Los Angeles, CA, September 21, 1998 – Somewhere out in space, a very large rock is hurtling towards the Earth. How long till “Armageddon”, and how deep will the impact be on our planet’s survival? Several top experts on asteroids and comets will meet at the Space Frontier Foundation’s 7th annual conference to discuss the state of our search for these potential planet killers, how they might be dealt with if one is found to be heading our way, and how we might turn their threat into a promise by mining them for precious resources. The conference will be held over Columbus Day weekend, October 9-11, 1998, at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, Los Angeles International Airport, CA.
“The effects of comet and asteroid impacts are potentially damaging to life in general, and to human civilization in particular,” said Dr. John Lewis, Codirector of the NASA/University of Arizona Space Engineering Research Center, author of the books Rain of Iron and Ice and Mining the Sky, and a scheduled speaker at the conference. “But the stick that threatens Earth is also a carrot. These same objects might prove to be sources of vast mineral and energy wealth to raise the living standard of people worldwide. We only need to lift up our eyes and look at what surround us in space.”
Dr. Lewis will be joined by Spacewatch Project director Dr. Tom Gehrels, Dr. Eleanor Helin of NASA/JPL, Dr. David Morrison of NASA/Ames Research Center and other experts at a Friday evening reception sponsored by FINDS, the Foundation for the International Non-government Development of Space. The event will celebrate the creation of The Watch, a non-government effort to search for asteroids and comets that began with a $50,000 challenge grant from FINDS. The Watch intends to raise $1 million per year using a novel approach to be revealed at the event, and will presented awards to SKG Dreamworks and Disney Studios for their awakening of the public’s awareness of the dangers of asteroid impacts. The evening will start with a commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Apollo 7 mission. Attending the event will be astronauts such as Walter Cunningham, who flew on that mission, Dr. Buzz Aldrin (Apollo 11), Charles “Pete” Conrad (Apollo 12) and Dr. Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17). The reception for conference attendees will be open to members of the press.
For more information on The Watch, go to: http://www.space-frontier.org/Projects/TheWatch/.