The Scout Report for Science & Engineering - September 27, 2000

September 27, 2000

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison

The target audience of the new Scout Report for Science & Engineering is faculty, students, staff, and librarians in the life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering. Each biweekly issue offers a selective collection of Internet resources covering topics in the sciences, and related fields such as math and engineering, that have been chosen by librarians and content specialists in the given field of study.

The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is also provided via email once every two weeks. Subscription information is included at the bottom of each issue.

In This Issue


Learning Resources

General Interest

Current Awareness

New Data

In The News


Advanced Buildings: Technologies and Practices
Thermally broken balconies, Low-nox burners, greywater recycling, and indoor air biofilters are just a few of the aspects of energy-efficient building technologies found at this Website from Natural Resources Canada. Here users will find a well-organized index of topics subdivided into pages featuring descriptions, benefits and limitations, costs, building uses, and development statuses of 90 building technologies. Most pages contain color images and schematics of the technological design and links to related experts and industries for each technology. Also featured is an informative case study that takes an in-depth look at the technology and construction of Canada's first building built to meet the requirements of the C-2000 program (described at the site). A boolean-type search engine and links page are also provided. This is an excellent resource for engineers, architects, and builders concerned with designing and producing energy-efficient, waste- and water-reducing "smart" buildings. [HCS]
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Two Botanical Databases from the Natural History Museum
Sir Hans Sloane: Jamaican Botanical Collection
Paul Hermann: Plant Specimens and Drawings from Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
The Natural History Museum (London UK) has launched two magnificent new Websites dedicated to early botanical collectors Sir Hans Sloane and Paul Hermann. In addition to providing background information on the collectors and their significant botanical contributions, these sites allow users to view the collections "virtually" first-hand. Both databases are searchable and browseable (including thumbnail images), and contain specimens and drawings from the authors's important works during the 1600s and 1700s. Databases are accompanied by bibliographies, glossaries, and additional resources. [LXP]
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NetLib Repository
NetLib is a mathematical metasite maintained by AT&T Bell Laboratories, the University of Tennessee, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and by colleagues in the numerical, scientific computing, and other communities worldwide. This site furnishes links to software, documents, and databases. Most software and documents can be downloaded via either the Web, FTP, or Gopher. The master index of links can be viewed as a list of names with short descriptors, or users can perform on-site searches for resources. Some of NetLib's highlights include a conference database, a performance database server, and a list of the top 500 supercomputer sites. Server statistics, approximately 20 mirror sites, and "yesterday's top ten most accessed files at NetLib" are also offered. Because it contains so much information, NetLib can be tricky to navigate, but it offers "one stop shopping" for researchers looking for resources in mathematical and computer sciences. [HCS]
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Australian Paleontology
The Riversleigh Society hosts this site on Australian palaeontology. Named for an area of incredibly rich fossil resources in northwestern Queensland, Australia, the Riversleigh Society supports research through the Vertebrate Palaeontology Department of the University of New South Wales. The site includes a searchable directory of Australian palaeontologists, a geological time scale, history of the Australian continent, a series of excellent links to scientific journals and newsletters, and a collection of links specific to Australian paleontology. For those seeking information, resources, and recent news related to Australian (and other) palaeontology, palaeobotany, palynology, and palaeogeography, this Website is a fine resource. [LXP]
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Second Moment
Second Moment is a metasite for statistical and analytical research and applications. It is sponsored by Stone Analytics, a professional services firm specializing in applied analytics and predictive modeling for business. Geared toward both academia and industry, Second Moment provides links to online articles, course notes, research institutions's homepages, software, and more. The searchable site is divided into categories of data analysis: General, Regression and Smoothing, Multivariate, Sampling, Time Series, and Nonparametric. Just a few examples of resources that can be found include the Classification Society of America's homepage, bootstrap lectures from Wharton, the Library of Time Series Data, and free econometrics software for easy regression analysis. Second Moment also furnishes a news section and employment listings (free registration required). [HCS]
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Timber Product Output (TPO) Database Retrieval System -- USFS
First developed in 1997, the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) units of the USDA Forest Service provide the Timber Product Output (TPO) Database Retrieval System to track timber harvesting in the US. This national set of TPO data consists of "11 data variables that describe for each county the roundwood products harvested, the logging residues left behind, the timber otherwise removed, and the wood and bark residues generated by its primary wood-using mills." Data are provided at the regional, subregional, state, and county scales, with many updates listed for 1999. To access the data, read the detailed instructions and submit a query; data are given in table format, with multiple tables. Numerous color images showing 1996 county level TPO data supply additional information. [LXP]
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Learning Resources

Tundra-Cam [Java]
Tundra-Cam is brought to you by the University of Colorado's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR). At the TundraCam Website, users can control the webcam's motions in order to access panoramic views of the Colorado Front Range (Java, .gif, .jpeg). The camera is located at an elevation of 11,600 near the Continental Divide. It is above timberline on Niwot Ridge, about 25 miles west of Boulder, CO. The Java applet used by Tundra-cam was developed by Perceptual Robotics, Inc., and it allows the camera to pan, zoom, and be controlled by multiple users on the Web. Picture size, quality, and brightness are all modified with the click of a mouse. Tundra-cam is a unique interactive tool that can help students and researchers acquire of real-time snow, ice, and vegetation data. [HCS]
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UV Index -- EPA
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) have co-developed a predictive "UV Index," forecasting the next day's ultraviolet radiation levels on a 0-10+ scale. Searchable by zip-code, the UV Index calculates UV levels based on ozone levels and seasonal/ daily variations in the weather. In addition to the Index, the site offers a Text Bulletin (with 58 UV Index cities and corresponding daily forecast values), a Graphical Map (US map with daily UV Index values), and a Contoured Map (color-coded contour map showing intensity levels across the US). An educational section provides a wealth of additional information on UV and health effects. [LXP]
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Two on Crystallography:
Interactive Tutorial About Diffraction
Commission on Crystallographic Teaching: Teaching Pamphlets
The Interactive Tutorial About Diffraction is a joint effort by professors from Michigan State University, the University of Wuerzburg, and Ludwig-Maximilians University at Munich. A multitude of examples are used to present atom scattering, crystal structure, convolution theorem, Fourier transformations of crystal phase, and other topics. The interactive examples are simulations, using software developed by the authors, where students can input the number of atoms or atom type, etc. and view results as .gif images. The second resource provides a series of printable educational pamphlets in HTML format from the International Union of Crystallography. Some of the nineteen titles available are "A non-mathematical introduction to x-ray diffraction," "Introduction to the calculation of structure factors," "Elementary x-ray diffraction for biologists," and "Introduction to Neutron Powder Diffractometry." [HCS]
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World Environmental Library
The New Zealand Digital Library Project of the University of Waikato, New Zealand has recently launched this online library containing hyperlinks to environmental resources. At present, the library contains some 400 publications (45,000 pages) of "ideas and solutions in the fields of Agriculture, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environmental Impact Assessment, Energy, Health, Natural Resources, Policy, Sustainable Development, Waste Management and Water." The online library is searchable and may be queried using key words, title, subject, or organization. Typical returns include hyperlinked documents or summaries of documents. [LXP]
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Entropy on the World Wide Web
This page leads off with an image of the Chinese character for entropy and a large, bold-print "Welcome," entreating students to join the world of thermodynamics. Topics covered at this site, housed by, but not affiliated with, the University of Washington (UW), include information and coding theory, dynamical systems, logic and the theory of algorithms, statistical inference and prediction, the physical sciences, economics, biology, and the humanities and social sciences. Each section contains a brief history and overview of the topic's relevance to entropy and links to publications and other educational sites. Sections consist mainly of text rather than images, unlike many other educational Websites. Journals, conferences, research groups, and software links all have their own headings for easy navigation. This site is one of several educational Websites put together by "Hillman," a somewhat mysterious but well-qualified (educated at Cornell and UW) self-teaching, fully autonomous Artificial Intelligence agent conceived by Professor John Rainwater and developed by a team of mathematicians, computer scientists, and electrical engineers (including graduate students), mainly at the University of Washington (Hillman notes that it is not officially affiliated with UW). [HCS]
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General Interest

UK Air Pollution Bulletin
Hourly updates of levels of benzyne, 1-3 butadiene, ozone, nitric oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particles in Britain's air are accessible at the UK Air Pollution Bulletin Website. Provided by the United Kingdom Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions, this site gives air quality information along with yearly average concentrations of the above-mentioned chemicals, graphical summaries, historical summaries, and maps and information about monitoring sites. The data pages are arranged in a versatile way so that users can view information by geographic site, pollutant, or year. Daily, weekly, and annual summaries of pollutant concentrations are available. [HCS]
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National Environmental Performance Track
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched the new National Environmental Performance Track program, designed to "reward companies which exceed minimum regulatory requirements and take extra steps to reduce and prevent pollution." Potential award recipients include private and public companies or facilities that have performed beyond legal environmental/ health compliance requirements. The National Environmental Performance Track homepage briefly describes the new program, including requirements, benefits, and current participants. Although some sections of the site are still under construction, most of the critical information is provided here, including application forms. Note that companies/ facilities interested in attaining special Charter Membership status have until September 30 to apply. [LXP]
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Renewable Energy systems in Utah's National Parks
1. High Performance Buildings: Zion Canyon Visitor Center
2. PV/Hybrid Power System at Dangling Rope Marina, Lake Powell, Utah
Both of these sites from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) High Performance Building Research division showcase recent improvements in energy efficiency of high-use structures in southern Utah's National Parks. The Zion National Park Visitor Center, one of the Park Service's most efficient complexes, is furnished with Trombe walls for passive solar heating, a passive downdraft cooltower, a roof-mounted photovoltaic (PV) system, and more. At the Zion site, readers can explore the design behind the energy-efficient features using the hyperlinked text and color photos and diagrams provided by NREL. Real-time performance data will soon be available at this site as well. The second site listed showcases the PV/hybrid power system at Lake Powell's marina, the largest solar energy system in the National Park Service (NPS), estimated to save more than $2.3 million in fuel and maintenance costs over a 20-year period, according to the Utah Office of Energy and Resource Planning. This Website features a series of sharp, color photographs of the PV/hybrid system at sites around the marina. Each image is accompanied by a description of the site's function and energy efficient features (small images can be enlarged with a click). The images are supplied by NREL's Photographic Information Exchange (PIX) department. [HCS]
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International Space Station: Update
In November 1998, Zarya was launched into space, ushering in the era of the International Space Station (featured in the November 25, 1998 Scout Report for Science & Engineering). This month, the docking of the Zvezda Service Module marks the beginning of yet another phase -- in which Zvezda will serve as living quarters to the first ever resident crew (Expedition One), scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station in early November. This site from NASA provides updated information on the International Space Station, including recent news, planned missions, and a virtual tour of the (yet-to-be-completed) station. [LXP]
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USGS Museum Property
The US Geological Survey's Museum Property Management Program provides this site where viewers can access images of historical objects, documents, and art works held in the USGS's collection. Examples include watercolor prints by prominent nineteenth-century geologist James Hutton, John Wesley Powell's study chair, and the Model A Ford used by USGS surveyors during the 1930s. The collection also includes numerous portraits of notable geologists. A virtual exhibit portion of the Museum Property site is underway, with the USGS's Model A Ford being the first exhibit. Users are guided through five pages of photographs and text written in museum display style. [HCS]
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Current Awareness
(For links to additional current awareness on tables of contents, abstracts, preprints, new books, data, conferences, etc., visit the The Scout Report for Science & Engineering Current Awareness Metapage:

ARGO: Observing the Ocean in Real Time [.pdf, PowerPoint]
Beginning September 19, 2000, an international collaboration of oceanographers from such institutes as Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of Washington, Institut fuer Meereskunde (Germany), Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and others are placing a global array of 3,000 floating instruments in the world's oceans. This project is called Argo, and its mission is to relay data on the salinity and temperature of the upper 2,000 meters of the ocean. According to the site, "Argo builds on the existing upper-ocean thermal networks, extending their spatial and temporal coverage, depth range and accuracy, and enhancing them through addition of salinity and velocity measurements. The name Argo is chosen to emphasize the strong complementary relationship of the global float array with the Jason altimeter mission. For the first time, the physical state of the upper ocean will be systematically measured and assimilated in near real-time." Visitors to the Argo site can see color schematics of the instrumentation layout, the probes, and maps of the array and present floats in the oceans. Documentation such as Argo scientific meeting reports, the design document, and an informational brochures can be downloaded in .pdf format, and a PowerPoint presentation with detailed color graphics is also available for download. Links to international oceanography programs and related news sites are provided as well. [HCS]
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Discussion List: Migration
Combining efforts, the Zoological Research Institute and Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK) and the American Society of International Law/ Wildlife Interest Group have launched a new discussion list. The Migration discussion list "provides a forum for researchers, conservationists and members of the legal profession interested in the conservation of migratory species." [LXP]
To subscribe, send an email message to:
Leave the subject line blank.
In the body of the message, type:
    subscribe migration
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New Publications

Chemical Innovation
Free online through December 2000, Chemical Innovation is a monthly journal that explores topics in research and development in chemical industries, and features such departments as Patent Watch, Chemist at Large, Book Alert, and The Industrial Chemist. The journal also shows a lighter side by including chemistry-related cartoons and jokes. The online version is provided by the American Chemical Society. [HCS]

Fertile Ground: Nutrient Trading's Potential To Cost-Effectively Improve Water Quality [.pdf]
Paul Faeth, Director of the Economics and Population Program at World Resources Institute, wrote this book on nutrient trading. Fertile Ground documents three case studies in the Midwest to explore "the cost-effectiveness and environmental performance of various strategies to reduce phosphorus loads in nutrient-impaired waterways." The online book may be downloaded as a full document (.pdf format, 57 pages, 291 KB) or by separate chapters. [LXP]

USGS Open Report: "Geochemical Data for Environmental Studies of Mineral Deposits at Nabesna, Kennecott, Orange Hill, Bond Creek, Bremner, and Gold Hill, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska" [.pdf, .mdb, .wk1]
From the US Geological Survey comes this open file report (#99-342) on environmental geochemical investigations carried out between 1994 and 1997 in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (WRST), Alaska. The purpose of the study was to "determine the extent of possible environmental hazards associated with these mineralized areas and to establish background and baseline levels for selected elements." Samples collected for the study include rock, mine waste, mill tailings, stream-sediment, heavy-mineral-concentrate, water, precipitates, and (at Nabesna only) willow samples. The text of this report is in .pdf format, and the data tables are available for download as either .mdb or .wk1 files. [HCS]

"Investigating a Physical Basis for Spectroscopic Estimates of Leaf Nitrogen Concentration"
Raymond F. Kokaly of the USGS Spectroscopy Lab wrote this paper on spectroscopic estimates of leaf nitrogen concentration. Published in Remote Sensing of Environment (accepted July 10, 2000) and newly online at this site, the paper examines the physical basis for correlation between "nitrogen concentration and the near-infrared reflectance spectra of natural vegetation." [LXP]

Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations [.pdf]
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has placed online this collection of documents (.pdf format) on the regulations associated with hunting of migratory birds. Several dozen documents are posted here, with new documents (e.g., Federal Register releases) added periodically. [LXP]

Two from the Pacific Institute
"From the Harpoon to the Heat: Climate Change and the International Whaling Commission in the 21st Century" [.pdf]
"The Changing Water Paradigm: A Look at Twenty-first Century Water Resources Development" [.pdf]
The Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security (the Pacific Institute) has recently posted several new publications on their Website. William C. Burns of the Pacific Institute wrote the first resource on cetaceans and climate change. The second resource, written by Peter Gleick and originally published in Water International [(25)1:127-138, 2000], examines the current shifts in water resource management (.pdf format). [LXP]

Consequences: The Nature and Implications of Environmental Change (Vol 5, No 2)
"El Nino and the Science of Climate Prediction"
"The Great El Nino of 1997 and 1998: Impacts on Precipitation and Temperature"
"The Application of Climate Information"
The latest (and final) issue of Consequences (1999), from the US Global Change Research Information Office (GCRIO), features three articles on climate change. The articles include "El Nino and the Science of Climate Prediction," "The Great El Nino of 1997 and 1998: Impacts on Precipitation and Temperature," and "The Application of Climate Information." All three full-text articles include figures and tables. [LXP]
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Job Openings in Science and Technology from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Engineers' Site

The Community College Job Board
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Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) -- NSF
Deadline(s): Various

Centers For Learning and Teaching (CLT) -- NSF
Pre-proposal Deadline: December 14, 2000
Proposal Deadline: March 15, 2001
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American Astronomical Society
January 7-11, 2001, San Diego, CA
Abstracts Due: October 18, 2000

Management of Northern River Basins
June 6-8, 2001, Oulu, Finland
Abstracts Due: December 31, 2000

Thirteenth Interdisciplinary Surface Science Conference
April 2-5, 2001, London, UK
Abstracts Due: January 8, 2001

Botany 2001
August 12-16, 2001, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Abstract Due: March 9, 2001

Joint Meeting: Geological Association of Canada - Mineralogical Association of Canada
May 27-30, 2001, St. John's, Newfoundland
Abstracts Due: January 15, 2001
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New Data

National-Scale Air Toxics Screening Assessment: 1996 Assessment Results [Excel, .pdf]
The National Clean Air Act was amended in 1990, mandating that the Environmental Protection Agency create the National-Scale Air Toxics Screening Assessment program. The screening was to include inventory, air concentration measurements, and nationwide exposure to 33 airborne toxins, along with characterization of the public health risks of this exposure. This site is the latest release from the screening assessment program, covering 1996 results. The results are presented as color maps (users can input the geographic area and pollutant), tables (Excel or .pdf), and data summaries of emission densities and modelled ambient concentrations. Modeled human exposure and health risks have not yet been completed, but short descriptions of the planned model are given. [HCS]
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AIRSAR Missions: 2000 Flight Season
Select 'Flight Year 2000'
The Laboratory For Global Environmental Science Information (Jet Propulsion Laboratory/ California Institute of Technology) has posted a new series of AIRSAR, or Airborne Imaging Radar, data. The 2000 AIRSAR data, spanning the months July-October, will cover the continental US, Pacific Rim countries, and US pacific territories. Currently posted data include sites in California, French Polynesia, Western Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, and Papua New Guinea, among others. Image types are microwave, radar, and multiple wavelengths, and land cover types are geology, structure, vegetation, and water. [LXP]
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The Global Biosphere (September 1997-August 2000)
NASA's SeaWiFS (Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor) project recently released this map of global chlorophyll density derived from satellite imaging and quantification of ocean color. The map is available as either rectangular or Mollweide projection with image size 4096x2048 .jpg, 1.2Mb. The chlorophyll concentration color scale can be accessed lower down on the main page. The full SeaWiF Website was reviewed in the September 2, 1998 Scout Report for Science and Engineering. [HCS]
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Data Base of the Occurrence and Distribution of Pesticides in Chesapeake Bay
Provided by the Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC) and written by W. Edward Johnson and others, this database "compiles most of the pesticide residue data measured in surface water, surface microlayer, groundwater, sediment, and biota, of Chesapeake Bay from 1976 to 1994." From alachlor to toxaphene, the database covers a suite of pesticides and their occurrence in the Chesapeake Bay. The database is organized in three sections: 1) an alphabetical listing of pesticide (re-sorted by decreasing maximum concentration); 2) a one-page summary of each study in the database (including bibliography, study objectives, methods, and commentary); and 3) maps of the Bay indicating location of sampling sites "and/or residues above detection limits." While the database does not include data from subsequent years, the information compiled here should nevertheless be of use to environmental toxicologists. [LXP]
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In The News

New Probe Data from the Asteroid "Eros"
1. "NEAR Mission Discoveries Highlighted in Latest Issue of Science"
2. "Eros is a Leftover from Solar System's Beginning"
3. The Shape of 433 Eros from the NEAR-Shoemaker Laser Rangefinder: Figures, Movies, Tables and Data from the Science Paper [.tiff]
4. NEAR: Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous [MPEG, QuickTime]
5. Questions and Answers Regarding Near-Earth Asteroids
6. Natural History Museum, London, Meteorite collection
7. The American Meteor Society
8. The International Meteor Organization
9. The Minor Planet Center's Sky Coverage Plots
Asteroids are an important topic of study because they hold information about the early evolution of the solar system in their composition and physiography. One of the challenges of asteroid science is determining whether an asteroid is a piece of what was once a larger body, is an accumulation of smaller bodies, or has stayed relatively the same size throughout its existence. The September 22, 2000 issue of Science reported findings from NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission, revealing that the Eros 433 asteroid is an undifferentiated body dating back to the solar system's beginnings. The NEAR Mission's Shoemaker spacecraft, whose work began February 14, has taken more than 103,300 images and extensive measurements of Eros's composition, structure, and landforms, at distances ranging from 35 to 350 kilometers. This week's In the News presents Websites about the NEAR Mission, its latest research results, and asteroids and meteorites in general.

Item one (1) is a press release from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, a research and development division of NASA involved in the NEAR mission. Item two (2) is a concise, non-technical news story from A goldmine of information can be found at site three (3), where MIT's Earth and Planetary Geodynamics group has posted figures, movies, tables, and data from the Science Paper (HTML, .tiff, .gif). The NEAR Mission's homepage (4) features an Eros Image-of the-Day archive, information on the engineering behind the spacecraft and instruments, press releases, a "Pictorial Voyage," and animations (.gif, MPEG, QuickTime). For more information about near-Earth bodies, check out sites five and six. The question and answer page (5) is not especially recent (released in 1988) but presents a good overview of asteroids by the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking Team, NEAT (the full NEAT site was included in the March 13, 1998 Scout Report). The Natural History Museum of London's Meteor page (6) discusses how study of meteorites can reveal the processes that shaped the solar system and our Earth (meteorites are deposits of meteoroids -- solid objects smaller than asteroids moving through interplanetary space). Sites seven (7) and eight (8) belong to professional societies devoted to the study of meteoroids. For readers who want to find out exactly how much of the sky is being searched for Near-Earth Objects (NEO's) such as the Eros 433 asteroid, the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center at Harvard University has prepared a form (9) allowing users to generate plots of the sky coverage obtained by the surveys searching for NEOs. [HCS]
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The Scout Report for Science & Engineering
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The Scout Report for Science & Engineering is published every other Wednesday by the Internet Scout Project, located in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Department of Computer Sciences.

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