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Press Release
Media Contact: 800-787-7223 or press@space-frontier.org
Asteroid Hunters to Meet in Los Angeles, CA

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/.


The Space Frontier Foundation is an organization of people dedicated to opening the Space Frontier to human settlement as rapidly as possible. Our goals include protecting the Earth's fragile biosphere and creating a freer and more prosperous life for each generation by using the unlimited energy and material resources of space. Our purpose is to unleash the power of free enterprise and lead a united humanity permanently into the Solar System.

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Our definition of a "frontier enabling" technology or policy is one which has as its effect the acceleration of the creation of low cost access to the space frontier for private citizens and companies, enables or accelerates our use of space resources, and/or accelerates the rate at which wealth can be generated in space. In other words, is the project or policy going to provide a return on the national investment, if we define "return" to be the economically sustainable human habitation of space?

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