PLEASE NOTE:


*

CCNet 114/2001 - 6 November 2001
================================


"I read with great interest the new discovery in Iraq. I have found
masses of microspherules in Swedish peat bogs in levels dating back to
c. 2200 BC. These spherules are similar to spherules I have found near
the Tunguska epicentre this summer. I thought that this might be something
to point out to the other list members."
--Lars Franzén, Earth Sciences Centre, Goteborg University,
Sweden


"The items about a possible impact crater in southern Iraq are
intriguing but such an impact by itself is, I suggest, nothing to get too
excited about. If confirmed it would indicate an impactor with a diameter
around 150m. The environmental effects would probably be no worse than
than recent volcanic explosions - the worse of which was the 1815 Tamboro
explosion that probably resulted in the "year without summer". As I
understand it, with a 150m asteroid/comet the direct devastation would
have extended out to a radius of about 100km and ignition from the fireball
somewhat less. Moderately destructive blast wave effects and thick
dust and debris would reach several hundred km. Dust might have caused some
minor global cooling and perhaps (due mainly to the impact with saltwater)
some temporary thinning of the ozone layer (a dip was even detected with
the Tunguska event in 1908). By themselves these hardly seem reasons for
collapse of several civilisations.
The possibility that this was one of many impact events, due to a
bombardment by comet fragments around this time, is a different matter."
--Michael Paine, 5 November 2001


(1) LEONID METEOR SHOWER COULD BE ONE OF BEST IN HISTORY
    SpaceDaily, 6 November 2001

(2) SUBARU APPROACHES ORIGIN OF COMETS
    Ron Baalke <baalke@zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

(3) NEAR EARTH OBJECTS: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL UK ASTRONOMY AND SPACE
SCIENCE
    Duncan Steel <D.I.Steel@salford.ac.uk>

(4) WHAT DRIVES THE COSTS OF FLOOD DISASTERS
    Andrew Yee <ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca>

(5) UK SPACE HISTORY, EDUCATION AND POLICY
    Dave Wright <BROHP2@aol.com >

(6) MORE EVIDENCE OF IMPACT EVENT 2200BC?
    Lars Franzén <lars@gvc.gu.se>

(7) WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL WITH UNCONFIRMED DATA
    Ian Lyon <ilyon@fs1.ge.man.ac.uk>

(8) POSSIBLE BRONZE AGE IMPACT CRATER
    Michael Paine <mpaine@tpgi.com.au>

(9) MULTIPLE CONGRATULATIONS
    Mike Darancette <mhdaran@pop.mindspring.com>

(10) THREAT OF SMALL IMPACTORS
     Jens Kieffer-Olsen <dstdba@post4.tele.dk>

(11) HELP TO TURN PIE IN THE SKY INTO A REAL MEAL
     Andy Nimmo <andy-nimmo@ntlworld.com>

============
(1) LEONID METEOR SHOWER COULD BE ONE OF BEST IN HISTORY

>From SpaceDaily, 6 November 2001
http://www.spacer.com/news/leonid-01b.html

San Francisco - Nov 6, 2001

In the wee morning hours of Sunday, November 18, the Leonid meteor shower
might intensify into a dazzling meteor storm, with "shooting stars"
continuously blazing trails across the night sky.
Viewers across the United States are perfectly positioned to take advantage
of the storm, which could be among the most spectacular sky events of the
21st century according to the latest scientific predictions.

The peak in shower activity will occur between 4:00 and 6:00 a.m. EST, or
1:00 and 3:00 a.m. PST on Sunday morning, November 18. "During the peak,
people viewing under clear and dark skies could see meteors shooting across
the sky at a rate of 1,000 to 2,000 per hour, with flurries of one meteor
per second at the peak of the storm," says Robert Naeye, Editor of Mercury
magazine, which is published in San Francisco by the Astronomical Society of
the Pacific (ASP).

During the predicted storm, Earth will plow through a trail of tiny dust
particles left behind by Comet Tempel- Tuttle during its passage through the
inner solar system in the year 1767.

This comet rounds the Sun every 33.25 years, shedding dust particles as it
is warmed by sunlight. Meteor showers occur when Earth passes through debris
left behind by comets. But meteor storms occur when Earth passes through
particularly dense ribbons of comet debris.

"During a typical Leonid meteor shower, an experienced observer might see
about 10 to 15 meteors per hour. But during a storm, that rate climbs to
1,000 or more meteors per hour," says Naeye.

"This year's Leonid storm might peak at a rate of up to 2,000 per hour,
although it's difficult to pin down a precise number. The rates will rise
and fall over a period of two hours."

"Of course, these numbers depend on the accuracy of our predictions. But the
predictions have been remarkably accurate in recent years," says ASP member
Dr. Peter Jenniskens, an astronomer and meteor researcher at the SETI
Institute in Mountain View, California, and author of an in-depth article
about meteor science in the November/December 2001 issue of Mercury
magazine.

This year's Leonid display has two added bonuses. The Moon will rise during
daylight and set six hours before the peak, so the Moon's glare will not
obscure fainter meteors. In addition, the peak will occur on a Sunday
morning, so many people can sleep in after a long night of skygazing.

If one mentally traces back the trajectory of Leonid meteors, they appear to
originate in the constellation Leo (the Lion). Leo rises around midnight, so
the shower will be minimal in the hours immediately after sunset. But it
will pick up considerably as the night progresses.

The entire United States should enjoy a good shower. Peak meteor rates
should occur around 5:00 a.m. EST, 4:00 a.m. CST, 3:00 a.m. MST, and 2:00
a.m. PST. Observers in eastern Asia and the Western Pacific will also enjoy
a storm approximately 8 hours later (in the morning hours of November 19,
local time), according to the forecasts. For the latest predictions for your
local area, visit this website from NASA's Ames Research Center.

Earth will encounter another dense ribbon of Comet Tempel-Tuttle debris in
2002, but under a full Moon. After that, it's over for nearly a century.
"It's now or never," stresses Naeye.

"People should take advantage of this year's Leonid storm, because
astronomers don't think we'll see another storm like this one until the year
2099. We will probably never see a better meteor shower in our lifetimes."

When you see meteors, popularly known as "shooting stars," you're seeing
interplanetary dust particles burning up in the atmosphere at altitudes of
about 60 to 70 miles. A typical comet dust particle --known as a meteoroid--
is only about the size of a grain of sand or a pebble when it enters the
atmosphere.

Larger chunks of comet debris, perhaps up to the sizes of basketballs,
sometimes light up the sky as they burn up, which are events called
fireballs or bolides. Leonids enter the atmosphere at 160,000 miles per
hour, making them the fastest meteors of the year.

"Shooting stars are for every man, woman, and child to see, and it doesn't
take any special equipment to see them," says Jane Houston Jones, a member
of the ASP Board of Directors and an experienced meteor observer. "Most
Leonid meteors are faint, so you'll see more of them if you are far away
from city light pollution.

"If you can't get to a dark site, then control your own light pollution by
turning out as many lights as you can control. Then sit back in a lawn
chair, bundle up in a blanket, and at a little before midnight local time,
face east. You'll see the backwards question-mark shape of Leo's mane
rising, and that's where the meteors will appear to radiate over the next
few hours."

Meteors are beautiful sky events for skygazers. But for scientists, meteors
are fascinating in their own right. "Meteor science involves more than just
predicting storms. We also want to learn about the meteoroids themselves,
which in turn tell us a great deal about the parent comet," says Jenniskens.

"We also want to learn more how meteors may have brought critical organic
material to Earth, perhaps leading to the origin and prevalence of life on
our planet."

Copyright 2001, SpaceDaily

=============
(2) SUBARU APPROACHES ORIGIN OF COMETS

>From Ron Baalke <baalke@zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

http://www.subaru.naoj.org/Science/press_release/2001/11/index.html

Subaru Approaches Origin of Comets ---
First Estimate of the Formation Temperature of Ammonia Ice in a Comet

National Astronomical Observatory Of Japan
November 1, 2001

Observations made with the High-Dispersion Spectrograph (HDS) of Subaru
Telescope have, for the first time, allowed astronomers to measure the
formation temperature of ammonia ice in a comet. The temperature of 28 +/- 2
Kelvin (about -245oC or -410oF) suggests that this comet, Comet LINEAR
(C/1999 S4), was formed between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus. These
observations provide us with not only direct evidence of the environment in
which the comet was born, but also establish brand new methods for probing
the origin of comets.

Comet LINEAR was discovered in 1999 by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid
Research project (LINEAR), operated by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Figure 1
shows two images of Comet LINEAR obtained by
Subaru Telescope in 2000 (see Latest News on July 24th, 2000). A team of
researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the HDS
group, and the Gunma Astronomical Observatory made spectroscopic
observations of Comet LINEAR on July 5th, 2000, during the commissioning
phase of HDS, when the comet was bright.

The team concentrated on the emission lines produced when NH2 molecules
which have been previously excited, lose some energy and emit light at a
series of characteristic wavelengths (Figure 2). Previous studies indicate
that NH2, which consists of one nitrogen and two hydrogen atoms, is produced
when the powerful Solar UV rays free a hydrogen atom from the ammonia (NH3)
gas which is constantly boiling off the comet. The emission lines of the NH2
molecules should therefore contain information on their parent ammonia
molecules.

Molecules like NH2 and NH3 which contain two or three hydrogen atoms are
classified as either "ortho" or "para", depending on whether the quantum
mechanical spins of the hydrogen atoms are aligned or not. The ortho-to-para
ratio strongly depends on the physical environment, and would have been
preserved when the molecules were confined into the icy cometary nuclei. The
observed ratio can therefore reveal the temperature at the time the ice was
formed.

Molecules in the ortho and para states emit radiation at wavelengths which
are very close together, but subtly different due to the differences in
alignment between the spins of the hydrogen atoms. The resolving power of
HDS is high enough to separate these lines and determine how much light is
being emitted by molecules in the ortho and para states. Using code written
by Mr. Hideyo Kawakita of the Gunma Astronomical Observatory, the strengths
of the emission lines from NH2 could be modeled and compared with the
observations to determine the ratio of ortho to para molecules in Comet
LINEAR. Furthermore, the team investigated the ortho-to-para ratio of the
parent NH3 molecules and estimated that the formation temperature of the
ammonia ice to be 28 +/- 2 Kelvin, which suggests that Comet LINEAR was
formed between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus in the primordial Solar
System nebula.

Until now, the formation temperature had only been determined for water ice
in comets, and this is the first time that it has been measured for another
molecule. Dr. Jun-ichi Watanabe of the National Astronomical Observatory of
Japan, and a member of the team who performed this research, says "The brand
new methods using NH2 molecules have great potential for studying the origin
of comets. I have a high expectation for future results obtained by these
methods, especially for short-period comets which are thought to have a
different origin from long-period comets such as Comet LINEAR."

This result has been published in Science, November 2nd, 2001 Issue.

* Figure 1: Two images of Comet LINEAR observed in 2000 with Subaru
Telescope (Latest News on July 24th, 2000)

* Figure 2: A Comparison between the spectrum observed with HDS and the
spectrum simulated with the model calculations.

==============
(3) NEAR EARTH OBJECTS: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL UK ASTRONOMY AND SPACE
SCIENCE

>From Duncan Steel <D.I.Steel@salford.ac.uk>

Dear Benny,

Mark Bailey and I are responsible for organising a Royal Astronomical
Society (RAS) Discussion Meeting, to be held at the Geological Society on
Piccadilly on Friday December 14th, covering the topic: "NEOs: An
Opportunity for all UK Astronomy and Space Science"

The meeting runs from 10:30 (coffee from 10:00) until 15:30, and all
interested parties would be welcome to attend. The Discussion Meeting is
followed by the main RAS meeting of the month, running from 16:00, and there
will also be two talks about NEOs at that meeting. We will
distribute a full programme of talks and posters within a few weeks. Further
information is also available at: http://www.ras.org.uk/meetings.htm

Although the programme for oral presentations at the Discussion Meeting on
NEOs is now full, it is possible for posters to be presented as part of this
meeting. If anyone would like to give a poster, they are invited to contact
me within the next week or so with a title plus author list.

Duncan Steel
D.I.Steel@salford.ac.uk

==============
(4) WHAT DRIVES THE COSTS OF FLOOD DISASTERS

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

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Contact:
Anatta
UCAR Communications
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Telephone: (303) 497-8604
Fax: (303) 497-8610
E-mail: anatta@ucar.edu

Writer: Zhenya Gallon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 2, 2001

2001-28

What Drives the Costs of Flood Disasters?

BOULDER -- Politics, more than climate, influences the federal costs of
flood disasters, according to a new study. States are far more likely to
receive federal funds through a presidential disaster declaration in years
when the president is running for reelection, say researchers at the
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the Cooperative
Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at
Boulder. The team identified a 46% increase in disaster declarations during
presidential reelection years, independent of the amount of precipitation or
flood damage and whether the president is Republican or Democrat.

NCAR associate scientist Mary Downton and University of Colorado professor
Roger Pielke Jr. report their findings in the November issue of the journal
Natural Hazards Review.

"The declaration rates depend on the individual president -- there's no
general distinction along party lines," says Downton. Ronald Reagan stands
out dramatically, she notes, with the fewest disaster declarations, once the
damage and precipitation effects are factored out. There was more damage
from flooding during the Clinton administration than during the first Bush
administration, and the number of disaster declarations under Clinton was
higher. After removing damage and precipitation effects, the researchers
found that Clinton's declaration numbers were about the same as Bush's.

"We certainly see climate and damage varying from year to year," notes
Pielke. "But if a goal of national policy is to reduce the federal costs of
flooding disasters, then an effective way to do that is to focus on the
politics and policies of disaster declarations."

The team notes that congressional and administrative guidelines for
presidential declarations have not changed substantially since the
authorizing legislation in 1950; their language allows presidents
considerable discretion to respond in the wake of a disaster.

"Given the lack of explicit guidelines, you have to expect that individual
discretion is going to enter into presidential declarations, and that's what
our data show," says Downton.

"Our findings are cause for optimism," says Pielke, "since policy is subject
to human control. We do have some choices." He adds that understanding the
relationship of politics and climate in disaster declarations is a policy
area that has not received much scrutiny to date.

The authors reanalyzed flood damage data collected by the National Weather
Service (an agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).
They evaluated consistency among the data and adjusted damage estimates for
the years 1965-1997 to 1995 dollars. The historical record of precipitation
was a second factor in their analysis. The researchers also considered a
state's ability to deal with flood damage. They then compared the damage and
precipitation data with the number of flood-related declarations approved by
each presidential administration from Johnson through Clinton, based on data
provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Additional data were provided by the Illinois State Water Survey; funding
was provided by NOAA. NCAR's primary sponsor is the National Science
Foundation.

On the Web:

* U.S. flood damage costs, 1955-1999, from the Extreme Weather Sourcebook
  http://www.esig.ucar.edu/sourcebook/floods.html

[NOTE: A diagram supporting this release is available at
ftp://ftp.ucar.edu/communications/declarations.jpg (58KB)]

=============
(5) UK SPACE HISTORY, EDUCATION AND POLICY

>From Dave Wright <BROHP2@aol.com >

BROHP 4th Annual Conference
UK Space History, Education and Policy

Call for papers

The British Rocketry Oral History Programme has established a reputation as
the best forum to meet and discuss UK aerospace history and technology. It
has been attended by large numbers of aerospace engineers and scientists who
worked on the projects discussed. In addition academics particularly
historians have made presentations outlining political and bureaucratic
dynamics that drove projects. The interaction between technological and
policy insights has been very fruitful. We have been fortunate enough to
attract a number of distinguished historians such as Professor DC Watt and
Dr John Krige who led the European Space Agency History Programme aerospace
experts of the calibre of Professor John Allen, Professor Ian Smith and the
distinguished test pilot Eric 'Winkle' Brown. Perhaps even more important
has been the attendance of Postgraduate and Undergraduate students from a
number of disciplines. They have been able to discuss both past and present
UK government policy with senior civil servants such as the Director General
of the British National Space Centre Dr Colin Hicks his Deputy David
Leadbeater and senior officials.

The conference has established a deserved reputation for friendliness,
enthusiasm and an excellent chance to socialise and discuss issues with
scholars from different disciplines and participants in the projects under
study. This year papers will be presented on issues such as British Space
Policy, the Cold War, Intelligence issues, nuclear weapons and specific
projects such as Blue Streak, Black Knight, Black Arrow, the Polaris
improvement programme 'Chevaline,' and Thor. There will be discussions on
the management of UK Aerospace projects during the 50s, 60s and 70s, the
future of BNSC, the application of Risk Analysis to Aerospace projects and
government policy on Near Earth Objects. We particularly welcome abstracts
from postgraduate students wishing to establish themselves in the field.

The conference will take place on April 2nd, 3rd and 4th of April 2002 at
Charterhouse School in Surrey.
Abstracts of less than 200 words should be sent to BROHP2 @aol.com or Lesley
Wright, CMS, John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF.

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

(6) MORE EVIDENCE OF IMPACT EVENT 2200BC?

>From Lars Franzén <lars@gvc.gu.se>

Dear Benny

I read with great interest the new discovery in Iraq. I have found masses of
microspherules in Swedish peat bogs in levels dating back to c. 2200 BC.
These spherules are similar to spherules I have found near the Tunguska
epicentre this summer. I thought that this might be something to point out
to the other list members.

Best wishes

Lars Franzén
Physical Geography
Earth Sciences Centre
Goteborg University
PO Box 460, 405 30 Goteborg, Sweden
lars@gvc.gu.se

==============
(7) WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL WITH UNCONFIRMED DATA

>From Ian Lyon <ilyon@fs1.ge.man.ac.uk>

Dear Benny,

Without wishing to be a party pooper - I must point out that the
'publication in Meteoritics and Planetary Science' of the paper by S Master
(MAPS vol 36, no 9 (Supp.) A124), is a conference
abstract. The abstract is facinating and I would really like to read a full
published paper, but this abstract is not a peer-reviewed paper and the way
the popular press has seized upon it (citations in your CCNet SPECIAL:
COLLAPSE OF EARLY BRONZE AGE CIVILISATIONS: HAS THE SMOKING GUN BEEN FOUND?)
fill me with worry. I believe that the author has behaved entirely correctly
but the press has picked this up as they think they see a shiny nugget and
the trumpeting of unconfirmed results in the media can have widespread
consequences as we see in your CCNET Global Warming debate.

                            Regards

                                       Ian Lyon
Dr Ian Lyon
Associate Editor, Meteoritics and Planetary Science
Reader in Isotope Geochemistry
Department of Earth Sciences
University of Manchester
Manchester
M13 9PL
UK
Tel: ++44 161 275 3842 (or 3942)
Fax: ++44 161 275 3947
Ian.Lyon@man.ac.uk

=============
(8) POSSIBLE BRONZE AGE IMPACT CRATER

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

Dear Benny

The items about a possible impact crater in southern Iraq are intriguing but
such an impact by itself is, I suggest, nothing to get too excited about. If
confirmed it would indicate an impactor with a diameter around 150m. The
environmental effects would probably be no worse than than recent volcanic
explosions - the worse of which was the 1815 Tamboro explosion that probably
resulted in the "year without summer". As I understand it, with a 150m
asteroid/comet the direct devastation would have extended out to a radius of
about 100km and ignition from the fireball somewhat less. Moderately
destructive blast wave effects and thick dust and debris would reach several
hundred km. Dust might have caused some minor global cooling and perhaps
(due mainly to the impact with saltwater) some temporary thinning of the
ozone layer (a dip was even detected with the Tunguska event in 1908). By
themselves these hardly seem reasons for collapse of several civilisations.

The possibility that this was one of many impact events, due to a
bombardment by comet fragments around this time, is a different matter.

regards
Michael Paine

MODERATOR'S NOTE: This is an important point. Even a moderate impactor some
150-200m in size would not be capable of causing widespread physical damage.
However, there is general agreement that the first urban civilisations in
the Near East collapsed at the end of the Early Bronze Age.  Should the ring
structure in southern Iraq be verified as a hypervelocity impact crater
dating to the late Holocene, as hypothesised by Sharad Master, it would be
an extremely unlikely coincidence with the social disaster that befell the
same region at the same time. And why were the ancient themselves convinced
that "stars falling from the sky" were to blame for their punishment? Let's
not speculate too much and let's mount a scientific expedition for further
investigation. BJP

=================
DID METEOR DESTROY OLD CIVILISATIONS IN MIDEAST?
http://www.nationalpost.com/tech/story.html?f=/stories/20011105/771160.html

CRATER MAY EXPLAIN HISTORY MYSTERY
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-meteor05.html

================
(9) MULTIPLE CONGRATULATIONS

>From Mike Darancette <mhdaran@pop.mindspring.com>

Multiple Congratulations:

1. Your Site CCNet.

2. Today's posting (11/05/2001)  SPECIAL: COLLAPSE OF EARLY BRONZE AGE
CIVILISATIONS: HAS THE SMOKING GUN BEEN FOUND? Simply remarkable.

3. Your new arrival.

Seems that God may well play dice with the universe (regarding #2).

Regards
Michael H. Darancette

===========
(10) THREAT OF SMALL IMPACTORS

>From Jens Kieffer-Olsen <dstdba@post4.tele.dk>

Dear Benny Peiser,

Please allow me to add a few comments to Duncan Steel's clever observation
below:

To David Morrison from Duncan Steel
[snip]

> Now turning to the main subject: the cost/benefit ratio of NEO
> detection (and perhaps deflection) programmes. Let me again
> say what I have said many times previously: that people
> elsewhere have no business saying that "the US should be doing
> this" or "NASA should be doing that". The American people
> bear the brunt of the cost of current research on NEOs, in
> particular search programmes, and it is for others to try to do
> better in their own countries if they feel that an upping of the
> game is required.  Further, I have long supported the party line
> that the first target should be the larger-than-1-km NEAs,
> because (a) These dominate the impact hazard to
> individuals/civilisation; and (b) They are the easiest and hence
> primary targets for discovery.

Considering that the USA is indeed the world's comet/asteroid catcher (as
well as policeman) by choice, not by order from say the United Nations, it
is worthwhile to distinguish between fatalities in the US and fatalities
elsewhere.

In the case of 1km+ objects the US is certain to be a co-victim, whereas in
the case of a 75m object probability weighs heavily in favour of North
America coming through unscathed. This means that there is no rush for the
American taxpayer to protect the planet against the first few small impacts.
Of course, once a severe impact HAS occurred whereever that may be, and once
public awareness has thus been raised in the US, this attitude is bound to
change.

Yours sincerely
Jens Kieffer-Olsen, M.Sc. (Elec. Eng.)
Slagelse, Denmark

================
(11) HELP TO TURN PIE IN THE SKY INTO A REAL MEAL

>From Andy Nimmo <andy-nimmo@ntlworld.com>

Dear Dr Peiser,

First, thanks very much for having carried my item PIE IN THE SKY IS A REAL
MEAL. Secondly, unreserved apologies to anyone who took any offence at
anything I said in it, as it was not any part of my intention to imply
criticism of Duncan Steel or anyone else in the NEO community. It was my
intention to try to get over the idea that someone from the NEO community
ought to be at this conference, not necessarily Dr Steel, but nevertheless
somebody with sufficient authority to get the students' attention ought to
be there.

Let me explain a little as to why I feel this is very important, especially
in view of your own call to action in order to get the Minor Planets Centre
properly funded.

On 8th April last year in London, a group of space-related societies got
together to co-ordinate political campaigning in the UK. We call this, 'The
Space Development Council' (SDC). Each member group has one member on our
Executive Council, and we now have 11 members representing 12 groups: Duncan
Lunan M.A., - ASTRA, Dave Wright - The British Rocketry Oral History
Programme (Treasurer), Robert Law - The Discovery Space Club, William
Marshall - The Mars Society UK,  Julia Tizard - Our Youth Representative,
Capt. John Broomfield - Space Age Associates (Secretary), Jonathan Tate
F.R.A.S. - Spaceguard UK (Publicity), Andy Nimmo - The Space Settlers
Society (Chairman), Brett Pallett - Venture Star 2 & Venture Star Network,
Andy Lound - The Planetary Society British Volunteer Team, and Dr Anthony
Musker - The Solent Rocket Group. As you will appreciate, if all 12 groups
campaigned in different directions for different things at the same time,
none of us would have any chance of getting anywhere. Hence co-operation is
the only viable answer.

At our inaugural meeting we asked each then potential member group to let us
know what objective they wanted regarding space, and we then drew up a plan
to achieve these objectives in chronological order, step by step. The idea
is that we all campaign for each step along the way until it is achieved,
then go on to the next one, etc., except that to provide some variety we are
taking two rather than one simple step at a time. The first rung on our
ladder is to get the recommendations of the Task Force re NEOs implemented
in full, and our campaign leader for this is of course, Jay Tate. The next
rung on the ladder is to get the UK back into ESA's manned space programme
(which John Major took us out of) - our 'Get A Briton In Space' campaign,
and Duncan Lunan is our campaign leader for that one.

At our SDC AGM this year at the BROHP Conference at Charterhouse, it was
agreed that we'd next meet at the UKSEDS Conference at Newcastle. Julia
Tizard, our Youth Representative, is President of UKSEDS, and they have
given us a one hour meeting from 6-7 on the Saturday evening. I would
like that hour to be used to benefit both of our two campaigns. Duncan Lunan
is coming re his campaign, but so far as I am aware, there is nobody for the
NEO campaign. If we can sell our ideas to the students on Saturday, ways of
achieving them should be among the ideas the students
themselves will consider on the Monday. If we fail, then the students will
come up with other ideas of their own, as is their right, and will campaign
for those instead. However, the more ideas with which the politicians are
bombarded, the less likely that any of them will be accepted. If we want to
get the Minor Planets Centre funded as the next stage in NEO Task Force
implementation, then let's campaign for that!

Generally, I would expect Jay to come along and do so, but as you all know,
he has just opened the Spaceguard Centre at Powys, and cannot be expected to
more or less immediately take a weekend off and head for Newcastle.
Accordingly, may I use CCNet to ask, is there anyone out there
here in UK who can and will come and help us do this?

I will be there myself, and will assist in providing time in our SDC hour
for this purpose. Naturally of course, there are no guarantees. We
campaigned to get the Spaceguard Centre appointed as the official UK NEO
Information Centre in September and did not succeed. You can lead a horse to
water but be unable to make it drink. On the other hand, if you don't lead
it to the water it won't be able to drink at all, and perseverence is a
requisite for any political success.

Best wishes, Andy Nimmo (SDC Chairman).


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