IAA SETI Committee
Subcommittee on Lunar SETI Studies
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, October 4th, 1999

1. Attendance:

Chairman: Heidmann, J.

Members: Almar, I; BIllingham, J.; DeBiase, R.; Fasan, E.; Fargant, G.; Genta, G.; Harrison, A.; Maccone, C.; Matloff, G.; Mendell, W.; Michaud, M.; Norris, R.; O'Handley, D.; Parkinson, B.; Pierson, T.; Pletser, V.; Reijnen, B., Sanctuary, H.; Santoli, S.; Schenkel, P.; Shostak, S.; Siegfried, B.; Sterns, P.; Tarter, J.; Tennen, L.; Tough, A.; Vulpetti, G.

2. Presentation of the Terms of Reference

The Terms of Reference for this new subcommittee were provided to the SETI committee Chair with copy to the IAA President in February 1999 and presented here. It was established by the IAA SETI Committee in Oslo in 1995, on a proposition by J. Billingham with J. Heidmann as Chair, for studying the long term future of SETI: in relation to man-made radio emission, still pristine farside of the Moon and establishment of a dedicated radio observatory.

All relevant fields are invited: scientists, engineers, lawyers, policy makers, industrialists; in astronomy, astronautics, space law, telecommunications, robotics, telepresence...

It will collaborate with learned bodies: COSPAR, IISL, IAU, ITU, Space agencies. Already a new IAA Cosmic Study with COSPAR was started.

Chair asked for committee members to volunteer to serve in Beijing in 1996 and organized 1st meeting in Torino in 1997, attended by 21 with 11 candidate members registered. The discussions were mainly about the best way to deal with protecting from RFI the long term SETI.

No meeting at Melbourne in 1998 because of financial difficulties. However the IAA SETI Committee new Terms of Reference listed LSS as one of its four subcommittees, with J. Heidmann as Chair and normally meeting once a year at IAF Congress.

3. Election of Members and of a Co-chair

From the 11 candidate members registered in Torino, only Academy Corresponding or Full Members are eligible as officers. Thus the new Cochair has to be elected from J. Billingham, A. A. Cocca, C. Maccone, T. Pierson, and J. Tarter. I proposed C. Maccone and presented his CV and was seconded by R. DeBiase. After the vote he was elected with the majority.

Then the other candidates, IAA Members or not, were all elected Members of the Subcommittee. Welcome tothese new collaborators. Future candidates should apply to the Chair by sending a CV and a letter of intent which will be evaluated with respect to the TofR.

4. Report on IAU 1997 Joint Discussion No. 22 "Astronomy from the Moon" on a Resolution proposed to IAU EC for RFI protection

The Chair reported on the draft of a resolution he presented for the IAU in Kyoto, extending the case from SETI to future high-sensitivity radioastronomy, from decametric to submillimetric wavelengths, with the aim to recognize "that a proposal such as the SAHA crater wone is worth considering as a starting point for action" (published in Highlights of Astronomy, 11B, 996, 1998). This strategy is hoped to be more efficient than the one of the ITU-RRA.479-4 1997 recommendation.

5. Report on COSPAR 1998 General Assembly Symposium on a farside lunar radio observatory

J. H. conducted a half-day Symposium at COSPAR 1998 Scientific Assembly: "Protection of Part of a Celestial Body for the Scientific Benefit of Humankind: the Lunar Farside Crater SAHA Proposal", for which he collected 13 abstracts.

6. Presentation of the new IAA Cosmic Study on a farside lunar radio observatory

Following a suggestion by IAA President M. Yarymovych, based on the work initiated in 1993 by J. Heidmann, the IAA Board decided in April 1998 to develop a new Cosmic Study, supported by G. Haerendel, IAA VP & COSPAR President, in order "to set up, in a radio-protected suitable site on the farside of the Moon, an astronomical observatory able to safely access the cosmos in the radio waves domain". IAA Space Science Committee endorsed in in July 1998.

The aim is to lay careful hands on some acres of extraterrestrial land in order to save an unpolluted radio window. This is the first time such a step is supported by such learned societies. Please refer to my complete report given in Amsterdam paper IAA-99-IAA.9.1.03: "A new IAA Cosmic Study: establishing a radio observatory on the Moon farside".

The first announcement for participating to the Cosmic Study was sent to 400 workers, of which over 50 replied that they wish to get the second one, a very encouraging start.

7. Contributed communications

R. DeBiase presented his communication on "The need for a consensus on the use of electromagnetic spectrum beyond terrestrial near space". It was a good start for the last two points on the agenda:

8. Comparison with other strategies for RFI protection / General discussion

As a matter of fact a very lively discussion took place, over a very wide range of items, involving numerous workers such as R. DeBiase himself, G. Genta, C. Maccone, G. Matloff, W. Mendell, R. Norris, B. Parkinson, B. Siegfried, J. Tarter and myself. The subjects ranged from ITU concepts, relativistic wormholes, lunar rovers, tethers, laser relays, helium 3, to policies, cement and hexagonal array panels on the Moon, Karhunen-Loeve transforms for SETI and robotics vs. human presence to recent commercial lunar farside flybys, payload packages, major roles of space law workers and so on. Indeed all this is a good omen for the continuation of a balanced and hopefully synthesizing investigation for preserving, for future Humankind sake, a radio window freely opened to the cosmos. We had to part on inviting for new LSS Members, new Cosmic Study contributors and new participants to next year LSS meeting in Rio.

9. Copy of the LSS TofR.../...


Jean Heidmann
Meudon, October 1999