Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2001 15:11:10 -0500
Subject: DPS Mailing #01-50: ARECIBO FOLLOW-UP

Seasons Greetings DPS colleagues - 

       +------------------CONTENTS:------------------------------+
       |1) ARECIBO: FOLLOW-UP DPS PRESS RELEASE DEC. 21          |
       |2) ERRATUM ON DPS PRIZES                                 |    
       +---------------------------------------------------------+

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NASA REVISES DECISION ON RADAR ASTRONOMY AT ARECIBO

Dr. Colleen Hartman, Director of Solar System Exploration at NASA, has
issued a Dear Colleague letter revising NASA's earlier decision and has
restored funding for radar astronomy at Arecibo for the current fiscal
year.  Her letter is quoted below:

Dear Colleague,

After five years without any increase for inflation, the Supporting
Research and Technology (SR&T) Programs of NASA's Office of Space
Science have secured a modest FY 02 increase. This increase, while
welcome and necessary, cannot undo the effects of the previous period
of static funding.

The current budget for the Near Earth Objects Observations (NEOO)
program faces some especially difficult choices. Out of the entire FY
02 NEOO budget of $3.55M, a full $3M is committed to Search and
Follow-up observational programs designed to discover large NEOs or to
obtain follow-up astrometry of these objects (to improve our knowledge
of their orbits). This priority responds to a Congressional imperative
that the detection rate of Earth-orbit "crossing asteroids must be
increased substantially" (HR Report 105-610, 105th Congress 2d session.
p. 30,1990), and to NASA's own 1998 commitment to achieving the goal of
detecting and cataloging 90% of NEOs larger than 1 km in diameter
within ten years"

S-band radar planetary observation efforts at Arecibo remain a valuable
part of this commitment, and will continue to be funded with $400K in
FY 02. That support includes the cost of turbine fuel, observation
planning and operation of the S-band radar system, as well as
ephemerides predictions.

In order to bring these efforts into line with other elements of the
NEOO program, Arecibo's S-band radar observations will be subject from
now on to peer-review evaluation. Discussions will also be held with
the National Science Foundation to determine whether that agency might
provide additional funding for these observations.

Dr. Colleen N. Hartman
Director, Solar System Exploration
Office of Space Science

The DPS applauds this action and is grateful for the restoration of
this most important program. The DPS is also highly supportive of Dr.
Hartman's suggestion to broaden the support base for ground-based radar
astronomy with the NSF.

The DPS is the world's largest professional organization dedicated to
the exploration of the solar system.

Contact:

Dr. Wesley T. Huntress, Jr.
DPS Chair
202-478-8910
huntress@gl.ciw.edu

Dr. Richard P. Binzel
DPS Vice-Chair
617-253-6486 or
617-253-9317
rpb@mit.edu

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ERRATUM: DPS PRIZES

Item 2 in enews #01-49 contained an error in the date for the DPS
prizes.  Note that they are for 2002, not 2001 as indicated.

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                             Melissa McGrath, DPS Secretary-Treasurer
                                    submissions to: mcgrath@stsci.edu