STOP CASSINI Newsletter #37 -- September 2nd, 1997

Copyright (c) 1997

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

Subject: STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER #37 - September 2nd, 1997


In a bold move to prove they just don't get it, the U.S. military wants to fire an earth-based laser up at a satellite to destroy it, just to see if they can. And other news items related (somehow) to the STOP CASSINI movement.

Sincerely, Russell D. Hoffman, Editor, STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER

**** STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER Volume #37 September 2nd, 1997 ****
Today's subjects:

****** VOLUME #37 September 2nd, 1997 ******

By Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman

*** The world loses a Princess:

As America started to celebrate the Labor Day holiday, instead the entire world became transfixed, standing motionless in shock and grief over the tragic, sudden, and senseless loss of the beloved Princess Diana, Princess of Wales.

One of Lady Diana's interests was anti-personnel land mines, which she tried for years to have banned. Right now, the United States is the only major holdout against an unconditional worldwide ban. [Correction: Russia, China and India have not sent official delegations to the talks being held in Oslo, Norway at this time (September 3rd, 1997). However this does not affect our (the United States') ability to sign the proposed global ban, since then work can begin to get these nations to sign as well.] There may never be a better time to get the world to agree to such a ban, for Lady Diana was the best champion the movement ever had. The editor of this newsletter calls on President Clinton to go the final step, and sign a complete no-exceptions treaty banning anti-personnel land mines from use in any future conflict. Now is the time, Mr. President, and you are the man.

Even with such a ban, land mines will continue to maim and kill tens of thousands of people each year for decades to come, mostly non-combatants, mostly long after the combat is over. As Princess Diana pointed out in her last public appearance, in some countries land mines out number people.

This is madness and must stop. America is not used to fighting on her own soil, because we have done it very rarely and not recently. Thus I do not think we cannot truly perceive of the horrors such deathtraps present. We have no right to be the lone holdout against the forces of peace and reason that are moving around the world. America must sign the anti-personnel land-mine ban immediately and without regrets.

*** A parallel between antipersonnel land-mines and plutonium:

In newsletter #27 I made a statement in which I described plutonium's hazards as being like a vicious nanotechnology machine:


Nanotechnology will never make a more vicious killing machine than a particle of plutonium 238. If it gets into your body those microscopic particles start tearing apart everything around them, bombarding surrounding cells with "heavy" alpha particles (each has 2 protons; much heavier than beta particles). Sometimes they tear and damage chromosomes. Ripping yourself apart from the inside, even on a small, microscopic scale, is NOT a good thing!


Dr. Ross Wilcock, a pathologist, has independently taken the analogy quite a few steps further in an article which we have posted at the STOP CASSINI web site, which draws a parallel between anti-personnel land-mines at one (macroscopic) level and plutonium particles as "cell-mines" -- with perpetual anti-cellular activity in Nature at the other (microscopic) level. Here is the URL of Dr. Wilcock's article:

Here is an excerpt from the article:

"It is customary for nuclear physicists to speak in terms of half-life. However, when the whole decay pathway for say Plutonium 238 is examined - around 12 radioactive daughter products are produced including Radium and Radon. There is extensive documentation of biological effects of these. Biological effects can be expected from the whole decay pathway. [See Decay Simulation ]"

The Decay Simulation is a JAVA animation located at this URL:

*** Continue the Call For Congressional Hearings

As reported in the last two issues of this newsletter, several Congressional representatives have heard the plea for a debate and Representative Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Ca) had called for Congressional Hearings.

Our sources tell us that the At Large Congressional Representative from Vermont, The Honorable Bernard Sanders has also indicated his concern about the plutonium RTGs and has called for hearings as well.

I have heard several people, just in the past two weeks, say they think we actually might stop Cassini. If so, it will ONLY be by having a national debate. There is still PLENTY of time if we rush. Contact your elected officials TODAY!!! Here is a Government source for information on how to contact your Congressional representative. By all means, do this IMMEDIATELY!!!!

Contact Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and your Senators too! Forget Dan Goldin, he won't help.

And keep contacting the media too!

*** More NASA Lies by Perry Keidel:

Perry Keidel of the Gainesville (FL) chapter of Veterans for Peace has written an article outlining some of NASA's more recent misstatements regarding the future of nuclear power sources in space. (NASA claims there isn't any future for nuclear power sources in space. We wish we could agree.) We have posted Perry Keidel's article at this URL:

Here is an excerpt from the article:

"It is unwise to accept without question assurances of human safety from representatives of the Nuclear Industry no matter what hat they happen to be wearing at the time. There are many examples to illustrate this broad issue of credibility. A few examples are 1. the final report of the President's Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments in connection with the Manhattan Project, 2. the false public assurances broadcast during the Three Mile Island crises, 3. the timely omission in NASA's report to the U.S. media that the Russian Mars '96 came down in a great ball of flames over Chile and Bolivia (not "harmlessly in the Pacific"), 4. the continued lack of government disclosure in regards to exposure to depleted uranium by US troops during the Gulf War. 5.NASA's continued lack of public disclosure of the real safety issues in regards to the Cassini and the future plutonium launches from Cape Canaveral. " --By Perry Keidel, Veterans for Peace, Gainesville (FL) Chapter.

*** Call 1-888-NOCASSINI to send three telegrams for $9.95

LOVEARTH, the hippest STOP CASSINI site on the Internet, needs your support! You can send three telegrams, to President and Mrs. Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, for just $9.95 of which about $1.70 will go to the LOVEARTH organization to support their future efforts to either STOP the Cassini launch or PREVENT the dangerous 1999 flyby (the rest of the money goes directly to the capitalistic coffers of Western Union, your phone company, and who-knows-who-else). It is much better to stop Cassini before it takes off rather than after, because then we can put it in the Smithsonian (without the plutonium) sot hat we may be continuously reminded of our own National Stupidity.

*** Scheduled Rallies Against Cassini

There are at least three rallies scheduled at this time:

LOVEARTH is sponsoring two rallies to stop the Cassini launch and should be contacted for details Call Mark Elsis at (718) 426-5361 -- or just show up!

LOVEARTH rallies to stop the Cassini launch:

Saturday September 20, 1997
Noon - 8 PM

Sunday September 28, 1997 Noon - 8 PM


Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice is also sponsoring a rally against Cassini: Contact FCPJ at (352) 468-3295 for details -- or just show up!

Saturday October 4, 1997
Starting at 2 PM

*** U.S. Air Force Arrogance reaches new heights:

According to an article in the The New York Times, the U.S. Military wants to test an Earth-based laser weapon of incredible power and sophistication, called a MIRACL, an amazingly inappropriate name.

The U.S. Air Force, perhaps to prove to the world who runs the show and to indicate without question its utter disregard for safety and reason, (and with further disregard for the fact that there are no enemies in space, not to mention its disregard for the pleas of the citizens of its own country, has requested permission to blow up one of their $60 million Earth-orbiting satellites with a laser, just to see if they can do it. Even the maker of the satellite says the spacecraft still has years of useful life and says that it would be foolish to destroy it. But the Air Force, in their infinitesimal wisdom, wants to fire the laser at it anyway.

The Air Force will do this PRIOR to the scheduled Cassini launch, possibly creating thousands or perhaps millions of additional fragments of deadly space debris which Cassini will have to safely get past...

President Clinton should forbid the test entirely. We do not need to make space a battleground and we should not risk the creation of additional space debris just to see if the Air Force can properly aim and fire a weapon it should never use or develop in the first place.

*** NASA: Fearing everything but the real danger.

According to an AP wire service report published in The Gainesville Sun (shown to us by Robert Cherwink), NASA is taking extra precautions for what it perceives are the true dangers of the Cassini launch. You read that correctly: NASA, because of the opposition to Cassini, is taking extra precautions to make sure the launch is successful.

Changing to solar because of the dangers of vaporized plutonium? No.

Redesigning the RTGs so that less plutonium will incinerate in a flyby accident reentry? No.

Changing the flyby height to reduce the risk of reentry? No, they did that once and it's unlikely they'll do it again.

Scrapping the dangerous Titan IV/Centaur rocket and booster combination in order to use something more reliable and better tested? No.

No, that is not what is happening because NASA wants to make sure Cassini is safe. Not by a long shot.

As described in the article by MARCIA DUNN of The Associated Press, what is NASA taking precautions against?

According to the article: "''You've got to'' worry about sabotage, says the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Richard Spehalski, program manager. ''It would be irresponsible not to. And we worry about [the] enemy within. There could be somebody driving on this base that might be a threat."

In what was described in the article as "an unusual move for a rocket launch", Cape Canaveral went into ''Threatcon Alpha'' on Aug. 8, 1997, meaning it is and will remain at a heightened state of alert (and nervousness) until Cassini is launched. So will we!

The article stated that the expected protests were all "nonviolent" but they were talking about the protesters, of course.

*** NASA: Imperfect once again.

The main thrust of our STOP CASSINI newsletters -- the main reason that we do not want Cassini to be launched -- is that we do not believe NASA can do things as perfectly as they think they can. Every one of life's experiences -- especially the really good ones, it sometimes seems -- entails some increased level of risk. NASA just goes way too far.

This news item (excerpt shown below) involves a new series of space shuttle engine nozzles, and is unrelated to Cassini except in showing that unplanned events happen with great regularity in our space industry. That is no reason not to have a space industry, but it is a very good reason to prevent it from risking 72+ pounds of plutonium dioxide vaporized into the environment.



NASA Headquarters Associate Administrator for Space Flight Wilbur C. Trafton has appointed a major incident investigation board to determine the cause of a fire that occurred on a developmental Space Shuttle main engine being tested at NASA's Stennis Space Center (SSC), on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 1997.

The fire happened at approximately 3:16 p.m. EDT Wednesday on the A-1 test stand at Stennis. There were no injuries caused by the incident.

The engine being tested at the time, engine number 0524, was a developmental engine used for testing new engine components. It was not a flight engine. At 568 seconds into a planned 710-second test, the engine was operating at 109 percent power when the turbine discharge temperature exceeded its limits. This caused an automatic cutoff of the engine. At that point, or subsequent to it, a fire occurred on the stand.


I wonder what it really means to be operating at 109% of power?


Please feel free to post these newsletters anywhere you feel it's appropriate! THANKS!!!

Welcome new subscribers!

Thanks for reading,
Russell D. Hoffman
STOP CASSINI webmaster.


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First placed online September 3rd, 1997.
Last modified September 6th, 1997.
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman