Subject: Chambery meteorite
Date sent: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 16:03:46 -0500 (CDT)

I have been trying to find out more information about the purported meteorite
strike of April 11 (or possibly April 4) 1997 in Chambery, France. This
meteorite is claimed to have to set a vehicle on fire. I found the following
AP report in various secondary sources, but I was not able to verify its
contents with the usual online AP sources.

Meteorite Strikes French Car

CHAMBERY, France (AP) -- A three-pound meteorite tore through the roof
of a parked car Friday in this French Alpine city, setting the vehicle
on fire but causing no injuries.

Police said the small, molten-basalt rock fell from the sky around 3
a.m. Scientists at the nearby University of Savoie pronounced it

The car's owner - awakened by the crash and fire - refused to believe it
was a meteorite and insisted on filing an arson complaint with police.

This account probably suffers from translation problems. I assume
"molten-basalt rock" translates a French technical term. It would be nice
to know exactly what that original term was.

Futher reports add more details. For example, in alt.future.millenium,
Eugene A. Calame says:

What was identified as a meteorite struck an auto in the French town
of Chambery.

A smoking, molten, piece of material was found on the roof of the auto
and was identified by university scientist as a block of magna from
outer space. It weighed about three pounds. There was also some
strange substance like soot and bits of black ice which were melting.

Wade Nelson in alt.disasters.aviation reports similarly:

A meteorite hit a car and set it on fire in the French Alpine town of
Chambery Friday, French radio said. Firemen found a piece of smoking
molten material on the roof of the car, and local university
scientists identified it as a three pound block of basalt magma from
outer space. "It looked like soot. What was strange was that there was
something like ice, small bits of black ice which were melting," a
fireman said.

A pointer to an original French report would be most helpful. Chambery is a
university town, so hopefully we can look forward to authoritative comments
from someone at the university.

-- Phil "Pib" Burns
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. USA


Date sent: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 12:23:50 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Planets, Comets & the BBC
Priority: NORMAL


From: (Sadie Holland)
Subject: BBC's Planets

The BBC has just started production on a major 8 part
television series on the planets, which will be broadcast
here and around the world in 1999. We are not devoting one
programme to each planet, but treating the series as a
celestial voyage around the solar system dropping in on
planets, moons, asteroids, comets and of course the sun.

Each programme will explore different themes from the
mysterious geological forces which fashioned the distant
moons and the rocky planets, to the fiery forces at play in
the atmospheres of the gaseous giants.

The series is also about the planetary scientists who
through breathtaking mathematics, meticulous attention to
detail and the patience of Gods (!) have unveiled all we
know about our cosmic neighbourhood. Stories of discovery
from distant history will be woven together with moments
from recent planetary missions - painting a picture which
reveals why planetary scientists care about their work.

At the moment the eight programmes are panning out as

1 - Origins and formation of the solar system, comets,
asteroids & ancient concepts in astronomy
2 - Our Moon - the exploratory goal which sucked us into
3 - Atmospheres & extra-terrestrial weather systems
4 - Geology of the Solar System - from icy moons to fiery
5 - The Gas Giants
6 - The Rocky Planets - sibling comparisons
7 - The Future Evolution of our Solar System
8 - Beyond the Solar System - other proto-planetary discs

We are hoping to look at life throughout the series: we
feel it is too massive a topic to put in one programme
alone, and we also think that there are so many points of
cross reference that it will be very natural to think about
the conditions in which life might be sustained when
looking at the different planets and their satellites.

At this stage we are looking for possible stories to tell
in the series, hence my writing to you. We are looking for
planetary scientists and historians who can enthuse about
their favourite parts of the solar system. We would like to
convey the excitement - as well as the frustration - of
research, so would you be prepared to tell us about your
greatest triumphs and the pits of despair? What drew you to
planetary research? Which are the questions you would most
like to see answered in your lifetime? Which were the
greatest moments in the history of astronomy?

If you have a chance and would like to help, do let me know
your thoughts on the series, and tell me some stories. If
you could recommend anyone else in planetary sciences and
astronomy community who has a story to tell, or who I
should contact for advice, I should be most grateful.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sadie Holland

tel: 0181 752 6790
fax: 0181 752 6155

CCCMENU CCC for 1997