CCNet DIGEST, 10 June 1998
Quote of the day (provided by Duncan Steel):
"The kinetic energy produced by the comet-strike of a 32-nation
World Cup is enough to blast most hosts into bits. But dear old
Paris just soaks it up" [The Daily Telegraph (London), 9 June
Talking of dear old Paris, can I remind list members that I will not be
in my office this afternoon due to an unforeseen illness my grandmother
will develop at around 3.45pm GMT ....
Benny J Peiser
P.S. Good luck, Scotland! (mind you, they'll need quite a lot)
(1) SATELLITES TO BE 'SANDBLASTED' BY LEONID STORM
Andrew Yee <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(2) THE COMING OF THE SPACE AGE GOLD RUSH
Jim Benson <Jim@SpaceDev.Com>
(3) TEAM OF EXPERTS TO DESIGN ALTERNATIVE MISSION & SPACECRAFT FOR NEAP
Ron Baalke <BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov>
(4) GEOCHEMICAL EVIDENCE FOR A COMET SHOWER IN THE LATE EOCENE
K.A. Farley*), A. Montanari, E.M. Shoemaker & C.S. Shoemaker:
(5) FEDERAL LEGISLATION FOR DISASTER MITIGATION
J. Newton, JOHN NEWTON ASSOCIATES
(6) MORE ON THE AD 540 EVENT
Philip Burns <pib@NWU.EDU>
(7) MARTIAN METEORITES
Alasdair Beal <A.Beal@btinternet.com>
(1) SATELLITES TO BE 'SANDBLASTED' BY LEONID STORM
From Andrew Yee <email@example.com>
The Aerospace Corporation
El Segundo, California
June 8, 1998
Satellites to be "Sandblasted" by Leonid Storm
Dr. William H. "Bill" Ailor of The Aerospace Corporation told a
congressional subcommittee in Washington May 21 that the estimated 500
satellites on orbit "will be sandblasted" by the Leonid meteoroid storm
due November 17.
But he said the effects on spacecraft are expected to be minimal,
despite the fact the storm "will be the largest such threat ever
experienced by our critical orbiting satellite constellations."
Ailor, director of the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies
established last year at The Aerospace Corporation, presented his
testimony during a hearing titled "Asteroids: Perils and
Opportunities." He was invited to appear before the Subcommittee on
Space and Aeronautics, a panel of the House Committee on Science, by
U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), subcommittee chair.
"It is possible," Ailor told the subcommittee, "that some satellites
will be damaged, but the most likely source of damage will not be from
a rock blasting a hole in a satellite, but rather, from the creation of
a plasma, or free electric charge on the spacecraft. The charge could
cause damage to computers and other sensitive electronic circuits on
board the spacecraft, and ultimately cause the spacecraft to fail. For
example," Ailor said, "during the 1993 Perseid meteor shower, it was
determined that the Olympus communications satellite was damaged by a
meteor strike and went off the air shortly thereafter as a result of an
Ailor pointed out that, "The latest information on the coming Leonid
meteoroid storm was presented at the Leonid Meteoroid Storm and
Satellite Threat Conference sponsored by Aerospace and the American
Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Manhattan Beach,
California, on April 27 and 28.
"The primary recommendations from the conference," Ailor reported,
"were that, while it is very unlikely that the storm will have any
major effect on satellites, the 'A-team' of controllers should be on
duty during the ... storm, and operators should check the state of
health of their satellites frequently, looking primarily for electrical
anomalies and glitches. It was also recommended that, if possible,
satellites be oriented so that sensitive components are shielded from
the oncoming stream of particles, and that recovery plans be in place
should there be a spacecraft system failure during the storm."
Ailor said Aerospace collected information on spacecraft anomalies
experienced during the 1997 Leonid shower and will be collecting
similar information for the 1998 and 1999 events. "This information
will help us plan for the 1999 Leonid and future meteoroid storms. It
may also help us to understand whether additional safeguards against
the meteoroid impact threat should be included in future spacecraft
designs," Ailor said.
Ailor's full testimony is on the Internet at http://www.aero.org/leonid/.
[NOTE: Dr. David Lynch of The Aerospace Corporation presented
information on this subject at a press briefing at the AAS meeting
today. An image from the AAS press briefing is available at
(2) THE COMING OF THE SPACE AGE GOLD RUSH
From Jim Benson <Jim@SpaceDev.Com>
Greetings Friends of NEAP,
I apologize for two mailings in a row, but I thought you might be
interested in the following article which ran in full color on the
front page of the Boston Globe "Science" section yesterday (Monday).
This article is good because it explains our rationale for NOT being
interested in asteroid mining and explains why we are intending to fly
a science missions.
Staking a claim
Entrepreneur making plans to parlay science into a space age gold rush
By David L. Chandler, Globe Staff, 06/08/98
ALBUQUERQUE - He's convinced there's gold in them thar hills - and
platinum and a host of other precious metals as well. Never mind that
the "hills" are mountains of rock and metal hurtling through space.
James Benson, a successful entrepreneur from Colorado, is determined to
stake his claim.
Benson intends to be the first person to claim ownership of a celestial
object, in this case an asteroid, and eventually to mine whatever kind
of precious nuggets it holds.
He says any asteroid a mile or more in diameter - and there are
hundreds of them - "contains natural resources that, if found on Earth,
would have a value of more than a trillion dollars."
But that's a big "if." Right now nobody has the faintest idea how to go
about mining an asteroid or bringing the minerals to Earth in an
economically feasible way. Benson looked into it seriously, hoping to do
just that, but decided that would have to wait for later. For now, he's
got a different plan.
Benson, who was trained as a geologist but ended up making a small
fortune in the computer business, has studied the possibility of mining
asteroids, the moon, or Mars, or of establishing other businesses (such
as lunar tourist hotels) far from Earth. He concluded that while all of
these ideas will someday be feasible, none is yet within reach of a
start-up business. Instead, he decided to focus first on gathering and
selling scientific data - a market he says is worth $1 billion a year -
and staking his claim to an asteroid that he could mine when the time
So how does the world of science react to all this? With curiosity,
excitement, disbelief, and occasionally anger, as evidenced by an
unusually heated panel discussion during a recent space conference,
"Space '98," in Albuquerque. Some can't wait to sign up. Others are
aghast at the audacity of his high-flying claim-jumping.
"My visceral reaction was `heavens forbid, not on your life'," said
Eleanor Helin, a NASA astronomer who has discovered literally hundreds
of asteroids - including one that Benson is considering as a target.
Helin, who in the Albuquerque discussion bristled at Benson's plans to
declare ownership of an asteroid, said "there would be some hesitation
if somebody was not only going out and landing on your asteroidal body,
but exploiting it - bringing it around [closer to Earth] or munching it
up on the spot."
There is no law that says Benson can't stake a claim to a potential
gold mine in space. Under an international treaty, nations forego the
right to lay claim to any celestial body, but the treaty says nothing
about individuals or corporations - probably because at the time the
treaty was drafted, in the 1970s, private space ventures weren't
considered a serious possibility.
One international lawyers' group hopes to clear up the issue by filing
a class-action lawsuit. Declan O'Donnell, a leader of the lawyers'
group, said the questions on ownership rights in space "could keep a
fleet of lawyers going forever."
Benson, however, has no intention of waiting for the legal process to
run its course. He will make the claim and see what happens.
Benson is not the only businessman hoping to turn a profit from deep
space. (Near-Earth space, on the other hand, is already a thriving
business location; communications and observation satellites have been
making billions for years). At least two companies plan to send
privately-financed missions to collect moon rocks and sell them at
auction; others have ideas for tourist hotels in space, or lunar rovers
that could be remote-controlled from Earth for a fee in a kind of
But Benson, who says his publicly-traded company has already attracted
all but about $6 to $8 million of the less-than-$50 million estimated
cost of the first mission (not counting the launch itself), appears to
be furthest along.
NASA has given the mission its nod of approval: It qualifies as part of
the agency's "Discovery" program, which could provide funding to
scientists who propose experiments for the mission, if they pass a
scientific peer-review process. And Benson says customers are lining
"The private sector can do things less expensively than government,"
says Benson, who made enough money to retire in comfort after founding
and selling three computer services businesses. He says he currently
owns more than half of SpaceDev's stock.
So far, it looks like he may be right about the potential for cost
savings in privately-financed science missions. Seven scientists have
already notified NASA of their interest in placing their experiments
onboard the spacecraft SpaceDev plans to launch late in 2000.
"We're flying a bus, selling rides to scientists," Benson said in a
He says he will charge scientists $15 million for the privilege of
using space on the craft - "one third of what the government is
charging" for similar missions. The mission, called the Near-Earth
Asteroid Prospector, would go into orbit around an asteroid and also
send four small penetrating probes to gather data from on, near, or
even inside it.
But this week, his company is asking a panel of scientists, led by
former Mars Pathfinder project manager Tony Spear, to evaluate an
alternative candidate: Nereus, an asteroid discovered by Helin, that is
about a half-mile across. It is thought to be made mostly of
carbon-containing compounds and water.
While much attention has focused on precious metals, Benson says, plain
old water may turn out to be the most valuable material for space
miners. Anything sent into orbit from Earth costs at least $5,000 a
pound, and water could be a crucial resource for future space ventures,
not only to supply the needs of astronauts and space tourists, but also
to split into hydrogen and oxygen to make rocket fuel.
Only three asteroids have ever been photographed from close range in
space, and those pictures were made during quick flyby missions. So
scientists are eager to get their hands on the kind of data that
Benson's mission would provide.
Only one other current mission is targeted to spend time close to an
asteroid, collecting pictures and data over a long period: NASA's NEAR
mission (for Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) will meet up with the
large asteroid Eros next Jan. 10. But because asteroids are so varied -
some made of pure metal, some of rock, and some mixed - scientists
would like to sample several.
If and when Benson's mission flies, "I want to send a camera along,"
said Peter Smith, an astronomer at the University of Arizona who
designed the camera for last year's Mars Pathfinder mission. "What's
gotten me excited is that "50 years from now, there will be a
tremendous commercialization of space - tourism, trips to other
planets, and so on. But here's a group that wants to start now."
Smith is one of the scientists who have notified NASA that they intend
to propose experiments for Benson's NEAP mission. Under rules passed
last year by Congress, the agency is required to make use of commercial
opportunities in space transportation whenever they are available, as long
as it can be done for less cost than a government-financed mission.
As Benson sees it, it's a potential win-win situation: NASA gets data
for the scientists it supports, for far less money than if it ran the
mission itself. And Benson gets to turn a profit and launch his new
Moreover, he adds, it's a low-risk venture. NASA would pay for the data
with grants to the scientists whose proposals are accepted, but only
after the mission succeeds. If it doesn't succeed, SpaceDev's
investment would be recovered, because the mission will be fully
Even Helin, despite her reservations about the prospect of seeing one
of the asteroids she discovered get "munched up," is cautiously
supportive of the concept.
"When I step back," she said last week, "I say, `what will this gain
us; is there science to be gained?"'
Benson's initial plan, which calls for nothing more than the gathering
of data, "doesn't bother me," she said. "I wish him well."
Smith finds the whole process not only exciting, but a refreshing
change of pace from the NASA bureacracy, with its internal politics and
infighting, that he has spent so much time dealing with.
"He's got a lot of clever ideas," Smith said about Benson in an
interview last week.
While there are still many hurdles for this kind of venture to
overcome, Smith said, if Benson can rack up "one or two successes, it
could really snowball. It could always fail, but if it succeeds, it
could be a really terrific thing."
And even if it doesn't work for Benson, Smith suggested, privately
financed space ventures are inevitable. "If he doesn't do it, somebody
else will. "
This story ran on page C01 of the Boston Globe on 06/08/98. c Copyright
1998 Globe Newspaper Company.
SpaceDev - NEAP (Near Earth Asteroid Prospector)
-o- Commercial Space Exploration & Development of Space Resources -o-
http://www.spacedev.com -o- Info@SpaceDev.Com
(3) TEAM OF EXPERTS TO DESIGN ALTERNATIVE MISSION & SPACECRAFT FOR NEAP
From Ron Baalke <BAALKE@kelvin.jpl.nasa.gov>
Jim Benson Shirley Thompson, President
CEO Mike Trueblood, A/E
SpaceDev Carl Thompson Associates
(619) 684-3570 (303) 665-4200
Team of Experts to Design Alternative Mission & Spacecraft for
SAN DIEGO, CA - SpaceDev (OTC BB: SPDV), the world's first commercial
space exploration company, today announced that Tony Spear, Mars
Pathfinder project manager, and a team of seven experts have been
commissioned to design an alternative mission and spacecraft for
SpaceDev's Near Earth Asteroid Prospector (NEAP).
Tony Spear was responsible for the highly successful and popular Mars
Pathfinder mission which last summer put the lander and Sojourner rover
on Mars to analyze the soil, rocks and atmosphere.
The Mars Pathfinder was the least expensive mission of its kinds and a
bold departure from the traditional size and expense of such missions.
Mr. Spear's job for SpaceDev is to use the same out of the box thinking
to design an optimal mission and a minimum cost spacecraft for NEAP.
Study results are expected in early July 1998.
James Benson, President and CEO of SpaceDev said "I am excited about
Tony and his dream team analyzing the feasibility of re-targeting NEAP
to a new and better target, asteroid Nereus. This is a wonderful and
important possibility because Nereus will fly by quite close to earth
just before the rendezvous opportunity, only .029 AU away. If we go to
Nereus, a type C asteroid, it will be the first time that close-up
ground based instrument findings can be correlated with instruments
flown to and dropped onto an asteroid."
NEAP will be the world's first commercial deep space science mission,
and will fly instruments from science teams, which have purchased
insured rides on the unmanned NEAP spacecraft.
In early 2002, Nereus will fly by very close to Earth, less than three
million miles away, only ten times the distance to the moon. A few
months later will be the best time to rendezvous with Nereus. No other
probe has ever rendezvoused with a carbonaceous asteroid.
Benson added "It is of the utmost importance that we go to near earth
asteroids to examine and understand them. They are both incredibly
dangerous and incredibly valuable, but at this time no one has a clue
how to deal with them. SpaceDev is the first to do something practical
Carbonaceous asteroids are believed to contain water, iron, carbon,
aluminum, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and a variety of other
potentially valuable resources. Iron content varies from 6 to 23
percent, and some are believed to contain up to 20 percent water. NEAP
will look for water with its neutron spectrometer, similar to that on
Alan Binder's Lunar Prospector, which confirmed the presence of water
on the moon. Dr. Binder is on the board of directors for SpaceDev.
Nereus, about .6 miles in diameter, is estimated to contain resources
with a street value of over $1 trillion.
NEAP is recognized by NASA as a "Mission of Opportunity" for both the
Discovery and MIDEX programs. To date, seven teams of scientists have
notified NASA of their intent to seek funding from NASA to purchase
rides for their instruments on the NEAP mission.
SpaceDev intends to hold a press conference in Washington, DC in early
July to release and describe the results of the Spear NEAP mission
SpaceDev, the world's first commercial space exploration company,
intends to launch the first privately financed spacecraft to assess and
to land on a near earth asteroid. SpaceDev is selling rides for
scientific instruments to governments and companies to transport their
instruments and experiments through deep space to another planetary
body. SpaceDev intends to sell the scientific data acquired by its
instruments as commercial products. Colorado-based SpaceDev has
offices in San Diego, CA and Washington, D.C.
Except for historical financial information contained herein, the
matters set forth in this release are forward-looking statements that
are dependent on certain risks and uncertainties including but not
limited to such factors as market demand, pricing, and changes in
worldwide economic conditions.
Note: News releases and other information about SpaceDev Inc. can be
accessed at http://www.spacedev.com or http://www.ctaonline.com/spdv.
(4) GEOCHEMICAL EVIDENCE FOR A COMET SHOWER IN THE LATE EOCENE
K.A. Farley*), A. Montanari, E.M. Shoemaker & C.S. Shoemaker:
Geochemical evidence for a comet shower in the Late Eocene. SCIENCE,
1998, Vol.280, No.5367, pp.1250-1253
*) CALTECH, DIVISION OF GEOLOGY & PLANETARY SCIENCE, MS 170-25,
PASADENA, CA, 91125
Analyses of pelagic limestones indicate that the flux of
extraterrestrial helium-3 to Earth was increased for a 2.5-million year
(My) period in the late Eocene. The enhancement began similar to 1 My
before and ended similar to 1.5 My after the major impact events that
produced the large Popigai and Chesapeake Bay craters similar to 36
million years ago. The correlation between increased concentrations of
helium-3, a tracer of fine-grained interplanetary dust, and large
impacts indicates that the abundance of Earth-crossing objects and
dustiness in the inner solar system were simultaneously but only
briefly enhanced. These observations provide evidence for a comet
shower triggered by an impulsive perturbation of the Oort cloud.
Copyright 1998, Institute for Scientific Information Inc.
(5) FEDERAL LEGISLATION FOR DISASTER MITIGATION
J. Newton: Federal legislation for disaster mitigation: A comparative
assessment between Canada and the United States. NATURAL HAZARDS, 1997,
Vol.16, No.2-3, pp.219-241
JOHN NEWTON ASSOCIATES,262 ROBERT ST,TORONTO,ON M5S 2K8,CANADA
Exposure to natural hazards tends to be poorly understood and yet
implicitly accepted by a large proportion of populations at risk. Some
people through years of experience and time-tested coping mechanisms
effectively respond to most hazards. Others, lacking skills and
experience, are dependent on institutional response systems for
immediate assistance and long-term recovery. Clearly, both approaches
can reduce losses; however, the former strategies often prove more cost
effective. How then, can loss reduction be handled with minimal
external involvement? Are there not strategies that can reduce the
impact of natural hazards and minimize exposure to these risks?
Introduction of hazard mitigation strategies can begin to address these
concerns in a timely and cost effective manner. Federal institutions in
Canada and the United States recognize this potential, and in response,
have developed policies and designed programs to limit the impact of
hazards. To further collective thinking on hazard mitigation, this
paper surveys current legislation and programs in both countries, makes
a comparative assessment, and seeks to identify implications for
mitigation policy within the framework of the Canadian IDNDR
initiative. Perceptions of mitigation are explored to create a common
foundation from which to address the nature, direction, and structure
of mitigation policy and programs in Canada. Clarity of purpose,
awareness of context, and acknowledgment of limitations and conflicts
represent crucial aspects in the evolution of mitigation strategies.
Through awareness, understanding, and a willingness to engage in
dialogue new ways of thinking can be employed to decrease the impact of
natural hazards on society and the environment. Copyright 1998,
Institute for Scientific Information Inc.
(6) MORE ON THE AD 540 EVENT
From Philip Burns <pib@NWU.EDU>
Timothy L. Bratton <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> There's a fairly mundane explanation for the "dust veil" or "dry
> fog" of A.D. 536 -- an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. My source was
> *Volcanoes of the World*, 2nd ed. (Tuscon, AZ.: Geoscience Press, 1994),
> by the volcanologists Tom Simkin and Lee Siebert, especially pages 38 and
> 186, which by sheer accident had just arrived at the college library.
> According to the authors' codes, this eruption was dated by
> tephrochronology, the relative chronology of deposits of volcanic ash in
> sequence. The total duration of the episode is unknown, although the
> continuous blast probably lasted at least an hour. This eruption, which
> came from the central cone of Vesuvius, had a volcanic explosivity index
> (VEI) of 2, which translates into a moderate eruption of between 1 x 10^6
> to 1 x 10^7 cubic meters of tephra tossed into the sky, a cloud column
> height of 1-5 kilometers above the crater, and a moderate injection of ash
> into the Earth's troposphere, but probably not the stratosphere. If
> Vesuvius had injected an appreciable amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) into
> the atmosphere, it would have combined with water vapor to make sulfuric
> acid (H2S04), which has a cooling effect upon climate; however, the SO2
> production of this eruption is unknown. I would hazard an educated guess
> that the conditions described by the early medieval authorities was a
> temporary and localized effect caused by the Vesuvian eruption, which
> passed within a year. Forest fires must be taken into consideration as
> well; Mexico City is currently experiencing darkened skies caused by
> conflagrations within Mexico. In any event, as much as I like small
> asteroids and comets, I would be willing to invoke their collision with
> the Earth if and only if all other rational explanations for the strange
> weather of A.D. 532 have been ruled out -- and Mt. Vesuvius looks like the
> most obvious candidate to me.
> Dr. Timothy L. Bratton email@example.com
> Department of History/Pol. Science work: 1-701-252-3467, ext. 2022
> 6006 Jamestown College home: 1-701-252-8895
> Jamestown, ND 58405 home phone/fax: 1-701-252-7507
Mike Baillie is a dendrochronologist at the Queen's University,
Belfast. He is currently working on the 536 AD event. I asked him to
comment on Timothy Bratton's suggestion that the 536 AD eruption of
Vesuvius could have been responsible for the apparent great dust veil
of that and succeeding
years. Baillie writes:
"Tim Bratton will have to do better than a minor volcano to explain the
scale of the circa 540 events. Using the most objective approach to
tree-ring data, and using other workers' published comments, the events
around AD 536-545 are both the worst growth events in European oaks in
1500 years, are the most severe 'dry fog' in 1500 years (Stothers) and
contain the coldest consistent year, AD 536 (Briffa on Fennoscandian
pines and Scuderi on Sierra Nevada foxtail pines),in the same time
duration. The idea that an environmental event seen right round the
northern hemisphere, leading to widespread crop failures in the late
530s and culminating in the Justinian plague of AD 542, was due to an
eruption of Vesuvius smaller than that of AD 79 seems implausible.
It might be worth looking at relevant parts of Baillie, M G L
'A Slice Through Time' (Routledge London 1995)."
Baillie's 1995 book "A Slice Through Time" offers a good
introduction to dendrochronology. He discusses several dust veil events
of the past, including that of 536 AD. This dust veil is well-known
from a variety of literary sources stretching from Europe to China.
The sun was darkened for a period of eighteen months. Crops failed,
resulting in major famines. The population of China dropped
precipitously. The Chinese capital was evacuated. Edward Gibbons's
classic work on the "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" is one place
to look for a description of the disasters which befell Europe and the
Near East during the reign of Justinian. Some contemporary sources
report the events as follows.
Procopius, as quoted by Stothers and Rampino, says of 536 AD that
"during this year a most dread portent took place. For the sun
gave forth its light without brightness ... and it seemed
exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were
John Lydus says
"The sun became dim ... for nearly the whole year ... so that
the fruits were killed at an unseasonable time."
Michael the Syrian says
"the sun became dark and its darkness lasted for eighteen months.
Each day it shone for about four hours, and still this light
was only a feeble shadow ... the fruits did not ripen and the
wine tasted like sour grapes."
Rampino et al quotes a report from Cassiodorus stating
"The sun ... seems to have lost its wonted light, and appears
of a bluish colour. We marvel to see no shadows of our bodies
at noon, to feel the mighty vigour of the sun's heat wasted
into feebleness, and the phenomena which accompany an eclipse
prolonged through almost a whole year. We have had ... a summer
without heat ... the crops have been chilled by north winds ...
the rain is denied ..."
The 536 AD event was not an eclipse as we use the term. The ancients
often referred to any kind of obscuration as an "eclipse." Clearly the
authors above are not speaking of a solar eclipse but a substantial
diminution of the sun's light. Stothers estimates that the sun
appeared ten times fainter than normal for up to eighteen months.
Weisburd notes that the years 536-538 AD saw summer snows and
frosts, drought, and severe famine in China. In some parts of China,
70% or more of the population starved to death. Baillie documents
similar reports from Ireland and England.
Tree ring data indicates a significant mean temperature drop around
535/536 AD, with 536 AD the second coldest summer in the last 1500
years. Tree ring widths did not return to pre-535 AD sizes until the
late 540s. This reduction in tree ring widths appears in both European
and American sequences, so the effect was at least hemispheric if not
global. For example, Sierra Nevada tree ring sequences pinpoint AD 535,
536, and 541 as the second, third, and fourth coldest years in the last
two millenia. Climate appears to have been severely affected for almost
15 years after the initial onset in 535/536 AD. Baillie's book and the
articles referenced therein provide a good summary of the tree-ring
data surrounding the 535/536 AD events.
The Justinian plague was first noted in 542 AD in Egypt. The pattern of
movement from east to west mirrors the spread of the medieval "Black
Death" 900 years later. The effects of the Justinian plague were quite
severe. The historian Burgess suggests the Justinian plague may have
been at least as bad as the Black Death. It is tempting to assume that
the dust veil and the onset of the plague are related. The pattern of
famine, widespread movement of people, followed by plague, appears to
be a common one throughout history. These events may have been a
(major?) contributing factor to the onset of the "Dark Ages."
Many people have suggested that the dust veil resulted from a large
volcanic explosion, most particularly, Rabaul in New Britain. It now
appears that the eruption of Rabaul was a couple of decades earlier,
based upon ice core data. Other volcanic candidates offered during the
1980s such as White River, Alaska have also been eliminated because the
dates don't fit.
Another objection is that the climatological effects of volcanic
eruptions, based upon studies in the past couple of hundred years, do
not support a pattern of temperature reduction as prolonged as that
evidenced in the 530/540s AD. Even the effects of the largest volcanic
explosion of recent times, that of Tambora, were short-lived compared
to the Justinian event, lasting only a year or two. Ice core samples
which cover the 536 AD period do not show the enhanced acidity which
would be expected if a large volcanic explosion were responsible for
the dust veil. As Baillie remarks above, the relatively small eruption
of Vesuvius in 536 AD is highly unlikely to have been primarily
responsible for the 535/536 AD dust veil although it may have
If a volcano was not the cause of the dust veil, then what was the
cause? A non-catastrophic accretion event involving passage of the
solar system through a dust cloud is one possibility. Another is a
major undersea outgassing event, perhaps associated with significant
undersea volcanism. Aother might be a gigantic series of forest fires.
This leads to the most intriguing possibility, that of cosmic impact by
asteroid or comet fragments. Large scale forest fires might have
ignited by widespread airbursts or fallout from a single large impact,
aside from any debris thrown up by a terrestrial impact.
I do not believe that there are any currently known impact craters
which can be dated to 535 AD. This is not a fatal objection to the
impact scenario. If the impact event(s) resembled that of Tunguska
earlier in this century, there would no crater(s) to find. The length
of the dust veil's appearance might indicate the passage of the Earth
through a particularly dense swarm of meteoric material over a period
of years. Several astronomers of the British neo-catastrophist school
(Clube, Napier, Asher, Steel) suggest the culprit was the dense part of
the Taurid meteor stream. This idea is of course highly controversial.
Mike Baillie and Michael Rampino discussed the impact hypothesis for
the 536 AD dust veil in a segment in the Discovery Channel documentary
entitled "Three Minutes to Impact" which aired last February here in
the United States. You can read my review of that program at
This is the probably the documentary referred to by Matthias Bode which
Rolf Sinclair forwarded.
Whatever the cause of the 536 AD dust veil, this event offers a unique
opportunity to examine what appears to have been a hemispheric
environmental setback for which we have physical, literary, and
historical evidence. It will be most interesting to see if we can
determine if the cause was endogenous, such as a large volcanic
eruption; exogenous such as a cosmic impact or accretion event; or a
combination of endogenous and exogenous events.
 Baillie, M. G. L. _A Slice Through Time_.
B. T. Batsford Ltd, London, 1995.
 Rampino, M. R., Self, S., and Stothers, R. B.
"Volcanic Winters." Annual Review of Earth Planet Science,
v. 16 (1988), pp. 73-99.
 Stothers, R. B. and Rampino, M. R. "Volcanic eruptions
in the Mediterranean before AD 630 from written and
archaeological sources." Journal of Geophysical Research,
v. 88 (1983), pp. 6357-6371.
 Stothers, R. B. "Mystery cloud of AD 536." Nature, v. 307 (1984),
 Weisburd, S. "Excavating Words: a geological tool."
Science News, v. 127 (1985), pp. 91-96.
-- Phil "Pib" Burns
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. USA
(7) MARTIAN METEORITES
From Alasdair Beal < A.Beal@btinternet.com >
A few months ago I was contacted by Alex Heftman, who has been
researching the story of 'Martian' meteorites on Earth. I looked
at his web page and I thought that there is certainly a 'case to
answer'. Maybe something about this would be of interest to
Cambridge Conference Net readers? The full details of his work can
be found on http://houstonspacesociety.org/meteor/
Editor, SIS Chronology & Catastrophism Review,
10 King George Avenue,
Leeds LS7 4LH
THE CAMBRIDGE-CONFERENCE NETWORK (CCNet)
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The electronic archive of the CCNet can be found at
CCNet SPECIAL: THE 1997 XF11 DEBATE GOES ON - AT LEAST UNTIL
WHAT TO DO NEXT TIME WE FIND AN EARTH-CROSSING PHO
(1) WHY ASTEROID 1997 XF11 WAS UNIQUE: IT'S THE ONLY NEA SHOWN TO HAVE
IMPACT POSSIBILITY NEXT CENTURY
David Asher <email@example.com>
(2) IF BRIAN IS RIGHT, I'LL EAT MY HAT
Clark Chapman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(3) FORGET XF11: IT'S HISTORY
Jonathan Shanklin <email@example.com>
(1) WHY ASTEROID 1997 XF11 WAS UNIQUE: IT'S THE ONLY NEA SHOWN TO HAVE
IMPACT POSSIBILITY NEXT CENTURY
From David Asher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I'm sending this note about whether one can compute impact
probabilities for known NEAs, as I've gained experience of both the
observational and celestial mechanics/orbit determination sides of the
subject, and both are rather important in this context. Naturally many
of the remarks are aimed at 1997 XF11 in particular.
A) Was an impact in 2028 possible?
Much has been said about this; so I'll try to be brief. One view was
that the chance was effectively zero, and quickly and demonstrably so
by means of a formal uncertainty analysis. An 'opposite' statement was
along the lines of `While I think an impact extremely unlikely, no, I'm
not sure the chance is zero' (scientific caution, not wanting to
pretend to know something for sure without being sure). I'm not saying
which view I personally took (it isn't relevant). The thing is that
both views are scientifically respectable, and a healthy scientific
debate could be had which most decidedly was not resolvable
instantaneously. And a third option would be to refuse to get involved
and be interested only in seeing if observations could be found that
rendered the question moot.
An argument in favour of that caution is that it is very unsound to
assume (although some people including me often do!) that these orbit
determination (and subsequent orbital behaviour) problems are in
reality PRECISELY described by the mathematical/statistical analysis
that orbit computers for convenience apply to them. With this formal
uncertainty analysis, you can compute formal impact probabilities to
find that the 1997 XF11 (3-month arc) value was effectively zero. But
orbit computations for real objects based on real observations aren't
like that. When you compute real orbits, as the MPC does, you ideally
want experience of all that goes into an observer producing an
astrometric measure that's reported to the MPC. That is, knowing all
the factors that affect observations' reliability, since the weight
given to different observations, or the decision on which are bad
observations and should be ignored, affects the orbit solution. One
good example is the Hale-Bopp determination described by Rob McNaught
in the 980316 CC-Digest.
This isn't to say that estimates of orbital and positional uncertainty
are useless. They're EXTREMELY useful as guidance, e.g., in recovery
and precovery searches, but you're much better treating them in a
handwavy way (perish the thought that astronomers could be handwavy)
rather than having blind faith in precise probabilities.
B) Was an impact in 2037 possible?
What does `possible' mean? Possible enough to be newsworthy. What
does `newsworthy' mean?
I'll try to say something not too incoherent about this.
Given a nice, big computer, you could use the FORMAL uncertainty
analysis (3-month arc) and do what scientists call a Monte Carlo
simulation, deriving a fairly precise probability for an impact not
long after 2028, in 2037 or, we can reasonably suppose, another year
(the point being that it's the 2028 approach that gives us all the
possibilities). Someone could get a whole paper out of this! (though it
wouldn't be justified in a research journal from an ENTIRELY scientific
point of view) I would of course say that you'd have to regard the
value as very handwavy, but it would be meaningful to some extent.
The following percentages too are, naturally, handwavy. There's a 1%
chance in the next century of a bad impact (Minor Planet Center
definition of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids here, H=22; so we're
talking seriously major tsunamis rather than km threshold) by a
background (unknown) NEA. Some people I've talked to or heard at
conferences would regard 0.01% in the next century for some given known
NEA as a big probability that should set alarm bells ringing (to be
silenced promptly by a precovery or over time by follow-up). A known
object's probability might not need to be much compared to the
background in order to be newsworthy.
Maybe that's beside the point, however, and more relevant is this. Of
known NEAs, a few are lost in the background again till they're
rediscovered (at which stage the first apparition observations will
refine the orbit in the way that precoveries do). Those with decent
orbits can be tracked forward in time, with the possibility of impacts
excluded for the foreseeable future. It is clear that 1997 XF11 is
(was) different. `Newsworthy', if you like. It is the only one that has
so far been shown (albeit after the event) to have a possible impact in
the foreseeable future.
It has an unusually small Minimum Orbit Intersection Distance, even
among known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids, and its node is moving the
right way to intersect the Earth's orbit in the near future, not recent
past. And it soon (2028) has a close approach to a planet (Earth) the
effect of which was unpredictable but, if the nudge to the orbit just
happened to be right, could bring about an impact next century. These
various conditions are what is needed for a POSSIBLE near future
impact, but have NOT been demonstrated for any other known (not lost)
We can't do anything about background hazardous objects except continue
the long term surveys for them. 1997 XF11 was a (to date UNIQUE) known
hazardous object that we could do something specific about (get more
observations) to remove the uncertainty. That seems to me to make it
newsworthy if anything in astronomy ever is.
(2) IF BRIAN IS RIGHT, I'LL EAT MY HAT
From Clark Chapman <email@example.com>
I'm not quite sure why you are confused, Benny. I didn't say that
Brian's calculations were "worthless." As he said himself, they
represent an intriguing problem in the mathematics of chaos. The
question is whether they indicate an important risk: whether they mean
that his scenario ever represented a "danger," something that should
interest anyone outside of his tiny circle of celestial dynamicists.
And to answer that question, you turn to the science of risk
In our daily lives, we all make choices about risks, whether we make
them implicitly or explicitly. When you step into your automobile, you
implicitly decide that your risk of injury or death during that
morning's drive to the grocery store is so small you don't worry about
it. When you decide *not* to try to beat the train across the railroad
crossing, you are acting on your belief that the risk is too high.
Society makes the same choices about how to deal with risks. Although
our collective responses to various risks are not entirely objective,
or "by the numbers," we tend to regard risks of death higher than
1-in-a-thousand as extremely serious. Risks down to 1-in-a-million
usually merit some concern. Risks lower than that are often deemed
The reason that asteroid impacts have moved from the stuff of science
fiction onto the stage of serious interest is because the "background"
risk is *higher* than 1-in-a-million. Moreover, we have the
technological capacity to actually reduce the risk by maybe a factor of
10, down to about the 1-in-a-million level.
All societal responses to risks (whether from cancer, fire, auto
accidents) are related to a standard of what's tolerable. The
"background risk" of an asteroid impact next year is something like
1-in-a-hundred-thousand. If some particular asteroid is found that has
a chance of striking that is 1-in-a-billion, it really ISN'T NEWS!
There are lots of such asteroids and we KNEW THAT ALREADY!
So what was the chance of Brian's special scenario happening, based on
the data available as of early March? I think that, before once again
telling us that the object was "dangerous" and we ignore it at "our
peril," he owes us a calculation of the probability (as of early March)
that his scenario would happen. Was it 1-in-a-quadrillion?
1-in-10-to-the-15th-power? Once again, before going public with
practical sounding warnings ('this asteroid was dangerous'), why
doesn't he provide the numbers? If he does it, and does it correctly,
and it turns out to be 1-in-a-hundred-thousand that the asteroid would
hit, I'll eat my hat. But if it is, as I suspect, an extremely small
number, then the calculation is a novelty of mathematical interest, and
perhaps cocktail-party conversation, but hardly worthy of space in CC
What's confusing, Benny?
(3) FORGET XF11: IT'S HISTORY
From Jonathan Shanklin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
What would be really wonderful is for some of the protagonists
(antagonists?) to stop bickering. What happened is history and you
can't change it. Yes there were mistakes and press releases are liable
to trip anyone up, as very often the press can see a different slant on
any story. They are certainly finding one in this case. The important
thing is not to make the same mistakes again. The primary mistake is
that its not a good idea doing science by press release before
scientific review. IAUC 6837 did the job it was intended to do, ie get
people to look at the object and the archival plates. Remember this
was a circular, not a scientific paper and was aimed at observers. The
press release should perhaps have been reviewed, but by all accounts
there wasn't time.
Tt will be interesting to see how many of the recent astronomical
discoveries, that have been announced in a blaze of publicity, see the
light of day in a peer reviewed journal. In most cases even if the
announcement was wrong the press won't care as they will have had their
story and the "authority" won't care as they've had their publicity.
This may be a jaundiced view, but does seem to be the way science is
being conducted in certain quarters. IAUC 6837 was not a case like
this, but it is rapidly being turned into one.
A final point to consider: science fiction has a habit of becoming
science fact and 30 years is a long time. Perhaps before then we might
have the ability to change the orbit of XF11 so that it did hit the
earth in 2028 (or some time in the future) and a terrorist group did
British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, England
THE GREATER EARTH MANIFESTO
From Michael Martin-Smith <email@example.com>
Dear Dr Peiser,
This might be of interest in a future edition of CC Debates, for
some netweork members? Maybe a bridge to be built here between
scientists, philosophers, and humanists in general.
The now widespread discussion and awareness of past catastrophes,
impact generated extinctions, and surveys of nearby Space for hazards
to human civilization represent a major new Idea in scientific
Like earlier Big Ideas, eg. Evolution, Newtonian Gravitation, and Plate
Tectonics, their implications for other human areas, eg philosophy,
economics, culture and, in time, politics, will be profound, and at
present undetermined. In short, a new paradigm of the human role in the
Universe is now discernible.
Three groups - Space Age Associates, Technology of Frontiers, and the
OURS Foundation, have been working on the Manifesto of a Greater Earth,
which looks at space development in a broader Humanistic framework
members of this Network might like to visit the website -
http://www.canavese.it/autino/ge-manif/htm or, if equipped with
MIME, then see the attached package below. Signatures can be made
either directly on the site - soon, or sent to me
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or Adriano Autino,( email@example.com )
THE GREATER EARTH MANIFESTO
CONCEPTS FOR A NEW HUMANIST VISION OF THE WORLD
1.PHILOSOPHICAL AND CULTURAL CONCEPTS
2.ETHICS OF THE NEW HUMANISM
6.GREATER EARTH INITIATIVE DEFINITION ACT
The following people gave contributes to the Greater Earth Manifesto:
Adriano Autino - President of Technologies of Frontier (Italy)
Michael Martin-Smith - President of Space Age Associates (United
Daniel Christlein - German Representative of Space Age Associates
Marco Bernasconi - MCB Consultants (Switzerland)
Arthur Woods - President of the OURS Foundation (Switzerland)
1. PHILOSOPHICAL AND CULTURAL CONCEPTS
We advocate and defend humanity's expansion into space as the most
ethical task of the immediate future, as an enterprise both natural and
urgently necessary to enable the continuity of (terrestrial) life and
(modern) civilization confronted with the apparent limits of their
Definition: Greater Earth
By the term 'Greater Earth', we mean a spherical region of space,
centered on the Earth, where the gravitational influence of our home
planet dominates the motions of any object. This region has a radius of
approximately 1.5 Millions km, thus extending up to the L1 Lagrange
point, marking the border of Greater Earth. We regard this region as
the truer extension of Earth.
Life's imperative and human Right to Expand
We acknowledge that Life strives to penetrate, occupy and utilize all
locales within its reach to further its survival and expansion. We
defend the right, for Humanity, to accede to a greater ecological
Range of action
We assert the high ethical value, for the Human Kind, to expand its
activities, for its procreation and survival, in the entire Solar
System, and in all the territory in the range of its cultural,
technological and philosophical means.
Defense of our cultural history and future and humanity survival
We defend Humanity and its further development as a cultural and
sentient species, against any devolutive hypothesis. We are dedicated
to the survival and continuation of the development of Humanity in all
Recognition of directed evolution
We recognize that the human species, above all terrestrial species, has
demonstrated its success by exerting conscious control and direction of
its own evolution, and by becoming able to actively avoid extinction.
People are resources, not problems. A real problem is bureaucracy,
since it is not able to involve and to turn into account the human
The Open World
Against the obsolete and dangerous paradigm of the Closed World (or
"Spaceship Earth", according to the Club of Rome definition), we affirm
the concept of an Open World, with new horizons of development for all
humanity and all life.
Urgency to Implement the Space Option
We recognize the urgent need to find new ways to accomodate and to
integrate the growing human population into viable ecological and
Right to Develop the human innate potential
We reject any concept that places limits (even involuntary) on the
rights of human beings to develop their innate potential.
Cultural Openness declaration
We are for cultural Openess, without discrimination based on skin
colour, gender, religion, or creed, except where these are themselves
anti-Human! We apply the concept of Open World in all aspects of human
activities and relations.
The culture of modern man
We trust in the Human Scientific and Technological Culture, as tools
that can take the Humanity over the present crisis of growth. We point
out the error of relying on the Nature as the presumed repairer of
human errors. We support and promote the scientific method, everywhere,
at any level.
The Cosmic Destiny
We propose a Cosmic Destiny for the Human Species. Unconscious life
expands to occupy all available niches: yet, it's unable to escape
extinctions imposed by the natural cycles of the parent planet. Only
Intelligent Life can now prevail, thanks to technology, taking beyond
the blue planet its civilization and its culture, gardening the
otherwise empty and barren spaces.
Towards an evolutionary ethics
We consider Humanity master of its home planet and of the Solar System,
as the only self-conscious species and the only one with means to
exercise its responsibility over the rest of Nature.
Space scale of issues
We perceive the present ecological issues as being solvable only on a
human and cosmic scale, not on a natural and terrestrial one.
We praise Human Thought as the maximum expression of Life on this
planet and declared its varied creativity of supreme essence. We defend
all achievements of Human Thought be they cultural, scientific, moral,
technological, or civil.
We are for the analytical study of Nature, in order to understand its
functioning and to copy its mechanisms in order to perpetuate the
conditions of a life sustaining environment for our species.
Possible Development or New Growth
We promote the New Growth concept, based on a quantitative and ethical
analysis of the character of finiteness of the Earth compared to the
Universe, and we reject the anti-libertarian, empty and hopeless plan
2. ETHICS OF THE NEW HUMANISM..
Our first duty and committment is toward the human people.
Definition of New Humanism
We call ourselves New-Humanists, because we add, to the classical
Humanism, a new vision, determined by the specificity and extreme
criticality of our epoch.
Definition of Astronautical Humanism
Since we believe that the above duty can be completed only taking the
Road to Space, we also call ourselves Astronautical Humanists.
Our humanistic vision is not due to an old fashioned anthropocentric
ethic. We see the history and evolution of the life as dynamic
processes. Our analysis brings us to state that Humanity must take care
of itself, expecially in this critical phase. This historical passage
sees us humans at our maximum success and maximum risk of failing the
next evolutionary step that, for first time, is strictly dependent by
Survival of Civilization
Our engagement is not only to help the survival of Humankind (as an
animal species), but to help the continuation of the growth of human
culture and civilization. We consider the human developing culture and
civilization as the highest essence of our nature. When we speak about
Survival of the Humankind, we mean cultural continuation and growth,
because the survival of Man as an unconscious animal would be a
A concret concept of Humanity
We reject any abstract concept of humanity. When we speak about
Humanity we mean the ensemble of the alive human beings, with their
charge of hopes and desperations.
Responsibility toward environment and other forms of life
Taking humans at the first place, and rejecting any mythization of
Nature, we take care of the environment, as it is indispensable for the
human survival. And we accept the responsibility toward the other
terrestrial forms of life as a duty of our intelligence.
Human growth faced to limited resources
Human Growth cannot continue on this planet beyond a certain limit,
since the resources of our Mother Planet are not infinite.
The danger of a closed environment
Even if our science cannot yet say precisely what the above limit is,
we are dramatically aware of the danger represented by uncontrolled
human growth in a closed environment. Lack of resources, and several
environmental problems, are warning Humanity to provide solutions
The danger of a declining, even older, society
While we are aware of the danger represented by too large a population,
we also point out the danger, for Humanity, represented by a possible
declining society, as a result of the antiscientific politics of
demographic inversion, as proposed at the conferences held at Rio de
Janeiro, Cairo, and Kyoto.
Factors of Human Development
We observe that the largest numerical growth of Humanity took place in
this last century (from less then one billion to six billions), and
that this process has accompanied our unprecedented technological and
The social node of the present age
The present age is possibly the most critical that Humanity has ever
had to face. We have an enormous patrimony -- six billion intelligences
-- but this patrimony could quickly become our ruin, if we fail to turn
it into account for projects of real development.
No growth without growth
We also observe that the human economy and progress have positive
developments while the growth (of markets, technology and culture)
The importance of the numerical consistence
We proclaim that the human population in toto represents Earth's
greatest resource, and is the ultimate source of its creativity,
dynamism, and hope.
Importance of a growing trend
In general terms, a growing trend is very important, for different
factors, namely: to have fresh and increasing intelligences, to keep
the spirit of human enterprise high, to keep the economy growing. The
above factors are all very important, for a Humanity taking the high
road to Space.
The extraterrestrial imperative and global solutions
In order to continue its growth, Humanity must provide long term
solutions. Among such solutions, to decide the development of Space is
a sine qua non condition, a real imperative, without which all the
other solutions will give no positive results.
Increasing standard of living is the only acceptable birth-control
It was also observed that, when living standards increase, and women
attain higher social positions, the birth rate decreases naturally. We
think that an increased standard of living for all humanity is the best
birth-control, and we trust that a new space economy can greatly help
The need of a new hope for Humanity
We remark that in the anthropologic behaviour of the advanced societies
there are also present some negative factors: fear of the future,
unwillingness to bring babies into this imperfect world, personal fears
and a personal sense of guilt for consuming too many resources. These
factors bring the most sensitive personalities to exclude themselves
from the continuation of the species. We believe that the advent of the
Greater Earth will bring hope, and especially confidence in the future,
for our babies, to advanced and developing societies alike.
The need of a positive, controlled, growth
We are for a politics of controlled growth, able to keep the growth
positive, and not in collision with the available resources and
environment. At the same time we declare that we are, and will be,
against any coercion (be it physical or psychological) of the human
right to procreate and to continue the individual genetic lines of each
The need of a larger home for humanity
And we clearly indicate, as a priority, the building of new
life-sustain environment for the growing Humanity. If the family
increases, the solution is not eliminate some of its members, but to
involve them all in building a larger home!
In the next century, the number of human beings should be controlled
within limits sustainable, beyond the ecosystem of Earth alone! Our
concept of sustainability encompasses the space, territory, energy and
resources contained in the Greater Earth!
Handling the human biologic nature with cultural sensibility
We assert the human right to use the non-human forms of life (animal
and vegetable) for feeding, survival and development of the scientific
knowledge. At the same time we are against any form of avoidable cruelty
against the animal and vegetable forms of life.
Behaviour toward other life forms
We assert that the human dominion on the rest of the nature in our
range of action must be gentle and respectful to all forms of Life.
Specifical attention for possible extraterrestrial forms of life
While the terrestrial science has reached a certain capability to
classify the animal species on our planet, the analytic behaviour is to
be multiplied several times when we will approach extraterrestrial
environments, because non-terrestrial life could present itself in very
The need of new life-sustain environment
We are aware that, expanding in extraterrestrial environments, Man will
reconfigure the territory to support terrestrial life. We consider this
step unavoidable for our survival and cultural continuation, as well as
we keep using animal and vegetable forms of life for our feeding.
Extraterrestrial forms of life
Toward all possible new discovered non intelligent forms of life we
shall observe the following ethical behaviour: (i) assure our survival,
isolating us from possible dangers (ii) be gentle as much as possible,
(iii) analyse their biology (iv) try to understand if they can be useful
in some way for our survival.
To insert the astronautical humanism in the social life
In general terms, we say that no human being should be left alone,
without the help of his fellows. The astronautical humanism will do its
best to link to social real life structures and instances, in order to
build together the thought and the language of the new humanism.
No scientific discipline should be left alone, without the help of the
other diciplines of the human knowledge. We stand for a much more
integrated approach to the subject of Science Ethics: we are for an
horizontal, global, interdisciplinary contamination of all the
scientific research project teams.
Science and humanistic disciplines: a wall to break
The scientific community needs the help of the humanists. Humanists, as
well as social structures, need the help of the scientific community.
All co-operations and cross fertilizations between these communities
are highly auspicious.
3. SPACE DEVELOPMENT
Scope and Purpose
Modelling our new-humanistic vision of a Greater Earth, our main
purpose is to nurture and expand human activities beyond Earth's
athmosphere, in order to harness the resources there available. This is
our clear political choice and commitment, against any future conflict
for the control of the decreasing terrestrial resources.
We identify those resources contained or transient within the
gravitational sphere of Greater Earth as natural resources belonging to
Humanity, and thus subject to utilization for its benefit. This
includes the energy passing through this sphere as well as the physical
resources of the Moon and various asteroids.
All Humanity is strategically interested in the expansion of human
activities into Greater Earth and beyond and in the acquisition and use
of the therein available resources to fight its impoverishment, its
disenfranchising and oppression, the degradation of the Biosphere and
the destruction of terrestrial life forms.
We recognize the urgency of exploring, acquiring and utilizing the
resources within Greater Earth for the survival of all terrestrial
Life. Furthermore, a failure to utilize the natural territory of
Greater Earth will result in the eventual decline and destruction of
the present human civilization.
We envision the following strategic goals:
1.Space Power Systems on the Moon and/or in Orbit (see MMS short paper
on this topic); 2.Permanent industrial and scientific settlements on
the Moon and artificial orbiting platforms; 3.Artificial Small
Ecosystems research settlements on the Moon and/or in Orbit; 4.Orbital
and lunar defenses against potential impacts by other celestial bodies;
5.Orbital Medical Research Centers and hospital complex; 6.A Shielded
Astronomical Observatory compound at appropriate loaction (e.g. SE-L2).
We emphasize the importance of the Astrobiological aspects of space
research into the development of new ecosystems, to sustain Life within
the boundaries of Greater Earth and to spread Life beyond its borders.
Point of Liberation
We indicate that the radius of Greater Earth is delimited by the "Point
of Liberation", for the spread of Life originating on Earth throughout
Significance of Astronautics
We assert the importance of related space developments as they
interface with all other aspects of human endeavors within Greater
Promotion of the Greater Earth's economy
We believe that all means are to be used, private and governmental, to
develop a new economy based on the occupation and exploitation of
Greater Earth. All the means that encourage and give rise to human
creativity, association, and reaching forward to occupy this new
territory should be promoted.
We maintain that developing the environment of Greater Earth will not
only enhance prosperity and well being of its occupants but will also
promote the survival of the species.
Specificity of the Greater Earth Economy
We believe that the economic aspects of the Greater Earth development
are quite different from anything before.
Historical vision of the economy
We believe that real wealth is not measured in monetary terms but in
human progress and potential human work. Humanity has never had such
great wealth before in its history.
Social aspects of Economy
Economy deals with inflation and depression, not only with Return of
Investment: the opening of a New Horizon will generate enthusiasm and
push the economy.
The Space Economy as trailer of the World Wide Economy
The emergence of a space-based economy and culture will rejuvenate the
terrestrial economy over the years, giving birth to a commonewealth far
greater than mere monetary investment.
Our beliefs are liberal, democratic, libertarian and antiauthoritarian.
We act in the interest of all humanity.
Evolutionary social behaviour
We aim for a new spirit of cooperation among all Humans as brothers and
We trust in the great capability of Life to industrialize and express
itself in its diversity. Humans, which are the highest expression of
Life and the dominant species on planet Earth, has the responsibility
to promote the survival and well being of all other Life which shares
We praise and promote the diversity of Nature in general. On Humanity
in Nature, we proclaim the value of all cultures. The next Einstein
could be born in a bidonville! We fight for the full realization of the
Defense of the Scientific Research
We reject the idea that Scientific and Technological research is guilty
of the environmental and ecological problems and any assumptions which
would limit progress in these areas.
Refuse of irrational solutions
We are against the idea that Humanity can resolve the environmental and
ecological problems by diminishing Scientifical and Technological
For an open scientific world
We defend an open concept of Scientific and Technological Research and
the universal dissemination of its results.
The human try-error-retry methodology
We claim that the Scientific Method belongs to the whole of Humanity,
and not only to an elite part of it. Even an illiterate farmer, when he
experiments with different ways to grow his plants, and takes note of
the results in his mind, applies the scientific method. The first
scientist started the Neolithic revolution!
We maintain that intelligence can and must be educated and incremented,
by all the humans. We need the help of all the complanetaries willing
to apply themselves to solve the Humanitys problems.
We propose that the opportunities of Greater Earth should be shared
Reject of repressive practices
We reject and condemn any repressive political practices that prohibit
the freedoms of expression and the rights to life, happiness,
prosperity and justice.
Call for help and assistance
We welcome all assistance to promote the vision and the potential of the
Greater Earth concept and the goals of the "GreaterEarth" society.
We accept the responsibility to take the discussion and the politics of
the Greater Earth concept to the general public.
6. GREATER EARTH INITIATIVE DEFINITION ACT
The Greater Earth initiative, without any other formality, is a common,
non-profit, initiative to which the Promoters refer, and not an
The present definition act is not aimed, in any way, to disable future
constitutions of societies, consortia, or associations, or anyway
better defined acts, among the promoters, in the name of the Greater
Promoters of the Greater Earth Initiative are the following
organizations and individuals:
Spage Age Associates (UK) Technologies of Frontier (IT) Adriano
Autino (TF) Michael Martin Smith (SAA) Daniel Christlein (SAA)
We look forward to know your thought about our Manifesto and, possibly,
to receive your signature, to be added to the list of the Greater
IF YOU WANT TO:
Sign up the Greater Earth Manifesto (please specify if we can issue
your signature online) Send us your comments, appreciations, critics
Take contact with the Greater Earth Initiative Engage yourself or your
Organization to sustain the Greater Earth Initiative Help in any way
the Greater Earth project
Please mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, or
CCCMENU CCC for 1998