Date sent: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 15:46:58 GMT
From: (Ian Tresman)

Cambridge Conference list participants may be interested in this message
forwarded from JR Tate of Spaceguard UK:

From: JR Tate
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 97 20:41:05 GMT



The threat posed to mankind by the impact of an asteroid or comet is
now widely recognised as one of the most significant risks to human
civilisation, yet there is no co-ordinated international effort to
identify threatening Near Earth Objects (NEO's) or to deal with them
once detected. The United Kingdom has unique intellectual and
physical resources that could put the nation at the forefront of any
international Planetary Defence programme. Spaceguard UK is an
organisation dedicated to the promotion of such a programme, and UK
participation therein.

Over the past decade or so it has become apparent that asteroidal and
cometary impacts have played a dramatic, possibly leading role in the
development of this planet, and the evolution of life. Natural
Science is in the throes of a revolution in thinking, akin to that
which occurred after the publication of Charles Darwin's "On the
Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection". With this
understanding comes the realisation that there is no reason to
believe that this extraterrestrial influence is at an end, and the
possibility that a major impact could severely disrupt, or even
destroy our current way of life on a global scale is one to be
considered seriously.

As a result of this ongoing research there is a growing international
movement dedicated to quantifying and assessing the risk, and to
determining methods of avoiding threatening impacts. While the
subject has traditionally suffered from a great deal of scepticism
this attitude is now generally seen as archaic, and the matter has
become one of serious research. The leading institution involved
internationally is the Rome based Spaceguard Foundation.


Spaceguard UK has been established to pursue the following aims:

* To promote and encourage British activities involving the
discovery and follow-up observations of Near Earth Objects.

* To promote the study of the physical and dynamic properties
of asteroids and comets, with particular emphasis on Near Earth

* To promote the establishment of an international, ground
based surveillance network (the Spaceguard Project) for the
discovery, observation and follow-up study of Near Earth Objects.

* To provide a national United Kingdom information service to
raise public awareness of the Near Earth Object threat, and to
increase confidence in the technology available to predict and avoid
dangerous impacts.


Spaceguard UK is affiliated with the international Spaceguard
Foundation. The Aims of Spaceguard UK are fully harmonised with
those of the Foundation, and the activities of Spaceguard UK are
intended in no way to detract from those of the Foundation; they are
intended to support and complement them, with a specific bias towards
the situation as it pertains to the United Kingdom. Details of the
Spaceguard Foundation, its aims, by-laws and membership can be
obtained from The Spaceguard Foundation or from Spaceguard UK.


* Trustee Members

Trustee Members will be those individuals who have made outstanding
contributions in the field of NEO studies, or who have special
qualifications that enable them to significantly further the aims of
Spaceguard UK. Trustee Members will be invited to join Spaceguard UK.
Dr Arthur C. Clarke, the renowned author and scientist, and Dr
Patrick Moore, the world famous astronomer and author have both
agreed to become Trustee Members of Spaceguard UK.

* Associate Membership

Associate Members will be those currently involved in activities or
studies related to the NEO Impact Threat, and who will form a core of
multi-disciplinary expertise in the subject. The role of the
Associate Members will include the provision of expert advice to the
general membership, and to other bodies as deemed necessary.
Associate Anyone wishing to become an Associate Member is invited to
contact Spaceguard UK.. Amongst others the following British
scientists have agreed to become Associate Members:

Professor Mark Bailey Director, the Armagh Observatory
Dr Victor Clube Oxford University, author
Dr Bob Matthews Aston University, journalist
Professor Tony McDonnell University of Kent, Canterbury
Dr Bill Napier Armagh Observatory, author.
Dr Duncan Steel Vice President of the Spaceguard

* General Membership

General Membership is open to any individual with an interest in the
subject of the NEO Impact Threat. Applicants are invited to contact
Spaceguard UK with a brief statement of their interest, and any
relevant qualifications that might be of use or interest to other

Membership of the Spaceguard Foundation automatically entitles an
individual or organisation to membership of Spaceguard UK.


Members of Spaceguard UK have already been active in promoting the
assessment of the UK's contribution to the international NEO
detection effort. The recent, well publicised meeting at the British
National Space Centre on 12th November 1996 was precipitated by the
activities of the organisation. The subject of the NEO threat has
moved from the realm of a handful of experts to the corridors of the
House of Commons and the British media in less than nine months.

Current activities are concentrated on ensuring that the consensus
achieved at the BNSC meeting is transformed into meaningful action by
the British government and organisations world-wide.

For further information on Spaceguard UK, please contact:

J.R. Tate
35 Pownall Road
Larkhill, Salisbury
Wiltshire SP4 8LX

Tel: 01980 653634

The Spaceguard UK Home Page can be found at:


CCCMENU CCC for 1997