February 17, 2000


YOE was once again singled out for ridicule by Prez BOB, who keeps asking what those three conditions of Rotary are. I could only manage to remember one, but it did get us started, and I guess we do need some method to get underway. That done, the Pledge was led by DENNIS CORNWELL. LENNY FRIEDMAN and PP JIM DOWNIE combined on Home on the Range, with the by-now-usual startupHi-Jinks. KIRK HARNEY gave an excellent Invocation, reminding us to proceed with good things, anyway. It's never between you and them, but between you and God - and that's a much better standard.

Prez BOB read the letter canceling the Guadalajara visit, and noted that Miguel Apodaca will be coming up this weekend to stay with JOHN SINGLETON, along with guests Joe and LENORE MULRYAN and the WESSLINGS. Those most involved with this projected visit were presented with hospitality gifts - RALPH WOODWORTH, MIKE O'CONNELL, HOWARD SISKEL, MIKE YOUSEM and LENORE MULRYAN. Local guests included former member Steve Leonard, with PP JIM COLLINS, and HENRY TSENG introduced his Special Guest, Steve Ballantine, who is with Sun Mycrosystems. We were glad to note the return of former member HENRIETA KNAPP, (now married to Harold Lian) who was introduced by PP TOM LENEHEN.

Fines were assessed against STEVE ADLER, JIM BECHTEL, PAUL BECKSTEAD - who is temporarily unable to attend on Thursdays - and SALLY BRANT. Their crimes were too heinous to chronicle in this 'family-friendly' organ, but suffice it to say that all probably deserved to pay more than the one hundred clams charged. Next came birthdays, led off by LEO TSENG, LENNY FRIEDMAN, BILL MAXWELL, KEVIN KOMATSU, MIKE O'CONNELL, JIM BECHTEL, BILL GOODWYN AND DONN CONNER - and we did it again! That is, we began to start signing H.B. in less than unison, but once fully underway - about half-way through - we got it all into gear, which is always a pleasure to report.

One important announcement, please: If anyone has any MAJOR changes to be made on his or her roster page, please call RAY ZICKFELD at (323) 294-3555. DEADLINE is 26 February, OK?

SALLY BRANT then gave a nice introduction to our speaker, Dr. Kevin R. Grazier. He earned a BS and MS from Purdue, then a PhD in planetary physics from UCLA. After working for the RAND Corporation, he joined JPL in 1995. His title is ISS Investigation Scientist and Science System Engineer on the Cassini/Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan.

Dr Grazier is obviously well qualified on this subject, and he had at least a ton of excellent information. Unfortunately, some of us aren't quite as familiar with the subject as some (younger) members may be. Therefore, YOE will attempt a much-abbreviated summary of a terrific presentation, which was augmented by excellent graphics.

He first explained why JPL was located in the Arroyo Seco - the reason is two-fold. First, there was some concern that what they were planning might blow up the whole of Pasadena, and thus they located in a convenient ravine or two, to contain any damage. And secondly, land was lots cheaper out in those foothills. JPL's mission is the Robotic Exploration of the Universe - which I think, means they are concerned with non-manned objects and spacecraft.

The Cassini/Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan is housed - if that is the word - in a 20 foot-high space vehicle, which cost 3.5 billion dollars. We hasten to add that this cost was allowed before the 'extensive' budget constraints now in place WERE in place… It (she?) was launched on 15 October 1997, and she (it?) will be six and a half years enroute to Saturn and environs. The vehicle (notice how I solved the gender problem?) could not carry sufficient fuel for a direct voyage to Saturn, so this was a "slingshot launch" via a couple of intervening planets. By entering their orbits, the vehicle gained enough velocity to carry it all the way to Saturn, which seems to VOE to be a pretty neat solution to the fuel capacity problem.

We have all seen the photos of Saturn with its extensive, multi-colored rings. Turns out these are composed of ice and volcanic debris, and when viewed directly from the side, they are quite thin in perspective. Saturn is about l/3rd the size of earth, and her largest moon, Titan, is one of several in orbit around Saturn. At this point, Dr. Grazier pointed out that they (JPL, that is) really can convert KM's to miles - which, you may recall, was the cause of the recent failure of the Mars lander. Saturn has about the same gravity as earth, which in theory could thus support life.

Q&A. What was UCLA's role in the Mars probe/lander? They were to be in charge of all activity after landing - but of course the lander failed to respond and thus is lost. When will we send men to Mars? Probably about 2014 - and it's a six month journey!

Do asteroids present a real danger to earth? Yes, they could, but the harm done by giving a false warning would be almost as bad as the collision itself. Would nuclear warheads be a good defense? If we could hit it, the asteroid would be broken up, but the resulting pieces would cause more damage than the single asteroid. If it were a comet, and we could hit it, the explosion would vaporize the ice and thus be effective. However, as a non-qualified observer, YOE wants to point out that one probably shouldn't bet the house on our chances of success here…And finally, please note that the projected rental of the Space station MIR to tourists is not considered by those who know something about it to be the safest way to travel in space. Thank you, Dr. Grazier for a most worthwhile program and slide presentation.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe