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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies DEFENDING PLANET EARTH NEAR-EARTH-OBJECT SURVEYS AND HAZARD MITIGATION STRATEGIES Committee to Review Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Space Studies Board Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study is based on work supported by Contract NNH06CE15B between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-14968-6 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-14968-1 Cover: Cover design by Tim Warchocki. Images courtesy of NASA (Earth) and Tim Warchocki (asteroid and stars). Copies of this report are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2010 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies OTHER RECENT REPORTS OF THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD AND THE AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD An Enabling Foundation for NASA’s Space and Earth Science Missions (Space Studies Board [SSB], 2010) Revitalizing NASA’s Suborbital Program: Advancing Science, Driving Innovation, and Developing a Workforce (SSB, 2010) America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs (SSB with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2009) Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World: Summary of a Workshop (SSB with ASEB, 2009) Assessment of Planetary Protection Requirements for Mars Sample Return Missions (SSB, 2009) Fostering Visions for the Future: A Review of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (ASEB, 2009) Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2009) A Performance Assessment of NASA’s Heliophysics Program (SSB, 2009) Radioisotope Power Systems: An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration (SSB with ASEB, 2009) Assessing the Research and Development Plan for the Next Generation Air Transportation System: Summary of a Workshop (ASEB, 2008) A Constrained Space Exploration Technology Program: A Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program (ASEB, 2008) Ensuring the Climate Record from the NPOESS and GOES-R Spacecraft: Elements of a Strategy to Recover Measurement Capabilities Lost in Program Restructuring (SSB, 2008) Final Report of the Committee for the Review of Proposals to the 2008 Engineering Research and Commercialization Program of the Ohio Third Frontier Program (ASEB, 2008) Final Report of the Committee to Review Proposals to the 2008 Ohio Research Scholars Program of the State of Ohio (ASEB, 2008) Launching Science: Science Opportunities Provided by NASA’s Constellation System (SSB with ASEB, 2008) Managing Space Radiation Risk in the New Era of Space Exploration (ASEB, 2008) NASA Aeronautics Research: An Assessment (ASEB, 2008) Opening New Frontiers in Space: Choices for the Next New Frontiers Announcement of Opportunity (SSB, 2008) Review of NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program: An Interim Report (ASEB, 2008) Science Opportunities Enabled by NASA’s Constellation System: Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2008) Severe Space Weather Events—Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report (SSB, 2008) Space Science and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Summary of a Workshop (SSB, 2008) United States Civil Space Policy: Summary of a Workshop (SSB with ASEB, 2008) Wake Turbulence: An Obstacle to Increased Air Traffic Capacity (ASEB, 2008) Limited copies of SSB reports are available free of charge from Space Studies Board National Research Council The Keck Center of the National Academies 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001 (202) firstname.lastname@example.org www.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb.html NOTE: Listed according to year of approval for release, which in some cases precedes the year of publication.
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies COMMITTEE TO REVIEW NEAR-EARTH-OBJECT SURVEYS AND HAZARD MITIGATION STRATEGIES Steering Committee IRWIN I. SHAPIRO, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Chair MICHAEL A’HEARN, University of Maryland, College Park, Vice Chair FAITH VILAS, MMT Observatory at Mount Hopkins, Arizona, Vice Chair ANDREW F. CHENG, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory FRANK CULBERTSON, JR., Orbital Sciences Corporation DAVID C. JEWITT, University of California, Los Angeles STEPHEN MACKWELL, Lunar and Planetary Institute H. JAY MELOSH, Purdue University JOSEPH H. ROTHENBERG, JHR Consulting Survey/Detection Panel FAITH VILAS, MMT Observatory at Mount Hopkins, Arizona, Chair PAUL ABELL, Planetary Science Institute ROBERT F. ARENTZ, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation LANCE A.M. BENNER, Jet Propulsion Laboratory WILLIAM F. BOTTKE, Southwest Research Institute WILLIAM E. BURROWS, Independent Aerospace Writer and Historian ANDREW F. CHENG, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory ROBERT D. CULP, University of Colorado, Boulder YANGA FERNANDEZ, University of Central Florida LYNNE JONES, University of Washington STEPHEN MACKWELL, Lunar and Planetary Institute AMY MAINZER, Jet Propulsion Laboratory GORDON H. PETTENGILL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (retired) JOHN RICE, University of California, Berkeley Mitigation Panel MICHAEL A’HEARN, University of Maryland, College Park, Chair MICHAEL J.S. BELTON, Belton Space Exploration Initiatives, LLC MARK BOSLOUGH, Sandia National Laboratories CLARK R. CHAPMAN, Southwest Research Institute SIGRID CLOSE, Stanford University JAMES A. DATOR, University of Hawaii, Manoa DAVID S.P. DEARBORN, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory KEITH A. HOLSAPPLE, University of Washington DAVID Y. KUSNIERKIEWICZ, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory PAULO LOZANO, Massachusetts Institute of Technology EDWARD D. McCULLOUGH, The Boeing Company (retired) H. JAY MELOSH, Purdue University DAVID J. NASH, Dave Nash & Associates, LLC DANIEL J. SCHEERES, University of Colorado, Boulder SARAH T. STEWART-MUKHOPADHYAY, Harvard University KATHRYN C. THORNTON, University of Virginia
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Staff DWAYNE A. DAY, Study Director, Space Studies Board PAUL JACKSON, Study Director, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board DAVID H. SMITH, Senior Program Officer, Space Studies Board ABIGAIL A. SHEFFER, Associate Program Officer LEWIS GROSWALD, Research Associate, Space Studies Board VICTORIA SWISHER, Research Associate, Space Studies Board (through July 2009) CATHERINE A. GRUBER, Editor, Space Studies Board ANDREA M. REBHOLZ, Program Associate, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board RODNEY N. HOWARD, Senior Program Assistant, Space Studies Board
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies SPACE STUDIES BOARD CHARLES F. KENNEL, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, Chair A. THOMAS YOUNG, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired), Vice Chair DANIEL N. BAKER, University of Colorado STEVEN J. BATTEL, Battel Engineering CHARLES L. BENNETT, Johns Hopkins University YVONNE C. BRILL, Aerospace Consultant ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory ANDREW B. CHRISTENSEN, Dixie State College and Aerospace Corporation ALAN DRESSLER, The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution JACK D. FELLOWS, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research FIONA A. HARRISON, California Institute of Technology JOAN JOHNSON-FREESE, Naval War College KLAUS KEIL, University of Hawaii MOLLY K. MACAULEY, Resources for the Future BERRIEN MOORE III, University of New Hampshire ROBERT T. PAPPALARDO, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology JAMES PAWELCZYK, Pennsylvania State University SOROOSH SOROOSHIAN, University of California, Irvine JOAN VERNIKOS, Thirdage LLC JOSEPH F. VEVERKA, Cornell University WARREN M. WASHINGTON, National Center for Atmospheric Research CHARLES E. WOODWARD, University of Minnesota ELLEN G. ZWEIBEL, University of Wisconsin MICHAEL MOLONEY, Director (from April 1, 2010) RICHARD E. ROWBERG, Interim Director (from March 2, 2009, to March 31, 2010) MARCIA S. SMITH, Director (until March 1, 2009)
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD RAYMOND S. COLLADAY, Lockheed Martin Astronautics (retired), Chair KYLE T. ALFRIEND, Texas A&M University AMY L. BUHRIG, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Group PIERRE CHAO, Center for Strategic and International Studies INDERJIT CHOPRA, University of Maryland, College Park JOHN-PAUL B. CLARKE, Georgia Institute of Technology RAVI B. DEO, Northrop Grumman Corporation (retired) MICA R. ENDSLEY, SA Technologies DAVID GOLDSTON, Harvard University R. JOHN HANSMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN B. HAYHURST, Boeing Company (retired) PRESTON HENNE, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation RICHARD KOHRS, Independent Consultant IVETT LEYVA, Air Force Research Laboratory, Edwards Air Force Base ELAINE S. ORAN, Naval Research Laboratory ELI RESHOTKO, Case Western Reserve University EDMOND SOLIDAY, United Airlines (retired) MICHAEL MOLONEY, Director (from April 1, 2010) RICHARD E. ROWBERG, Interim Director (from March 2, 2009, to March 31, 2010) MARCIA S. SMITH, Director (until March 1, 2009)
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Dedication We dedicate this report to our beloved friend and colleague Steven J. Ostro (1946-2008), who devoted his professional life to the radar study of asteroids and other small bodies in the solar system. His deep understanding, unflagging concentration, and devotion to developing the potential of his junior colleagues led to many significant discoveries on the characteristics, dynamics, and unusual shapes of near-Earth objects.
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Preface The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008,1 required NASA to ask the National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a study of near-Earth object (NEO) surveys and hazard mitigation strategies. Near-Earth objects orbit the Sun and approach or cross Earth’s orbit. In a June 2, 2008, letter, James L. Green, director, Planetary Science Division, NASA, and Craig Foltz, acting director, Astronomical Sciences Division, National Science Foundation (NSF), wrote to Lennard Fisk, then chair of the Space Studies Board, requesting that the Space Studies Board, in cooperation with the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, conduct a two-part study to address issues in the detection of potentially hazardous NEOs and approaches to mitigating identified hazards (see Appendix B). The ad hoc Committee to Review Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies consisted of the Steering Committee, the Survey/Detection Panel, and the Mitigation Panel. The statement of task required the committee to include an assessment of the costs of various alternatives, using independent cost estimating. Options that blend the use of different facilities (ground- and space-based) or involve international cooperation were considered. Each study phase resulted in a report to be delivered on the schedule provided below. Key questions addressed during each phase of the study are the following: Task 1: NEO Surveys What is the optimal approach to completing the NEO census called for in the George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey section of the 2005 NASA Authorization Act to detect, track, catalogue, and characterize the physical characteristics of at least 90 percent of potentially hazardous NEOs larger than 140 meters in diameter by the end of year 2020? Specific issues to be considered include, but are not limited to, the following: What observational, data-reduction, and data-analysis resources are necessary to achieve the Congressional mandate of detecting, tracking, and cataloguing the NEO population of interest? 1 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008 (Public Law 110-161), Division B—Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008. December 26, 2007. 2 National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-155), January 4, 2005, Section 321, George E. Brown, Jr. Near-Earth Object Survey Act. 3 The committee notes that the statement of task includes the term “detect,” which includes spotting asteroids that have previously been discovered. The committee therefore uses the more appropriate term “discover” to refer to the locating of previously unknown objects.
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies What physical characteristics of individual objects above and beyond the determination of accurate orbits should be obtained during the survey to support mitigation efforts? What role could be played by the National Science Foundation’s Arecibo Observatory in characterizing these objects? What are possible roles of other ground- and space-based facilities in addressing survey goals, e.g., potential contributions of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan STARRS)? Task 2: NEO Hazard Mitigation What is the optimal approach to developing a deflection capability, including options with a significant international component? Issues to be considered include, but are not limited to, the following: What mitigation strategy should be followed if a potentially hazardous NEO is identified? What are the relative merits and costs of various deflection scenarios that have been proposed? NASA and NSF requested an initial report for the first task no later than September 30, 2009. The committee delivered its interim report,5 containing only findings but no recommendations, in early August 2009. As indicated in Task 1 above, Congress charged the committee to recommend ways to discover and (partially) characterize 90 percent of NEOs exceeding 140 meters in diameter by the year 2020 (smaller objects are not discarded, once found). However, during its first meeting, the committee was explicitly asked by congressional staff to consider whether or not the congressionally established discovery goals should be modified. 4 The committee interprets “deflection” to mean “orbit change.” 5 National Research Council, 2009, Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Interim Report, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: James B. Armor, Jr., Major General, U.S. Air Force (retired), Erik Asphaug, University of California, Santa Cruz, Jack O. Burns, University of Colorado, Boulder, Robert L. Crippen, NASA astronaut (retired), Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, H. Keith Florig, Carnegie Mellon University, Alan W. Harris, Space Science Institute, Joan Johnson-Freese, U.S. Naval War College, Larry Niven, Author, Chatsworth, California, Norman H. Sleep, Stanford University, Ronald Turner, ANSER, and Bong Wie, Iowa State University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Louis J. Lanzerotti, New Jersey Institute of Technology. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 7 References, 11 2 RISK ANALYSIS 12 Inventory of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) and Potentially Hazardous NEOs, 15 Introduction, 15 The Distribution of NEO Orbits, 16 The Size Distribution of NEOs and Potentially Hazardous NEOs, 17 Damage Produced by the Impact of NEOs, 19 Land Impacts That Are Incapable of Producing Global Effects, 20 Tsunamis Produced by Ocean Impacts, 21 Impacts Capable of Producing Global Effects, 21 Long-Period Comet Impacts, 22 Assessing the Hazard, 22 Warning Time for Mitigation, 25 Societal Elements of NEO Risks, 26 References, 27 3 SURVEY AND DETECTION OF NEAR-EARTH OBJECTS 29 The Spaceguard Effort, 30 Minor Planet Center, 30 Near Earth Object Program Office, 31 Near-Earth-Objects Dynamic Site, 31 Past Near-Earth-Object Discovery Efforts, 31 Lowell Observatory Near-Earth-Object Search, 31 Near-Earth-Asteroid Tracking, 32
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Present Near-Earth-Object Discovery Efforts, 32 Catalina Sky Survey, 32 Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research Program, 32 Spacewatch, 33 Current Space-Based Detection Efforts, 33 Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer for Near-Earth Objects (NEOWISE), 33 Canada’s Near-Earth-Object Surveillance Satellite, 34 Germany’s AsteroidFinder, 34 Addressing the 140-Meter Requirement: Future Ground- and Space-Based Near-Earth-Object Discovery Efforts, 34 Future Telescope Systems for Surveys of Near-Earth Objects, 35 Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, 35 Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System 4, 37 Catalina Sky Survey Binocular Telescopes, 37 Discovery Channel Telescope, 40 Space-Based Detection Techniques, 41 0.5-Meter-Diameter Infrared Space Telescope, 42 NEO Survey Spacecraft, 42 Survey and Detection Schedules, 42 Low-Altitude Airburst NEOs: Advance Warning, 49 Imminent Impactors: NEOs on Final Approach to an Earth Impact, 49 References, 50 4 CHARACTERIZATION 51 Ground-Based Remote Characterization, 51 The Role of Radar in the Characterization of Near-Earth Objects, 52 Arecibo Radar Observatory, 53 Goldstone Solar System Radar, 54 Capabilities of Arecibo and Goldstone, 56 Operational Reliability of Arecibo and Goldstone, 60 Arecibo and Goldstone Radar Operating Costs, 60 Recent Funding History of the Arecibo Radar, 61 Characterization Issues for Airbursts, 62 In Situ Characterization Relevant for Mitigation, 63 Human Missions to Near-Earth Objects, 64 References, 65 5 MITIGATION 66 Civil Defense: Disaster Preparation and Recovery, 69 Slow-Push-Pull Methods, 70 Enhancement of Natural Effects, 71 Enhanced Evaporation of Surface Material, 71 Application of Contact Force, 72 Application of Gravitational Force, 72 Applicability of Slow-Push-Pull Mitigation Techniques, 73 Kinetic Impact Methods, 73 Description of Kinetic Impact and Its Use, 73 Summary, 74
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Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth-Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Nuclear Methods, 76 Models and Uncertainties, 76 Decades to Go—Standoff Burst, 77 Decades to Go—Small Surface Burst, 78 Conclusions, 78 Delivering Payloads to Near-Earth Objects, 80 Disruption, 84 Summary, 84 Bibliography, 87 6 RESEARCH 89 7 NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COORDINATION AND COLLABORATION 92 Existing Organizations, 92 National Cooperation, 93 International Cooperation, 94 Education and Public Outreach, 96 Reference, 96 8 OPTIMAL APPROACHES 97 APPENDIXES A Independent Cost Assessment 103 B Letter of Request 113 C Committee, Panel, and Staff Biographical Information 115 D Minority Opinion—Mark Boslough, Mitigation Panel Member 126 E Glossary and Selected Acronyms 128
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