(1) SHARING NEO INTELLIGENCE KEY IN JITTERY WORLD

>From Florida Today, 2 November 2002
http://www.floridatoday.com/!NEWSROOM/opedstoryA34256A.htm

Knowing your space rocks can help keep world peace -- if you are willing to
share the intelligence.

The night sky over Siberia was lit up last month by a car-sized asteroid or
some other Near Earth Object, according to the Pentagon. That's not too
unusual; asteroids routinely smash into the Earth's atmosphere.

What is unusual about astral behemoths like the one over Siberia is that
when they hit the atmosphere they often explode with the force of a nuclear
bomb -- with an accompanying flash and shock wave.

The Defense Department has the technology to monitor the skies, and can
differentiate an asteroid explosion from some rogue nation's possible
nuclear strike.

But not all nations are not as sophisticated.

Most don't have the Pentagon's satellite capability. They don't have a space
agency such as NASA, finding and tracking Near Earth Objects. They don't
have access to the 300-plus hyper-sensitive monitoring stations worldwide
that help measure atmospheric pressure waves caused by nuclear explosions --
or space rocks colliding with our atmosphere.

In a world with nations facing off in a nerve-racking test of
barely-controlled animosity -- a reality compounded by recent news that
North Korea has nuclear bombs -- this is potentially catastrophic.

A space rock in June exploded in the upper atmosphere over the
Mediterranean, resulting in an energy release comparable to the Hiroshima
atomic bomb, according to recent testimony by an Air Force officer to
Congress.

Had the asteroid exploded over India or Pakistan, nuclear powers that were
on the brink of war earlier this year, they might have mistaken it for an
attack and responded with retaliation, Air Force Brig. Gen. Simon Worden
said.

The results would have been a nightmare.

NASA has calculated the orbits of 619 Near Earth Objects and none is
currently on course to collide with Earth. But there are others hurtling
toward Earth that just haven't detected. This year alone, three previously
unknown asteroids sped past.

The closest was a mere one-third the distance to the moon.

The U.S. Space Command is developing a Natural Impact Warning Clearinghouse
that would gather information about asteroids and other Near Earth Objects.
It would classify space rocks and assess the potential damage of an
atmospheric strike.

Sharing information on these hazards and any "air-bursting" events with all
nuclear-capable nations would go a long way toward ensuring the peace is
kept. It is a policy the White House and Pentagon and should vigorously
pursue, and the sooner it's in the place the better.

With world tensions running high, it is critical that all possible
safeguards be put in place to prevent the unthinkable from happening.

Information
To learn more about asteroid and comet impact hazards, go to this NASA Web
site at http://impact.arc.nasa.gov/index.html

Copyright 2002, Forida Today

=========
(2) STARDUST SUCCESSFULLY FLIES BY ASTEROID ANNEFRANK

>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

Stardust Mission Status
November 2, 2002

NASA's Stardust spacecraft successfully completed a close flyby of asteroid
Annefrank early today as an opportunity for a full dress rehearsal of
procedures the spacecraft will use during its Jan. 2, 2004, encounter with
it primary science target, comet Wild 2.

Annefrank is about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) across. Stardust passed within
about 3,300 kilometers (2,050 miles) of the asteroid at 04:50 today,
Universal Time (8:50 p.m. Nov. 1, Pacific Standard Time). Radio signals
confirming the basic health of the spacecraft after the flyby were received
about 30 minutes later via an antenna at the Canberra, Australia, complex of
NASA's Deep Space Network, said Thomas Duxbury, project manager for Stardust
at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Stardust visually tracked the asteroid for 30 minutes as it flew by at a
relative speed of about 7 kilometers (4 miles) per second, a major goal of
this test opportunity. Although no dust was anticipated near the asteroid,
the spacecraft's dust instruments were in use as they will be at Wild 2: the
dust collector was open and the dust counter from the University of Chicago
and dust mass spectrometer from Germany were turned on.

Images and information from the flyby period are being transmitted from the
spacecraft today and through the coming week. Stardust's scientists and
engineers are analyzing the data to maximize the probability of success
during the 2004 encounter with comet Wild 2.

Stardust will bring samples of comet dust back to Earth in 2006 to help
answer fundamental questions about the origins of the solar system. The
mission's principal investigator is Prof. Donald Brownlee, an astronomer at
the University of Washington, Seattle. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver,
Colo., built and operates the Stardust spacecraft. Additional information is
available online at http://stardust.jpl.nasa.gov.

Stardust is a part of NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost, highly focused
science missions. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology
in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science,
Washington, D.C.

===========
(3) ASTEROID FLYBY SUCCESSFUL

>From BBC News Online, 4 November 2002
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2395805.stm
 
By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor 
 
The Stardust probe has successfully completed a close flyby of asteroid
Annefrank, according to US space agency (Nasa) engineers.
Although the encounter was viewed merely as an opportunity to test systems,
some useful scientific data was obtained.

The craft is to said to have performed well, tracking the small asteroid and
taking pictures.

Stardust's primary mission is a rendezvous with Comet Wild 2 in 2004, when
it will gather dust samples to return to Earth for analysis two years later.


Good health

The brief encounter with Annefrank was a chance for engineers to carry out a
full dress rehearsal of the procedures the spacecraft will use during its
2004 encounter with the comet.

Stardust passed within about 3,300 kilometres (2,050 miles) of the 4-km-wide
(2.5 miles) asteroid at 2050 GMT on Saturday.

Radio signals confirming the basic health of the spacecraft after the flyby
were received about 30 minutes later via Nasa's Deep Space Network.

Preliminary indications are that Stardust visually tracked Annefrank for
about 30 minutes as it flew past the asteroid at a relative speed of about 7
km (4 miles) per second.

Comet dust

Although no dust was anticipated near the asteroid, the spacecraft's dust
instruments were in use as they will be at Comet Wild 2.

The dust collector was open and the dust counter from the University of
Chicago and dust mass spectrometer from Germany were turned on.

Images and information from the flyby period will be transmitted from the
spacecraft through the coming week.

Stardust's scientists and engineers are analysing the data to maximize the
chances of success during the 2004 encounter with Comet Wild 2.

The probe will bring samples of comet dust back to Earth in 2006 to help
answer fundamental questions about the origins of the Solar System.

Copyright 2002, BBC

=======
(4) LASER CONFERENCE WILL ALSO FOCUS ON NEO DEFLECTION TECHNIQUES

>From Huntsville News, 3 November 2002
http://www.al.com/news/birminghamnews/index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/html_standard.xsl?/base/news/1036318516252370.xml

KENT FAULK

HUNTSVILLE. A meeting here this week will focus on how beams of energy
microwaves and lasers and such could be used to propel spaceships, deflect
asteroids or even push microscopic crafts through our veins.

Just 30 years ago, the first scientific papers began suggesting beamed
energy propulsion, said Andrew Pakhomov, the University of Alabama in
Huntsville researcher who is co-chairman of the First International
Symposium on Beamed Energy Propulsion.

"Now we are talking about hardware devices that work on these principles,"
he said.

The conference, which runs Tuesday through Thursday at UAH, is drawing more
than 100 researchers from about 10 countries, Pakhomov said. They'll discuss
their ideas, but they'll also talk about creating a program to support their
work, including a research network among facilities with high-powered
lasers, Pakhomov said.

Among the speakers, Jonathan Campbell of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
in Huntsville will discuss using lasers to deflect asteroids, meteoroids and
comets that might threaten Earth.

Takahashi Yabe of the Tokyo Institute of Technology is scheduled to talk
about how his lab used a laser to power a paper airplane. He and other
Japanese scientists also are scheduled discuss how X-rays could one day be
focused to propel "micro-ships" through the human body, Pakhomov said.

Much of the UAH symposium, however, will be focused on using beamed energy
to propel spacecraft, an idea on which Marshall is working.

Researchers believe lasers eventually could be used to launch spacecraft
into space or to push them on their way after they reach space. Beaming up
energy means spacecraft wouldn't have to carry as much fuel.

Pakhomov hopes to build a small experimental vehicle in the next year to
test whether short laser pulses can propel it in a vacuum tube.

Researchers also will hear from Alabama natives James and Gregory Benford
about next year's experiment attempting to push a large sail in space with a
half-million-watt microwave beam from Earth.

"This is the first time anyone has attempted to beam energy to an object in
space in an attempt to accelerate it," said James Benford, president of
Microwave Sciences Inc. in California. His twin brother, Gregory Benford, is
a professor at the University of California Irvine. The two physicists are
natives of Fairhope and principal investigators in the Cosmos-1 experiment,
a project of the Planetary Society.

An exciting `shoot':

Next year's experiment will be aboard a converted Russian intercontinental
ballistic missile that will be launched from a Russian submarine. Once in
orbit, blades on the spacecraft will fan out to form a sail 100 feet across.
As it orbits about 500 miles from Earth, researchers will try to steer the
microwave beam from the Deep Space Network in California onto the sail.

Microwave dishes at that site normally are used to communicate with deep
space probes. "The people at the deep space network are excited about it.
They've never been asked to shoot at an object," James Benford said.

An accelerometer on the sail will tell scientists how much the microwave
beam was able to accelerate the sail.

The experiment could prove the concept, but scientists already are saying
they could develop more powerful microwave beams to push spacecraft along at
one-tenth the speed of light, or about 18,600 mph, James Benford said.

At that speed, it would take a probe about 42 years to reach Alpha Centauri,
the star system nearest our solar system, James Benford said. With the
velocity of current rockets, the trip would take about 40,000 years, he
said.

Beamed propulsion is the most near-term prospect for humans to reach other
stars, James Benford said. "I think it is reasonable to think we could have
probes at the nearby stars at the end of the century," he said.

Copyright 2002, Huntsville News

=============
(5) U.S. AIR FORCE FUND SOUTHERN COLORADO NEO SEARCH PROGRAMME

>From The Pueblo Chieftain, 3 November 2002
http://www.chieftain.com/sunday/news/index/article/4

By KIRSTEN ORSINI-MEINHARD

Bill Brown is going to save the world.

But only if he's looking through the new Southern Colorado Observatory
telescope and happens to see an asteroid flying toward earth.

At that point, the University of Southern Colorado assistant professor will
be able to inform all of Pueblo and the rest of the planet that they have
minimal hours until destruction, just like in the movie "Deep Impact."

Until Saturday, when the new Observatory opened to the public, this
technology wasn't available to Brown or anyone else south of Colorado
Springs.

"We're going to be looking for objects a half-mile in diameter," Brown said,
standing in the dome located on a hill above the Nature Center.

"We're actually literally hoping to save the world here."

About two years ago, Brown - an electronic engineering technology professor
- had no idea that he might have the opportunity to protect all of mankind
from sudden disaster.

It was then he and fellow USC staffers applied for a $200,000 grant, that
was recently awarded to the university from the U.S. Air Force Office of
Scientific Research.

One of the reasons the school qualified for the grant, Brown said, is
because the department honors diversity and USC's student body is largely
Hispanic.

"We want to be a resource here for Southern Colorado," he said.

The telescope is 22 inches in diameter and 25 years old - although Brown
said it's better than new since it's been refurbished.

By studying the sky through its lens, users will be able to spot objects
moving close to the earth, like asteroids or comets.

"This equipment will greatly add to the ability of our students to realize
their dreams," said Kristina Proctor, dean of USC's college of science and
math.

Proctor, USC President Ronald Applbaum and other university officials spoke
at a presentation Saturday afternoon before the observatory was presented to
about 50 interested community members.

It's not just astronomers and university students who will be able to use
the new equipment, though. The general public and elementary school students
studying the solar system will also get a chance to gaze through the
telescope during viewing sessions.

When retired school teacher Barbara Leonard taught science at Heritage
Elementary, her students were able to use a star lab and visit the
planetarium.

But they didn't have access to a real telescope.

"Now your kids get to do these star findings," she said. "Teachers will love
this."

Copyright 2002, The Pueblo Chieftain

===========
(6) ASTEROIDS AS BEACONS: IMPROVING THE VERIFICATION OF SPACE COURSES

>From PATENTCAFE ONLINE, 30 October 2002
http://www.patentcafe.com/inventors_cafe/invention_article.asp?id=652

"It is necessary for us to learn from others' mistakes. You will not live
long enough to make them all yourself."
Admiral Hyman George Rickover

by Radik Kagirov
 
The Earth is sometimes likened to a big ship. If this is so then stony
asteroids are the equivalent to dangerous reefs, and icy-stone comets to
icebergs. Sometimes they change their drifting courses without warning, or
emerge unexpectedly from the depths of space. Perhaps one of them will some
day collide with an ocean liner or crash into the earth. Though the risk is
low, such a collision could cause catastrophic results with far-reaching
outcomes. But the play of waves reflected by rocks could help tackle the
potential threat.

Advance identification of potentially devastating asteroids could allow us
to avoid them - by knocking them off course, or "torpedoing" them. "Night
watchers" could perform lookout duties for large near-Earth objects:
worldwide monitoring by radar and optical telescopes have already been
established. But the accuracy of powerful eyepieces could be sensitised to
better perceive these heavenly bodies by measuring their variable aspects.

The collected data of an observed object - its shape, spin, composition, and
surface details - must be deduced from the meager information gleaned from
reflected rays. An important factor here is that these bodies are by nature
irregular, non-spherical and extremely pockmarked. As a result of their
rotation, they re-radiate solar energy non-uniformly, a little like
flash-light beacons. A case in point: The brightness of the Kuiper Belt
Object 1998 SM165 varies by approximately 50% over a period of four hours.
This potato-like shape (600 x 360 km) revolves every 8 hrs, pointing
alternately its broad and narrow aspects toward Earth. Researchers suspect
that the shine of some asteroids varies because they are actually double
asteroids. For example, the binary object 1999 KW4 is known to be an
asteroid-moon pair, one space rock orbiting another at a distance of 1.5 km.
Moreover, many of observed objects are expected to be less like solid rocks
and more like loosely bound "rubble piles".

To increase the efficiency of observing remote objects we have to puzzle out
this "kaleidoscope" of weakly blinking reflections from diverse bodies. Such
a surprising variety of kinematic and optical characteristics impedes
attempts to gain more specific data about potentially threatening objects,
and requires precise calibration of monitoring systems. Additional research
is necessary to accomplish this, and trial experiments with artificial "test
asteroids" are in the pipeline.

In Russia, the recently patented "method of presentation of visual effects
on the celestial sphere"(patent RU 2166803), where irregular reflecting
surfaces (or IRS) would be deployed in near-earth space and set to spin.
This could provide the necessary test objects to simulate asteroids and
splinters of space debris. As the positions and characteristics of IRS
objects would be known exactly they could allow us to precisely determine
how effectively ground and near-earth tracking systems can determine their
parameters by observation. In turn this should enable these instruments to
be made more accurate and to measure the size, shape, composition, and
movement of asteroids with substantially reduced margins of error.

IRS designs could be bulky to adequately mimic real asteroids and would need
to be unfolded or inflated once in space. Experience gained by the military
in the design of balloons to simulate mock warheads could be beneficially
applied to this objective.

The casting of doubles of "wandering stars" as stand-ins for real asteroids
would be an invaluable aid to the design, calibration, and evaluation of
systems slated to "shoot" them. Then for tellurians they could be
transformed from horrific hazards in the spaceways to signalling beacons
warning of their potential threat and giving us an opportunity to avoid the
catastrophic scenario.

Copyright 2002, Patent Cafe

===========
(7) LONELY PLANET: OUR PLACE IN SPACE MAY BE UNIQUELY ADVANTAGEOUS TO
INTELLIGENT LIFE

>From Boston Globe, 3 November 2002
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/307/focus/Lonely_planet+.shtml

Scientists debate the existence of intelligent life beyond Cambridge

By Jascha Hoffman, 11/3/2002

HERE ARE ABOUT 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, each with
hundreds of billions of stars. What are the chances that there's any
interesting life out there?

In 1961, astronomer Frank Drake proposed a simple answer: We can assume that
some stars have planets, some planets host single-celled life forms, some of
those life forms survive to develop intelligence, and some intelligent
beings leave an electromagnetic trace before they expire.

Carl Sagan once estimated that in the Milky Way alone there must be over a
million detectable civilizations. Today, Drake sticks to his original
estimate of 10,000.

Peter Ward is sick of these loose overestimates. ''You can't turn on the TV
without seeing aliens,'' the co-author of ''Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is
Uncommon in the Universe'' (Copernicus Books, 2000) complained to a
Cambridge auditorium packed with astronomers, UFO enthusiasts, and other
onlookers last week. Ward was facing off against Harvard paleontologist
Charles Marshall at a debate hosted by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for
Astrophysics. In 1996, Ward and Marshall worked together on a paper arguing
that a major drop in sea level, in addition to the infamous asteroid, had
wiped out the dinosaurs. But when it comes to the distribution of
intelligent life in the universe, they couldn't agree less.

"Maybe I shouldn't count myself as intelligent life," quipped Ward, a
professor of geology at the University of Washington. ''The first stop on my
book tour was a science fiction convention. A little girl told me I was the
devil for taking the aliens away.'' The Australia-born Marshall, for his
part, retains the taste for discovery that propelled him from childhood
dino-mania to a career in evolutionary biology. ''Life is capable of more
trajectories than physics or astronomy might predict,'' he said. ''I don't
know if life is teeming out there. But it could be.''

Ward and Marshall agree that the universe is full of microbes. Recent
studies have shown that interstellar clouds can generate amino acids, the
building blocks of proteins. Meteors falling to earth usually contain a
variety of organic compounds. And cells can survive under extremes of
temperature, pressure, and pH, and may be able to travel from planet to
planet on comets.

But to flourish, even simple life needs liquid water, and this limits it to
planets in the habitable zone: far enough from a star not to be boiling, but
close enough not to be freezing. And to get complex life - anything more
intricate than a flatworm - it seems that you need, first of all, a decent
atmosphere.

Here on Earth, it took 3 billion years of steady temperatures to build up
enough oxygen to support animals. The fact that our planet lies in a
habitable zone does not itself guarantee such steadiness. Ward thinks that
plate tectonics also do us a great service: When one plate slides under
another, an updraft of magma brings carbon dioxide to the surface,
eventually warming up the atmosphere through the greenhouse effect. But once
the atmosphere gets warmer, excess carbon dioxide is removed by the calcium
in the magma, and it gets cooler again. ''For billions of years, we've been
bouncing around in a very fine temperature range because of the thermostat
of plate tectonics,'' he said. ''How common is that in the universe? We
don't know.''

To survive long enough to evolve any complexity, Ward went on, life must
also avoid being destroyed by space debris. Earth is shielded by Jupiter's
gravitational field, which slows down incoming comets. But in most solar
systems, a Jupiter-sized planet has such an erratic orbit that it will
eventually fling any nearby planet away from the star. We may be uniquely
lucky to live in such a safe neighborhood.

Marshall is unimpressed by scenarios that emphasize life's fragility. "The
question is, how hard is it to sterilize a planet?" he asked. In the total
devastation following the Mount Saint Helens eruption, biologists were
staggered to find plants protected by animals that fell on them. Even at
Hiroshima, a few people survived at close range to the explosion. ''We
should expect such surprises,'' said Marshall. ''Life will find a way.''

Life also makes its own way. Take the Cambrian explosion of 445 million
years ago, when a host of scuttling sea creatures burst into a world that
hadn't seen much more than worms. What accounts for such rapid evolutionary
change? ''If you have a bunch of plant life, and someone is able to develop
a few genes for jaws, then everyone had better watch out,'' said Marshall.
It's no surprise that eyes and legs, crucial for hiding from predators,
appeared at the same time. ''With an increase in selective pressures,
complexity is bound to arise. You don't need special conditions.''

But Peter Ward was not convinced. ''If complexity is inevitable, then what
was going on for the three billion years between the first cell and the
Cambrian explosion?'' Just a slow and steady buildup of oxygen due to the
presence of simple life-forms and liquid water. ''Without the thermostat of
plate tectonics, the right conditions just don't last very long,'' he said.

Of course, there may be more to life than what we can guess now. ''We have
some idea of what conditions were necessary for us to evolve,'' Marshall
said, ''but we don't know if they're the only possible ones.'' While Ward
prefers to limit the discussion to life as we know it - carbon-based
organisms with DNA - Marshall thinks we should expect the unexpected.

Some audience members found this approach a bit too vague. ''One data point
is better than none,'' one said. ''Can you quantify the problem?''

Many scientists are working on it. Astrobiology, defined broadly as the
study of life in the universe, is now serious science. NASA and the National
Science Foundation invest tens of millions of dollars every year in it.
Astronomers search for new planets, geologists prospect for evidence of
water on already known planets, and biochemists piece together the origins
of life on earth. Still, it's mostly theory for now. And hitchhiking to the
nearest star still takes 300,000 years.

''The fact that neither of us has any numbers, shows that we're going on
next to nothing,'' said Marshall. ''But my sense of faith is that the
universe is so unimaginably rich that it will turn out that life is common,
and that scientific reasoning, while powerful, can lock us into a narrow
view of what is possible.''

Jascha Hoffman is a writer based in Boston

This story ran on page D1 of the Boston Globe on 11/3/2002.

Copyright 2002, The Boston Globe

=============
(8) MOON MIGHT REVEAL FIRST LIFE ON EARTH

>From Nature Science Update, 2 November 2002
http://www.nature.com/nsu/021028/021028-13.html

Lunar rocks retain memories long since lost down here.

TOM CLARKE

The surface of the moon is spattered with over 8 million tonnes of the
Earth, astronomers have estimated. A mission to collect and study this
planetary shrapnel could provide unique insights into the origins of life
and the planets, they say1.

Asteroids and comets have pelted the Earth, Mars and Venus since the Solar
System formed. The barrage peaked during a period known as the Late Heavy
Bombardment, around 3.9 billion years ago.

The moon "witnessed and recorded all this", says John Armstrong of the
University of Washington, Seattle. Our companion formed in a massive
collision between the Earth and a Mars-sized object around 4.5 billion years
ago.

Armstrong and his colleagues estimated the impacts on the Earth by measuring
the number and size of craters on the Moon. They then calculated how much of
the Earth these collisions would have hurled into space, and the probability
that this rubble hit the Moon.

A 100-square-kilometre patch of the Moon contains about 20 tonnes of Earth
fragments, the team reckons. The same area contains around 180 kilograms of
Mars and 80 of Venus.

Collecting pieces of the three planets would let us compare their origins.
"It could end all the speculation about what the early planets were like,"
says Armstrong.

Reach for the Moon

The origins of life on Earth are hotly debated, partly because there are no
rocks older than about 3.8 billion years. Erosion and continental drift have
wiped the slate clean over and over.

But the Moon has remained largely untouched - except by asteroids - since it
formed. Pieces of the Earth littering its surface would be of all ages,
although most would date from the Late Heavy Bombardment, says Armstrong.
They could reveal the chemical signatures of life, and possibly fossilized
bacteria.

A cheap, robotic foray such as the European Space Agency's SMART-1 mission,
due for launch in 2003, "could achieve tonnes of great science", says
Armstrong.

Rocks would have hit the moon at very high speeds, and fragments larger than
a grain of sand would be rare, comments Phil Bland, who studies meteorites
at Imperial College, London.

But the material would undoubtedly be there. "It's certainly worth a go,"
Bland says. "You can get a hell of a lot of information from even a
one-millimetre grain of stuff."

The form of carbon found in the Earth fragments would indicate whether they
once hosted early life, says Bland.
 
References
Armstrong, J. C., Wells, L. E. & Gonzalez, G. Rummaging through Earth's
attic for remains of ancient life. Icarus, 160, 183 - 196, (2002). |Article|


© Nature News Service / Macmillan Magazines Ltd 2002

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

(9) SPACEGUARD INDIA
 
>From Vishnu Reddy <vishnureddy@hotmail.com
 
Hello Sir,

Nice to see some Indian professional astronomer make some noise about
asteroids in this country (CCNet, 125/2002). Not sure how far his calls
would be answered but amateur astronomers are sure on the job here in India.
Thanks to the help of Jay Tate, we are setting up Spaceguard India this
year. A website is under construction and will come online this month. The
main focus of the website will be on the media and we are also planning for
a media center here in New Delhi. Apart from this a small observatory with a
.35 cm SCT and a front-illuminated imager will be set up by the year end.
Funds for the observatory were raised privately here in India. Though the
instrument and the skies here don't permit us to do much of NEO follow-up we
intend to concentrate on photometry and public education.

Hope Indian professional astronomers catch up with the amateurs.

Vishnu Vardhan
New Delhi, India

=============
(10) IMPACT PAPERS AT THE ANNUAL GSA MEETING

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

Dear Benny

Here are some relevant items from the GSA meeting held this week regards

Michael Paine

http://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2002AM/finalprogram/session_2932.htm
Session No. 178
                                                                    
Tuesday, October 29, 2002

1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Colorado Convention Center: A102/104/106
T89. Impact Stratigraphy
David T. King and Michael Robert Rampino, Presiding
     
178-1 1:30 PM
THE STRATIGRAPHIC RECORD OF IMPACT EVENTS: KOEBERL, Christian,

178-2
EVIDENCE FOR A COMET IMPACT TRIGGER FOR THE PALEOCENE/EOCENE THERMAL MAXIMUM
AND CARBON ISOTOPE EXCURSION: KENT, Dennis V.1, CRAMER, Benjamin S.2, LANCI,
Luca2, WANG, Daming3, WRIGHT, James
D.4, and VAN DER VOO, Rob5,

178-3
LARGE-IMPACT TRIGGERED TSUNAMI DEPOSITS IN THE DEEP SEA: EXAMPLES FROM THE
65MA CHICXULUB CRATER AND 2.5-2.6GA HAMERSLEY BASIN: SMIT, Jan...

178-4IMPACT SPHERULE LAYERS IN EARLY PRECAMBRIAN SUCCESSIONS: SIMONSON,
Bruce M.,

178-5
EJECTA VERSUS CRATERING RECORD ON EARTH: CLAEYS, Philippe,

178-6
ARGENTINE IMPACT RECORD: SCHULTZ, Peter H.1,...

178-7
A POSSIBLE SOURCE CRATER FOR THE ELTANIN IMPACT LAYER: GLATZ, Christy A.1,
ABBOTT, Dallas ...

178-8
BOTTLE GREEN MICROTEKTITES FROM THE SOUTH TASMAN RISE (ODP SITE 1169):
EVIDENCE FOR AN IMPACT EVENT NEAR THE MIOCENE/PLIOCENE BOUNDARY: KELLY,
Daniel Clay,...

178-9
PROBABLE SHOCKED QUARTZ AS EVIDENCE FOR AN UPPER EOCENE IMPACT HORIZON IN
COASTAL PLAIN STRATA, WARREN COUNTY, GEORGIA, U.S.A: HARRIS, R. Scott1,
DUNCAN, Mack...

178-10
THE DISTRIBUTION OF UNMELTED IMPACT EJECTA ASSOCIATED WITH THE UPPER EOCENE
CLINOPYROXENE-BEARING (CPX) SPHERULE LAYER: LIU, Shaobin,

178-11
DISTRIBUTION, COMPOSITION, AND ORIGIN OF THE CHICXULUB SPHEROID BED IN
SOUTHERN QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO AND NORTHERN BELIZE: POPE, Kevin O...

178-12
CARBONATE EJECTA SPHERULES IN CRETACEOUS-TERTIARY BOUNDARY DEPOSITS, BRAZOS
RIVER, TEXAS: YANCEY, Thomas E.

178-13
A TALE OF TWO BOLIDES: COMPARING THE CRETACEOUS-PALEOGENE (K-T) AND NEWLY
IDENTIFIED MIDDLE DEVONIAN EIFELIAN-GIVETIAN IMPACTS: ELLWOOD, Brooks B.

178-14
CHICXULUB AND SUDBURY: COMPARISON OF IMPACT MELT ABUNDANCES AND PROPOSED
EXPLANATION: KIEFFER, Susan W.,

178-15
METEORITE IMPACT SHOCK DEFORMATION FABRIC ELEMENTS IN THE TRIASSIC SHINARUMP
CONGLOMERATE, NORTHERN ARIZONA: BILODEAU, William L.,

=============
(11) NAMES FOR NEW MOONS OF JUPITER

>From Vinzenz Lübben <vluebben@yahoo.com>

IAUC #7998 (URL: http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iauc/07900/07998.html) lists the
names for 11 moons of Jupiter discovered in 1999 and 2000. These names
maintain the traditional a
and e groups as well as creating a new group, o, for prograde-revolving
satellites at around 7 million km from Jupiter.

Jupiter XVII Callirrhoe = S/1999 J 1
Jupiter XVIII Themisto = S/1975 J 1 = S/2000 J 1
Jupiter XIX Magaclite = S/2000 J 8
Jupiter XX Taygete = S/2000 J 9
Jupiter XXI Chaldene = S/2000 J 10
Jupiter XXII Harpalyke = S/2000 J 5
Jupiter XXIII Kalyke = S/2000 J 2
Jupiter XXIV Iocaste = S/2000 J 3
Jupiter XXV Erinome = S/2000 J 4
Jupiter XXVI Isonoe = S/2000 J 6
Jupiter XXVII Praxidike = S/2000 J 7

===========
(12) AND FINALLY: FATHERLY LOVE AND THE WONDERS OF LIFE

>From Ananova, 1 November 2002
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_700634.html?menu=news.scienceanddiscovery

A Sri Lankan widower has attracted the attention of doctors for his ability
to breastfeed his young daughter.

Mr B Wijeratne, from Walapanee, near Colombo, took to breastfeeding her soon
after his wife died three months ago while giving birth to their second
child.

His elder daughter, 18-month-old Nisansala Madhushani, was so used to her
mother's milk that she would not take formula milk.

Mr Wijeratne told Sinhalese language newspaper Lankadeepa: "My child would
reject the powdered milk I tried feeding through a bottle.

"Unable to see her cry I offered my breast. That's when I discovered that I
could breastfeed her."

The 38-year-old's ability to produce milk was noticed by doctors at the
government hospital in the town of Kurunegala.

Dr Kamal Jayasinghe, a spokesman for the hospital, said: "Men with a
hyperactive prolactine hormone can produce breast milk."

His younger daughter, who has still to be named, has taken to powdered milk.

Copyright 2002, Ananova

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