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February 13, 2001 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-02-13

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2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 13, 2001


pacecraft lands on asteroid

Comets may be next
challenge for NASA

NEAR spacecraft touched down on the,
barren, rocky surface of Eros, success-
fully completing history's first landing
on an asteroid.
NEAR's landing at about 3:05 p.m.
EST yesterday was confirmed when
Mission Control received a beacon
signal from the craft resting on the sur-
face of Eros, some 196 million miles
from Earth.
"I am happy to report that the
NEAR has touched down," said
Robert Farquhar, mission director.
"We are still getting signals. It is still
transmitting from the surface."
Engineers watching from monitors
from Mission Control broke into
applause at confirmation of history's
first landing of a manmade object on
an asteroid. The mission, controlled by
the Johns Hopkins University Applied
Physics Laboratory, also was the first
into deep space operated by a non-
NASA center.
NEAR flawless performed five
rocket firings, starting yesterday morn-
ing, to drop it out of a 15-mile orbit of
Eros and slow it toward the surface.
Early indications are that Mission con-
trol completed its plan to guide NEAR
to a feather-like touchdown by slowing
its velocity, relative to the surface of
the asteroid, to about the speed of a
fast walk, 3 to 5 miles an hour.
The landing completes a five-year,
2-billion-mile mission for the robot
craft and boosts the technical experi-
ence in putting spacecraft on objects

with extremely light gravity.
"This gives us a lot of practice," said
Ed Weiler, NASA's chief scientist.
"We'll eventually want to land on
comets because they hold the clues to
Weiler said the experience gained in
the NEAR landing attempt on Eros
can be applied in about a decade when
NASA may launch a landing mission
to a comet.
NEAR became the first spacecraft to
orbit an asteroid when it arrived at
Eros, an object named for the Greek
god of love, on Valentine's Day last
year. The mission had been scheduled
to end tomorrow, the anniversary of
achieving orbit.
Farquhar said it was decided to
attempt the landing to squeeze a final
bit of science out of the $223 million
No matter bow the landing attempt
ended, Weiler said, earlier, NEAR was
"a total success. It returned 10 times
more data than expected."
Officials targeted NEAR to land on
Eros at the edge of a deep depression
called Himeros. Scientists picked this
spot because it is thought to be on the
edge of two different geologic forma-
During the final hours of its descent,
NEAR furiously took pictures of Eros'
surface as it drew closer and closer.
Scientists hoped the final shots before
impact would clearly show rocks as
small as a fist, an unprecedented close-
up view of an asteroid.

Clinton considering office in Harlem
After drawing fire for plans to spend $800,000 a year to lease office space in
midtown Manhattan, former President Clinton has abandoned the deal and is
considering cheaper office space in Harlem, a spokeswoman said yesterday.
"He wanted to go to a place where he could be a good neighbor and be wel*
comed by the neighborhood as well," said Julia Payne, a spokeswoman for Clin-
ton's Washington transition office.
Payne said Clinton was looking at about 8,000 square feet on West 125th
Street, the main thoroughfare of the neighborhood in upper Manhattan. Neither
Clinton's office nor the building owner would comment on what the space might
cost the former president.
Rep. Charles Rangel, a Harlem Democrat, said he had been in contact with
Clinton about leasing space in the neighborhood over the weekend. Rangel
referred to the office space as "state-of-the-art."
A proposed deal for office space on West 57th Street in Carnegie Towers,
where Clinton's rent would have been about $800,000, drew fire from congres-
sional and other critics over its high cost. Like other ex-presidents, Clinton'
post-White House office is paid for by taxpayers. Last week, Clinton volunteered
that his philanthropic foundation would cover $300,000 of the rent.
Palestinians threaten escalation of violence
Palestinian gunmen yesterday threatened to step up violence to wreck Israeli
Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon's promises of security. Israeli soldiers killed
two Palestinians in what witnesses called unprovoked shootings.
In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians and Israeli troops fought a protracted gun batt
that wounded eight Palestinians and left dozens of others overcome by smoky
bombs used by Israeli soldiers.
Shooting incidents over the past two days marked an escalation after a relative
lull in recent weeks. Sharon has not yet taken office but his advisers warned that
once he was in power, Israel would retaliate more harshly than it has under his
predecessor, Ehud Barak.
Coalition negotiations between Sharon's Likud faction and Barak's Labor
Party resumed yesterday. The two sides agreed that a joint government would
only seek an interim accord with the Palestinians, not a final peace deal.
Likud and Labor are at odds over how specific a coalition agreement should
be. Labor wants details, particularly regarding peace negotiations, while Likud
wants to make do with a general outline.

The NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft landed inside the above circle yesterday on the
asteroid 433 Eros, marking the first unmanned touchdown on an asteroid.

"In those final images, we'll be see-
ing objects that are just a few inches in
resolution," said Andrew Cheng, chief
project scientist of NEAR.
Farquhar had warned in advance
that landing NEAR on Eros is exquis-
itely "tricky."
NEAR was not designed to land
anywhere. Shaped like tin can attached
to four solar panels, the craft was not
equipped with wheels or braces to
absorb the landing force.
Weiler commented, "This is not a
landing. It is a controled crash."

Eros has very light gravity, about
one-thousandth that of Earth, which
means that an object such as NEAR,
weighing 1,100 pounds on Earth,
would weigh only slightly over a
pound in the gravity field of Eros. A
quarter, dropped from head-high on
Eros, would take five seconds to fall to
the surface.
Weiler said the final descent of
NEAR was actually slower than the
asteroid's rotation and there was risk
that the spinning space rock could
actually swat the craft back into orbit.

Bush promises
~ -~The Washington Post


FORT STEWART, Ga. - President Bush
promised yesterday that the nation will "do better"
by its military and sought to boost soldiers' morale
by promising pay raises and improved services after
what he has called eight years of neglect.
In his first visit to a military installation as com-
mander-in-chief, Bush flew to the largest Army base
east of the Mississippi River to put price tags on his
campaign promises for improving the lives of mili-
tary members and their families.
Bush drew the grunts' salute of "Hoo-ah!" as he
declared, "While you're serving us well, America is
not serving you well enough. Many in our military
have been over-deployed and underpaid."
Speaking on a parade ground in the damp of a

r pay raises
coastal Georgia morning, Bush basked in exuberant
shouts as he enumerated his bill of particulars about
the shortcomings of the military he has inherited.
"These problems, from low pay to poor housing,
reach across our military," Bush said. "The result is
predictable: Frustration is up; morale, in some
places, is difficult to sustain; recruitment is harder.
This is not the way a great nation should reward
courage and idealism. It's ungrateful, it's unwise, and
it is unacceptable. We will do better."
The total package Bush announced for the coming
budget year was $5.7 billion, including $3.9 billion
to improve military health benefits and $400 million
to improve military housing.
The president plans trips to bases each of the next
two days as part of his "national security week,"
designed to highlight his plans for the military.
to examine
bad calls by
Los Angeles Times

House asks whether
Rich has citizenship
A House committee yesterday asked
the State Department whether financier
Marc Rich remained a U.S. citizen dur-
ing his 17-year run from the law. The
question could have implications for
contributions that preceded Rich's 11Ith-
hour pardon by former President Clin-
ton. Rich, a naturalized citizen who
renounced his citizenship in 1982, has
lived in Switzerland since just before he
was indicted in New York on federal
charges in 1983.
Foreigners are barred from making
political donations in America. Thus,
if the government determines that Rich
legally renounced his citizenship, any
money he or his representatives donat-
ed to Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton
- now a senator from New York - or
other Democrats could be judged ille-
gal. The status of his citizenship could
affect where the House panel's inquiry
goes next.
Bush to name new
antritrust leader
A veteran antitrust enforcer who
helped draft the government's merger
guidelines is expected to be nominated
to head the Justice Department's
antitrust division, a Bush administra-
tion official said yesterday.
If named by President Bush and
confirmed by the Senate; Washing-
ton lawyer Charles A. James, 46,
would become the first black to head

the division permanently. He was
acting assistant attorney general in
charge of it for several months in
1992 during the first Bush adminis-
An administration official, request-
ing anonymity, said President Bush
was expected to announced James'
nomination later this week along wit
two other top Justice Departme
nominees, whose names were dis-
closed by administration officials last
Public blasts Mori
for, playing golf
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro
Mori was on the golf links Saturd
when he heard about the collisio
between an American submarine and
Japanese fishing ship carrying high
school students. He kept. playing.
His perseverance may have
improved his game, but his score at
home is dropping. The Japanese press
and even some of Mori's close politi-
cal allies have slammed the prime
minister's seemingly nonchalant rea
tion to the tragedy. The criticisms ha
sparked another round of Japan's most
popular political parlor game: specu-
lating about "when will he leave?"
"There's nothing like this golf case
that has grated the nerves of the Japan-
ese people so much," said political
analyst Minoru Morita. "They are real-
ly angry. But I think the top leadership
of the government lacks any sense of
- Compiled from Daily wire reporo

President Bush speaks to troops of the 3rd infantry
Division at Fort Stewart, Ga., yesterday.

WASHINGTON - When a con-
gressional committee grills the heads
of the five largest television networks
today about their error-plagued cover-
age of presidential election results,
this much will not be in dispute: The
networks screwed up.
Just about everything else about
election night will be in dispute.
Although committee Republicans
have billed their inquiry as bipartisan,
emotions still run deep along party
Whose candidate did the premature
calls of victory in Florida - first for
Democrat Al Gore and later for
Republican George W. Bush - dam-
age more?
Republicans argue that the net-
works' early call for Gore reflected a
built-in statistical bias in the exit
polls shared by the networks to pro-
ject the winner. And making that call
10 minutes before polls closed in the
Florida panhandle, they maintain, dis-
couraged Republicans from voting
there and in other states where the
polls were still open.
Democrats will focus on the net-
works' later but still premature deci-
sion to give the state to Bush. That
put Gore on the brink of publicly con-
ceding the election - he already had
made a concession call to Bush -
and contributed to a widespread per-
ception that the subsequent recount
was an effort to snatch the election
from Bush.
More generally, Democrats have
expressed dismay that the first and so
far only congressional hearing into


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