CCNet DIGEST, 27 August 1998

    David Morrison <>

    Andrew Yee <>

    Jim Benson <Jim@SpaceDev.Com>

    MSNBC Space News


    BBC Online Network

    C.I. Lagerkvist et al., ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY



From David Morrison <>

The goal of the Spacewatch Survey is to find 90% or more of the Near
Earth Asteroids (NEAs) within a decade. It is also a goal of NASA,
stated in the NASA Office of Space Science Strategic Plan, to
discover 90% of the NEAs within the next decade. This is a summary,
prepared in collaboration with Alan Harris of JPL, to see where we
stand today (mid-1998) in this effort. We will try to make further
updates at 6-month intervals and post them on the NASA Impact Hazard

For purposes of this discussion, NEAs with D > 1 km are equated to
asteroids with absolute H magnitude less than or equal to 18.5, with
perihelion distances less than 1.3 AU. There are approximately 2000
NEAs estimated to exist that fit this definition.  Other definitions
of NEAs (or ECAs, Earth-Crossing Asteroids, or PHAs, Potentially
Hazardous Asteroids) are more restrictive and also require more
detailed analysis of their orbits. The present definition of an NEA,
however, together with the estimate of 2000 total NEAs, is sufficient
to asses the current performance of the survey.

Note that many of the NEAs discovered are smaller than 1 km (H >
18.5). Any survey system will discover as many or more small
asteroids as large ones. But we will consider only asteroids larger
than 1 km, since these are the most dangerous, and the metric for
success of the survey is defined in terms of objects with D > 1 km.

The three most successful searches during the past year have been
LINEAR (the Lincoln Laboratory NEA survey of the US Air Force), NEAT
(the NEA survey carried out jointly by JPL and the USAF), and
Spacewatch (the search carried for more than a decade at the
University of Arizona). Together they accounted for more than 85% of
the discoveries.  LINEAR has dominated the recent growth, going from 
0 to 4 to 16 NEAs (D > 1 km) in the last three 6-month periods.

The table below shows 38 NEAs larger than 1 km discovered from July
1997 through June 1998. There was a marked increase in discovery rate
over this period, from 11 NEAs discovered in the first 6 months to 27
in the most recent 6 months.

In a ten-year survey expected to detect 90% of this NEA population,
we must discover just over 20% in the first year, with the rate
declining exponentially thereafter as greater completion is reached
and more of the objects found are rediscoveries. Therefore, to
achieve the stated Spaceguard goal of finding 90% of the 2000 NEAs in
a decade, we must increase the discovery rate by approximately a
factor of 12 over the average for the past 12 months, or a factor of
9 over the average of the past 6 months. Searchers have just now
pulled within an order of magnitude of the required discovery rate,
with another factor of 10 needed to implement the Spaceguard Survey.

David Morrison


Discoverer 12 month 1997-2 1998-1
LINEAR 20 4 16
NEAT 9 4 5
Spacewatch 4 1 3
Other 5 2 3
Total 38 11 27

(Total required to implement the Spaceguard Survey: >400 discoveries/year)


From Andrew Yee <>

Los Alamos National Laboratory

CONTACT: Ternel Martinez, 505-665-7778


LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Aug. 25, 1998 -- Scientists at Los Alamos National
Laboratory recently finished testing their part of a space instrument
designed to give a better understanding of the compositions of comets
and asteroids, and delivered the instrument for eventual integration
with the NASA spacecraft.

Los Alamos' Plasma Experiment for Planetary Exploration instrument is
a joint effort with Southwest Research Institute that is part of
NASA's New Millennium Deep Space One mission, whose primary role is
to validate new technologies that will allow NASA to better conduct
future science missions.

PEPE combines two spectrometers into one package. The first
spectrometer analyzes the energy and mass of ions and the direction
in which they are traveling; the second spectrometer analyzes the
energy and angular distribution of electrons coming from all
directions in space. Together, the measurements give scientists a
better understanding of the state and composition of plasma the
spacecraft encounters.

"PEPE is so versatile that it can be used almost anywhere in our
solar system. It can analyze everything from comet and asteroid
composition to the compositions of planetary bodies and moons. It
could even tell you if a nuclear or chemical explosion took place in
the upper atmosphere or in space," said PEPE Project Leader Beth
Nordholt of the Space and Atmospheric Sciences Group. Seventeen
researchers from this group and the Space Engineering Group worked on
the PEPE project.

The Laboratory was responsible for constructing the "guts" of PEPE,
including its accelerator region, front-end electronics board, ion
microchannel plate and time-of-flight mass analysis section, said

The Deep Space One mission also will determine if the spacecraft's
innovative ion propulsion system will have any adverse affects on the
instruments' ability to make space physics measurements. "Ion
thrusters allow spacecraft to go as much as ten times faster than
spacecraft using chemical thrusters. They're also more efficient, so
you need less fuel," explained Nordholt.

"The problem is, the ion thrusters will introduce plasma into the
surrounding environment and interact with the solar wind, and no one
knows for sure what that may do to the spacecraft or PEPE," she
added. Ion propulsion systems typically are used by communications
companies to reposition their communications satellites in orbit, but
until now never have been used for any extended space flight.

To study this effect, PEPE features three micro-electromechanically
machined calorimeters, provided by Stanford University, that will
measure contaminant deposition on the spacecraft's surface and help
researchers better understand plasma/surface interactions.

The force of the ion propulsion system that will be used on Deep
Space One is so small that the push it gives the spacecraft is
analogous to the weight of a single piece of notebook paper resting
in a person's hand. However, the spacecraft accelerates very gently.
To go from 0 to 60 mph would take the spacecraft two-and-a-half days.

Nordholt and her colleagues recently shipped PEPE to Southwest
Research Institute, which now will put the finishing touches on PEPE
and eventually ship it to NASA's Kennedy Space Flight Center for a
scheduled Oct. 15 launch date. PEPE should by July 1999 make contact
with the first of three objects -- an asteroid and two comets -- to
determine their compositions.

"The major benefits of PEPE are that it can provide nearly the same
kind of performance as the equivalent instruments on board Cassini
for approximately 30 percent of the mass and 25 percent of the power
and cost," said Nordholt. Cassini was a joint NASA/European Space
Agency effort; it launched last October on a mission to study the
composition of the rings of Saturn and the moons orbiting within its
magnetic field.

PEPE has no moving parts and weighs about 13 pounds, which translates
into greatly reduced thrust and power requirements, said Nordholt. By
comparison, Cassini's plasma spectrometer alone weighed about 50
pounds. Another major benefit is PEPE's versatility, for its
instruments can measure the energy and mass per charge and velocity
distributions of ions and electrons simultaneously. Mass
spectrometers separate and thus identify ions or ionic fragments of
the substance being measured based on their mass-to-charge ratios.

PEPE cost about $3.6 million and took about two years to build and
test. It is one of two principal instruments on the Deep Space One
mission, the other instrument being a miniature integrated camera and
spectrometer, provided by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Twelve
advanced technologies overall make up the mission.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is managed by the University of
California for the U.S. Department of Energy.


From Jim Benson <Jim@SpaceDev.Com>


Here is the summary of the other half of Tony Spear's NEAP findings.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to all the scientists, engineers and
NASA personnel who have been and continue to be so supportive of this
pioneering and hopefully historic venture.


Jim Benson

Project Assessment Team Declares SpaceDev NEAP Feasible

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- SpaceDev (OTC Bulletin Board: SPDV
- news), the world's first commercial space exploration and
development company, announced that a team of independent reviewers
has concluded that the Near Earth Asteroid Prospector (NEAP) mission
design, spacecraft design, and project budget are feasible.

The Project Assessment Team was led by Tony Spear, Mars Pathfinder
Project Manager, who recently retired from NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory (JPL) after thirty years of successful deep space science
missions. The team consisted of Spear's hand picked deep space
experts from various organizations including JPL.

``We commissioned Mr. Spear's study because we believe his team
consists of some of the most respected and accomplished deep-space
experts in the world,'' said Jim Benson, president and chief
executive officer of SpaceDev.

The team concluded that the NEAP mission conceptual design is sound
and the mission could be flown within $50 million, including launch
cost. ``We are pleased with their findings and we intend to use Mr.
Spear's report as a roadmap to complete this mission on time and
within our original $50 million estimate announced in September of
last year,'' said Benson.

Spear's team made several specific recommendations for optimizing the
NEAP spacecraft to the Nereus carbonaceous asteroid target, the new
NEAP target selected as a result of the Spear study. Mission
recommendations included possibly adding revenue-producing lunar or
near-Earth payloads that could be accommodated in the early parts of
the mission, simplifying the avionics architecture, and designing a
schedule based on Spear's years of deep space science mission

``Mr. Spear recommended a pre-project phase to initiate detailed
project planning and design, project team forming, and long lead
procurements,'' Benson commented. ``This pre-project phase would
extend from September 1998 to April 1999. At that time a two-year
development phase would start, supporting the planned launch date in
April 2001.''

One member of the team, Dr. Robert Farquhar of Johns Hopkins
University's Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), recommended
fundamental simplifications to the propulsion system that could
result in a more reliable and less expensive solution. Dr. Farquhar
is the Mission Director of APL's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous
(NEAR) project. He validated and refined the mission and trajectory
design work that was pioneered by Dr. Alan Schneider at the
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in the early design phases
of the NEAP mission. Dr. Farquhar's input reduced deep space
cruise time by four months.

Dr. Farquhar and Dr. Donald Yeomans, a senior research scientist at
JPL, first identified Nereus as one of the most scientifically
interesting objects that NEAP could visit. The pair also performed a
preliminary analysis of the possible trajectory available to NEAP to
reach Nereus and concluded that such a mission would need relatively
little fuel and little time. Both features lead to a simpler, smaller
spacecraft than was first anticipated.

``We were truly fortunate to have so many of the world's leading
scientists and engineers provide their expertise to this mission
design, and we fully intend to utilize the advice they have provided
us,'' added Benson. ``Overall, these recommendations, and the choice
of Nereus as the 'quintessential' target asteroid have allowed us to
simplify and miniaturize the spacecraft, which we believe leads to a
less expensive and even more feasible mission. As an example, the
smaller NEAP spacecraft now being designed for Nereus can be launched
by a much wider variety of commercially available rockets, giving us
greater flexibility in selecting a low-cost launch provider.''

The new NEAP orbits could include close lunar swing-bys that could
serve as excellent practice runs for operations at Nereus. The
company plans to calculate as many lunar swing-bys as possible for
the nine months available, including half-month ``backflips'' and
double-lunar swing-by orbits similar to those used by the ISEE-3
spacecraft in 1983. Some of the swing-bys will be designed to fly as
close to the moon as is safely possible, and perhaps fly low over
polar craters where lunar water is believed to exist. It is intended
that the injection from the parking orbit will be directed into a
high- altitude ``phasing'' orbit whose apogee would be only slightly
beyond the moon's orbit.

SpaceDev, the world's first commercial space exploration and
development company, intends to launch the first privately financed
spacecraft to land on another planetary body. SpaceDev is selling
rides for scientific instruments to governments and companies to
transport their instruments and experiments through deep space to a
near Earth asteroid. SpaceDev intends to sell the data acquired by
its instruments as commercial products. Colorado-based SpaceDev has
offices in San Diego, CA and Washington, DC.

The foregoing press release includes numerous forward-looking
statements concerning the company's business and future prospects and
other similar statements that do not concern matters of historical
fact. The federal securities laws provide a limited ``safe harbor''
for certain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in
this press release relating to product development, business
prospects and development of a commercial market for technological
advances are based on the company's current expectations. The
company's current expectations are subject to all of the
uncertainties and risks customarily associated with new business
ventures including, but not limited to, market conditions, successful
product development and acceptance, competition and overall economic
conditions, as well as the risk of adverse regulatory actions. The
company's actual results may differ materially from current
expectations. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on
forward-looking statements. The company disclaims any intent or
obligation to update publicly these forward-looking statements,
whether as a result of new information, future events or for any
other reason.

Note: News releases and other information on SpaceDev can be accessed
at or on the

          SpaceDev - NEAP (Near Earth Asteroid Prospector)
-o-  Commercial Space Exploration & Development of Space Resources  -o-
     -o-  Info@SpaceDev.Com

New plan calls for private firm to send probe in 2002

By Alan Boyle
From MSNBC Space News

Aug. 25 — Drawing on advice from a Mars Pathfinder veteran, a San
Diego company has shifted its focus for a privately financed mission
to an asteroid. SpaceDev’s new target is called Nereus, and the new
time frame for the encounter would be 2002. The company’s founder
also hinted that the new trajectory would allow for lunar

IM BENSON, president and chief executive officer of SpaceDev, couched
his statements cautiously Tuesday because of questions raised by
the Securities and Exchange Commission about some of SpaceDev’s past

But he voiced enthusiasm about the revised mission plan. “From an
energy point of view and a science point of view, it’s a pretty
exciting mission,” Benson said.

SpaceDev first announced its intent to launch a Near Earth Asteroid
Prospector almost a year ago, with the idea of gaining revenue from
the sale of slots for scientific packages as well as data. Benson
said three teams of researchers are seeking NASA funding for
experiments that would fly on the probe for a price.

The initial plan called for the NEAP probe to be launched sometime
during 2000 toward one of several asteroids, but a study conducted
for SpaceDev by Mars Pathfinder project manager Tony Spears concluded
that Nereus was a much more attractive target, Benson said.

Benson cited “the potential of finding water and carbon compounds on
the asteroid, and the unique chance to compare on-site measurements
with ground-based measurements from Nereus’ close approach to Earth.”

Nereus, which is less than a mile in diameter, is due to pass within
about 2.5 million miles of Earth in January 2002. SpaceDev’s new plan
calls for NEAP to be launched on April 3, 2001, remain in the
Earth-moon system until January 2002, then rendezvous with Nereus in
April 2002. Benson said the new trajectory could allow for “lunar
flybys,” perhaps enabling researchers to learn more about the moon’s
water reserves.

SpaceDev says it intends to gather data using a multiband CCD camera,
a neutron spectrometer and perhaps an alpha X-ray spectrometer aboard
the probe — then sell that data to researchers.

The company is also offering space aboard NEAP for additional
instruments. Benson said Carnegie Mellon University and NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory have proposed sending a shoebox-sized
“nanorover” down to the asteroid’s surface, Utah State University
researchers are seeking to place a laser altimeter and 3-D mapper
aboard the probe, and the University of California at Berkeley has
proposed including a gamma ray burst detector.

NASA is considering such proposals as part of a months-long review
process. If NASA gives the go-ahead, SpaceDev would get a cut of the
money provided to the researchers.

Benson said the fixed prices charged by SpaceDev are a third of the
cost of what NASA is currently paying for similar data from similar
missions. “We’re bringing home the bacon for a third of the cost,” he

There are still a number of uncertainties surrounding the mission,
including the SEC’s claims that SpaceDev made misleading statements
about its future earnings and its arrangements with NASA. Benson has
disputed the agency’s allegations and said the matter would be
considered during a future hearing before an administrative law

“Hopefully we’re going to get through this thing pretty quickly,” he
said. Benson and Spears aren’t the only ones who have identified
Nereus as an attractive target for study. The asteroid also has been
mentioned as a potential target for Japan’s MUSES-C probe, which
would land on an asteroid and bring a sample back to Earth sometime
in the next decade. The most recently announced mission plan calls
for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to provide a nanorover for

Nereus isn’t the only potential target for MUSES-C: Mission planners
are also considering sending the Japanese probe to Asteroid 1989 ML.
SpaceDev engineer Terrance Yee indicated that his company was in
contact with MUSES-C planners and that the two missions appeared to
be complementary. “We’ll proceed with our mission in any case,” Yee
Copyright 1998, MSNBC


Special to

It rolled ashore thundering like a jet aircraft taking off, and
people watched in horror as the wall of water erased their homes and
swept thousands to their deaths.

Some thought they were being punished for their sins as the tsunami
swept across Papua New Guinea on July 17, leaving only shattered
boards where a village once flourished.

Others thought a giant explosion caused the wave, which towered more
than 40 feet. Some survivors reported seeing sparks fly from the
water and thought the ocean was on fire.

Costas Synolakis, professor of civil engineering at the University of
Southern California, led a team of U.S. scientists to Papua New
Guinea to see what they could learn from a tsunami that, according to
the textbooks, never should have happened.

“It was an eye-opener,” Synolakis says. Synolakis had led other
post-tsunami expeditions in the past, but this one was different
because the villagers spoke English so the team didn’t have to rely
on the filtered testimony of government officials. “Now we could
understand the horror directly,” he says. But when it was all over,
Synolakis was left with questions of his own.

A Surprise

The earthquake that preceded the tsunami had a magnitude of 7, which
scientists didn’t think was powerful enough to trigger such a
devastating wave. Underestimating the threat of tsunamis from even
moderate earthquakes could mean much of the west coast of North
America is more vulnerable than had been thought.

His team, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, went on a
purely scientific expedition, but the mission soon included educating
the locals. One top government official pleaded with the scientists
to help his people understand they were not being punished “for the
impiety of some people,” as he put it.

So they took time off from the difficult task of reconstructing the
tsunami and tried to explain to the locals they weren’t to blame.
Particularly troubling was the question from a 15-year-old schoolgirl
who asked about a “mountain of water with fire sparkles.” Many of the
victims had what appeared to be severe burns, suggesting that the
water was on fire.

The tsunami hit about an hour after sundown, and the waters of the
South Pacific are rich with dinoflagellates and other bioluminescent
microorganisms that light up when disturbed.

Sparkle Like Fire

“In the darkness, it may well have caused the water to sparkle like
fire,” he says.

And the burn marks were caused by friction, not fire, as the victims
were swept through the turbulent waters.

“I found that most people felt more reassured to hear that this is a
natural event and it will happen again sometime in the future” rather
than being fed an empty promise that it’ll never happen again,
Synolakis says.

In a report to the science foundation, team member Emile Okal,
professor of geophysics at Northwestern University, notes that there
are about 10 magnitude 7 earthquakes every year. Normally they don’t
produce tsunamis.

“Of the nine large tsunamis that have occurred in the past six years,
only the New Guinea one resulted from an earthquake as small as
magnitude seven,” Okal says.

The wave hit five to 10 minutes after the quake. “It is possible the
wave was breaking as it attacked” the narrow spit of land between the
villages of Arop and Sisano, Okal says.

But the earthquake was on the beach, not offshore, so what could have
caused such a large displacement of water that produced a tsunami?
Okal believes the quake triggered a huge landslide offshore.

Kick the Bucket

“A tsunami is like kicking a bucket of water,” he says. “You can make
ripples at the surface by kicking or deforming the bottom of the
bucket. This is what happens during an earthquake. The ocean floor is
deformed and the water is kicked around.”

An offshore landslide could do the same thing by “kicking the bucket”
and changing the contour of the bottom, “which gives rise to
extremely turbulent motions.”

If that scenario is correct—“we cannot explain it otherwise,” Okal
says—then other areas of the world are more vulnerable than had been
thought. He cites, for example, the west coast of Canada, and
particularly the Fraser River basin. That large river has deposited a
mountain of sediments along the coast.

“All that sediment just piles up in structures that are probably
quite unstable,” he says.

A moderate earthquake might be all it would take to cause the
mountain to slump, generating a powerful tsunami.

The same scenario could also play out in Southern California,
according to Synolakis, who lives in the coastal community of Venice.
A moderate quake could cause an offshore landslide, which could send
a wall of water crashing into the thousands of people who visit those
beaches on summer days.

One of the Deadliest

The death toll in Papua New Guinea may never be known precisely, but
it is expected to approach 3,000, making the tsunami one of the most
deadly of the century.

The coastal land there is so flat that the victims “had no place to
run,” Okal says.

Their best hope is to build their homes farther back from the beach,
but that message never seems to catch on, even in sophisticated parts
of the world like Southern California.

So what’s left to do?

When the tsunami hits, the scientists advise, run as far from the
beach as possible. And if that won’t do it. climb a tree, preferably
one with deep roots. But if Papua New Guinea is like just about any
place else, by the time it happens again, those warnings will have
long been forgotten.

Copyright 1998, ABCNews


From BBC Online Network

A powerful new version of Boeing's Delta 3 rocket exploded shortly
after blasting off from Cape Canaveral on its maiden flight on

The $225m mission to put in orbit a private Galaxy 10 US communications
satellite, operated by PanAmSat Corp., ended in a bright flash of flame
and burning debris just one minute and 20 seconds after the rocket
lifted off at 2117 (EDT).

The mission had been delayed for two days because of Hurricane Bonnie,
and Boeing was eager to get the rocket off the launch pad before
Hurricane Danielle threatened a crucial tracking station on the island
of Antigua in the Caribbean.

The new booster was designed to haul twice as much cargo as its
predecessor, the Delta 2. 

The rocket was designed to compete against Europe's Ariane and the US
Lockheed Martin Atlas rockets for lucrative commercial launch

The Galaxy 10 communications satellite was designed to beam television
channels to cable operators across the United States and the Caribbean.

Copyright 1998, BBC


C.I. Lagerkvist, I. Belskaya, A. Erikson, V. Schevchenko, S. Mottola,
V. Chiorny, P. Magnusson, A. Nathues, J. Piironen: Physical studies
of asteroids - XXXIII. The spin rate of M-type asteroids. ASTRONOMY &
ASTROPHYSICS SUPPLEMENT SERIES, 1998, Vol.131, No.1, pp.55-62


The results from photometric lightcurve observations of nine M-type
asteroids are presented. New rotation periods were determined for 6
asteroids: 217 Eudora (12.54 h), 322 Phaeo (17.56 h), 572 Rebekka
(5.65 h), 757 Portland (6.58 h), 857 Glasenappia (8.23 h) and 872
Holda (7.20 h), B - V colour measurements of seventeen previously
unclassified asteroids add seven asteroids to the known M-type
population. An excess of fast rotators among M-type asteroids
compared to asteroids of other taxonomic types is evident. The six
asteroids with slow spin rates, but hitherto classified as M, are
shown to have classification parameters untypical for the M-type
population. Copyright 1998, Institute for Scientific Information Inc.


D. Vokrouhlicky: Diurnal Yarkovsky effect as a source of mobility of
meter-sized asteroidal fragments - I. Linear theory. ASTRONOMY AND
ASTROPHYSICS, 1998, Vol.335, No.3, pp.1093-1100


A linear theory for the heat conduction in a spherical, solid and
rotating body illuminated by solar radiation is developed in detail.
The principal aim is to compute the recoil force, due to thermally
reemitted radiation, which is commonly known as the ''Yarkovsky
force''. We concentrate on the thermal effect which depends on the
rotational period of a body rather than on the period of revolution
around the Sun and deal with the general case of an arbitrary
obliquity of the spin axis to the orbital plane. This ''diurnal''
thermal effect is considered to be an important source of mobility
for meter-sized stony asteroidal fragments in the main belt. We
compare our results with those of previous authors and show that the
results of Peterson (1976) are accurate for meter-sized asteroidal
bodies (although he used unrealistically long rotation periods).
Copyright 1998, Institute for Scientific Information Inc.

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