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Issue 12 Cover

Cosmic Search: Issue 12
(Volume 3 Number 4; Fall (Oct., Nov., Dec.) 1981)
[Article in magazine started on page 18]

By: Editors

"Space is an ocean rich with energy, materials and opportunity."

Space shuttle Following Columbia's epic flight, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., of California wrote COSMIC SEARCH as follows:

"I was proud and excited as I witnessed the spectacular launch and anding of the space Shuttle, Columbia. The frontier which this new vehicle opens up to us rivals the American frontier itself. If the past is an accurate teacher, I expect humanity to continue pioneering to the full extent of its collective imagination".

"These next few years are crucial ones for the space program and, unlike the early days, many nations are prepared to lead the way should we falter."

"I look forward to working with you to see that the United States asserts its leadership in exploring this new frontier for all humanity."

Edmund G. Brown Jr.

In the lead editorial in the New York Times of April 15, 1981, entitled "Space to Grow", Governor Brown commented that America prospers on the new and ingenious and that the space program has given us both. He said that the space shuttle is of profound importance and that there is no way that hunger, pollution and scarcity on the earth will be alleviated without extensive use of our developing technology in space. Governor Brown pointed out that space satellites now monitor forests, crops, soils, waterways, oceans and the atmosphere for their most efficient management and environmental control. Further, he said that locating ore deposits and other valuable earth resources is being accelerated by the broad view from space and that in the future we may be processing asteroids as a major mineral resource. Noting that communication satellites carrying our telephone conversations and radio and television programs are now common place, he said that the new shuttle-era technology will permit further quantum-jumps in capabilities because the larger and more sophisticated the equipment in space, the smaller the equipment required on the ground and more varied it can be, citing, for example, that home TV antennas for direct satellite reception will be able to shrink from 10 feet to 2 feet to wristwatch scale.

In conclusion Governor Brown said,

"Space, far from its popular image as a useless vacuum, is an ocean rich with energy, materials and opportunity."
"It is fitting that as we grapple with enviromental and economic limits on Earth, we also explore a wider horizon of possibilities in space."

Buckminster Fuller, futurist, scientist and inventor of the geodesic dome, celebrated his 86th birthday July 7 at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. It was a surprise party attended by many notables. In a little speech at the party Fuller commented that humans, like bees, were introduced into the universe for an important purpose. Bees get honey and perform cross-pollinization. Humans, as part of a grand design, implement the laws of the universe.

In his book "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth", Fuller once had the following to say about "Piano Tops":

"I am enthusiastic over humanity's extraordinary and sometimes very timely ingenuities. If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top that comes along may make a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday's fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem." (From "Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth", E. P. Dutton, 1978).


V. S. Troitsky and S. O. Kuzmin announce that a symposium on "The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence" will be held in Tallin, (Estonia) USSR, December 7 to 12, 1981. Dr. Troitsky is chairman and Dr. Kuzmin is Secretary of the organizing committee. The SETI-81 symposium is jointly sponsored by the Scientific Council on Radio Astronomy of the USSR Academy of Sciences and the Astronomy Society of the Estonian SSR. The SETI-81 symposium will continue a tradition begun in 1964 by the SETI conference held at the Byurakan Observatory in Armenia. The SETI-81 Symposium will be divided into 5 parts:

1. Origin of Life in the Universe.
2. Development of Extraterrestrial Civilizations at the Space-Time Intervals.
3. Modes of the Search.
4. Extrasolar Planetary Systems.
5. Current and Long-range SETI Projects.

It is hoped that about 100 scientists will take part. Anyone interested in participating or attending should communicate with Dr. S.O. Kuzmin, Foreign Secretary, Scientific Council on Radio Astronomy, Karl Marx Prospect 18, 103907 Moscow GSP-3, USSR.

A panel of the National Academy of Sciences has advised against building a Satellite Power System to provide electric power on the Earth as too expensive and uncertain to undertake during the next decade. The plan envisioned building huge structures, many kilometers long, in space to collect the sun's energy, then convert this into radio waves and beam them to enormous stations on the Earth where the radio power would finally be converted to 60 hertz and fed into the national power grid. The many conversions necessary to get the power to a user on the Earth reduce the overall efficiency of the system.

Some critics of the Satellite Power System have pointed out that it might be more cost-effective to move those industrial processes that require large amounts of power into space and to collect and utilize the power right there with attendant reduction in the power requirements on the Earth.

"Those who can, build. Those who can't, criticize." Robert Moses (1888-1981), New York's master builder of parks, bridges, highways and architect of the future.

A Saturn Conference is to be held at TUCSON, ARIZONA, May 11-15, 1982, for the purpose of bringing together the results of recent space missions, earth based observations and theoretical studies. People interested in participating or attending, should contact M. S. Mathews, Lunar Lab, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721. (Tel. 602-626-2902).

Michael D. Papagiannis of Boston University is the editor of a new book on SETI, which is the proceedings of the SETI cnference of the International Astronomical Union held in Montreal in 1980. Papagiannis was Chairman of the committee which organized the conference and he reported its highlights in COSMIC SEARCH (Winter 1980, Serial No. 5). The proceedings should interest a wide range of people ranging from professional astronomers to educated laymen fascinated by the possibility of finding life outside the Earth. The book should also be valuable to students taking courses on SETI. Published by D. Reidel Publishing Co. of Dordrecht, London and Boston the book has 276 pages and costs $14.95 in paperbound form.

According to an announcement by Carl Sagan, The Planetary Society plans to direct its efforts to assure a full consideration of a space probe to Halley's comet in 1985-86.

A Halley intercept mission is considered to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to examine at close range the most famous comet in history. Halley's comet, a huge ball of ice with dust cloud and tail, returns every 76 years and when it last passed in 1910, brushing the Earth with its tail, millions panicked. Although a U.S. Halley probe had been planned by NASA, cost overruns on the space Shuttle forced NASA to drop the mission. Although the Soviet Union, Western Europe and Japan are all planning missions to Halley's comet, it would be most unfortunate if the U.S. did not also send a probe since there is much that may be learned from a comet about the processes that produced the sun and the Earth five billion years ago.

Another objective of the Planetary society will be to help support long-term radio searches for extra-terrestrial intelligence.

John Kraus


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