Date sent: Wed, 14 May 1997 16:37:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: Benny J Peiser <>
Subject: NASA and Japan To Cooperate On Asteroid Sample Return Mission
Priority: NORMAL

From: Ron Baalke <>

Donald Savage
Headquarters, Washington, DC May 14, 1997
(Phone: 202/358-1547)

Junichiro Kawaguchi
Japan Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
Sagamihara-shi, Japan
(Phone: 81-427-51-3911)

RELEASE: 97-95


NASA and Japan's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
(ISAS) have agreed to cooperate on the first mission to collect
samples from the surface of an asteroid and return them to Earth
for in-depth study.

Known as MUSES-C, the mission will be launched on a Japanese
M-5 launch vehicle in January 2002 from Kagoshima Space Center,
Japan, toward a touchdown on the asteroid Nereus in September 2003.
A NASA-provided miniature robotic rover will conduct in-situ
measurements on the rocky surface.

The asteroid samples will be returned to Earth by MUSES-C via
a parachute-borne recovery capsule in January 2006, just weeks after
a NASA mission named Stardust is expected to return collected comet
dust samples to Earth.

NASA and ISAS will cooperate on several aspects of the mission,
including mission support and scientific analysis. Dr. Atsuhiro
Nishida, Director General of ISAS, and Dr. Wesley T. Huntress Jr.,
NASA Associate Administrator for Space Science, signed a summary of
discussions outlining the cooperation on MUSES-C during a May 2
meeting in Washington, DC.

"This ambitious mission is an opportunity for two spacefaring
nations to combine their expertise and achieve something truly
fantastic," said Dr. Jurgen Rahe, director of Solar System
Exploration at NASA Headquarters. "The rover will be the smallest
ever flown in space. With a successful mission, we will have the
first direct insight into the composition of the materials that
helped form the rocky inner planets more than four billion years

With a mass of less than 2.2 pounds, the asteroid rover
technology experiment would be a direct descendant of the technology
used to build the Sojourner rover due to land on Mars with the Mars
Pathfinder lander on July 4 of this year. The rover will carry two
science instruments: a visible imaging camera and a near-infrared
point spectrometer. It will be designed and built by NASA's Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.

Other U.S. contributions to MUSES-C include testing of its
reentry capsule heat shield at NASA's Ames Research Center, Mountain
View, CA, and navigation and tracking support from the ground-based
Deep Space Network. NASA also will provide co-investigators to join
in the mission's science, and the Agency will share in access to the
asteroid samples.

Nereus is a small, near-Earth asteroid roughly one mile in
diameter. It was discovered in 1982. At its closest point to the
Sun, its orbit takes it just inside the orbit of the Earth.

MUSES-C will continue a recent string of missions focused on
asteroids. NASA's Galileo mission, now in looping orbit around
Jupiter, flew by two asteroids -- Gaspra and Ida -- on its way to
the giant gas planet, discovering a small moonlet around one of
them. The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft, a NASA
Discovery Program mission built and operated by the Johns Hopkins
University's Applied Physics Laboratory, will fly by the asteroid
Mathilde on June 27 on its way to orbit the large asteroid Eros in



Date sent: Wed, 14 May 1997 13:02:02 -0400 (EDT)
From: Benny J Peiser <>
Subject: Recent Comet News
Priority: NORMAL

From: Ron Baalke <>

May 13, 1997

In the past week, there has been a flurry of exciting new comet
observations, including the discovery of several new comets. On May
5, IAU Circular 6642 reports the discovery of a new comet by Jean
Mueller from JPL designated as Comet 1997 J1. The comet was
discovered on a 40 minute exposure using the 1.2 meter Oschin
Schmidt telescope at Palomar. This is Jean Mueller's 12th comet
discovery. On May 9, IAU Circular 6650 reports the discovery of a
new comet, designated as 1997 H2, by the SOHO satellite. This comet
passed only 0.14 AU from the Sun on May 2. On May 10, IAU Circular
6653 reports the discovery of a four additional new comets by the
SOHO satllite from coronagraph images taken last year. These comets
are designated as 1996 Q2, Q3, S1 and Y1. All four of the comets are
in the sun-grazing Kreutz group, and all four have already impacted
into the Sun. IAU Circular 6653 also reports that the nucleus of
Comet Evans-Drinkwater has split into two, as observed by J.
Kobayashi from the Kumamoto Civil Astronomical Observatory in

Ron Baalke


Date sent: Wed, 14 May 1997 10:45:26 +1200 (NZST)
From: Joel Schiff <>
Subject: Upper Cretaceous Sediments

The following notice appeared in the May '97 issue of METEORITE!:

Molten rocky material found in Upper Cretaceous sediments in Texas, NN West
of Yucatan. Will share and send material to any laboratory that can test for
age and trace elements, iridium, rare earth elements etc. Contact: John
Tackel, 906 Laguna, Garland, TX 75043, U.S.A. Ph: (972)240-2472.

Interested parties are invited to contact Mr. Tackel.

Joel Schiff - Editor - METEORITE!

CCCMENU CCC for 1997