STOP CASSINI Newsletter #39 -- September 7th, 1997

Copyright (c) 1997

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

Subject: STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER #39 - September 7th, 1997


In the last two weeks I have heard the phrase "I think we actually have a chance of stopping Cassini" a number of times. I had never heard that before -- sometimes I thought only I believed it! But now I hear it over and over. Something's changing in the wind. America the giant is waking up. Many Americans now oppose Cassini, Republicans and Democrats, Leftists and Conservatives, well-educated Americans, smart Americans, and,

Folks, we really have a movement going! It is dreadfully disorganized, with many isolated individuals and small groups acting alone, but it is definitely a movement! And the pro-nuclear Cassini people are getting vocal as well. Congressman Dave Weldon is the representative from the Cape Canaveral district. Not surprisingly, he has recently sent a letter to his colleagues "explaining" how safe Cassini is and how unconcerned he is with the dangers.

In this issue we answer that letter and give other current news items about the STOP CASSINI MOVEMENT!

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

**** STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER Volume #39 September 7th, 1997 ****
Today's subjects:

****** VOLUME #39 September 7th, 1997 ******

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

*** A letter sent by Representative Dave Weldon to his colleagues

We are in a lot of grapevines these days regarding Cassini, and several of them notified us that the following letter had been sent by Representative Dave Weldon to his colleagues. Representative Weldon's district include Cape Canaveral and the surrounding area in Florida.


U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon sent the following "Dear Colleague" letter to every member of the U.S. House of Representatives today.

Brian Chase
Press Secretary
(202) 225-3671

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

September 5, 1997


Dear Colleague:

Undoubtedly you have heard about NASA's upcoming Cassini mission to Saturn, which is scheduled to be launched in October. It is an unmanned probe that will explore Saturn and its mysterious moon, Titan, in greater detail than ever before possible. Cassini is an international project that is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and will be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, which is the in the heart of my district.

Unfortunately, the news reports that you have heard about Cassini probably did not focus on its ambitious scientific objectives, or the international cooperation, or the engineering genius behind a probe that will be operating nearly autonomously 1.4 billion kilometers away from Earth. Instead, there are some fringe organizations that are opposing the use of nuclear power for Cassini's on-board equipment.

Cassini does not use a nuclear reactor, but rather a set of special generators that take the heat given off by the natural decay of small pellets of plutonium-238 and convert it to electricity. This is similar to the system used by previous deep-space probes. Additionally, all of the radioactive material on board will be used essentially as batteries, not for propulsion. The propulsion system is ordinary chemical rockets that have been used for decades.

If there were any significant public threats posed by this mission, you can be certain that I would be the first to protest it. I have family and friends that live and work near the launch site, and I would never allow their lives to be endangered.

There are many arguments used by Cassini˙s opponents, all of which can be quickly and accurately refuted by NASA. In fact, opponents have planned events in Washington over the next few weeks to pressure elected officials to oppose Cassini, and I would encourage you to get the facts about the mission before drawing any premature conclusions. NASA's Legislative Affairs office (358-1055) can provide you or your staff with detailed data, or you can visit the Cassini World Wide Web site at

Cassini is an exciting deep-space exploration mission, and I hope you will join me in supporting this important NASA program.


Member of Congress


----MY RESPONSE:----


Thanks for sending me this piece of pro-nuclear Cassini propaganda (shown above).

Fringe? This Congressman needs an education in who is really opposing Cassini! Or does he actually dare to call Dr. John Gofman or Dr. Michio Kaku "fringe"? These men are among the world's leading nuclear scientists! Fringe? It is a sad day for science when a congressman such as Dave Weldon would speak ill of scientists like these gentleman. I dare Dave Weldon to read aloud before the public the biographies of John Gofman or Michio Kaku and then call them "fringe". They are pillars of scientific reason and true American icons.

And as for getting the facts from an organization that won't argue the facts, won't link to the opposition, and won't tell the truth, how can one claim that NASA presents a fair opposition to Cassini? They cannot even keep their own "facts" straight from one report to another, let alone actually tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

NASA has not "quickly and accurately refuted" the charges we have brought against it. Not nearly. Not even close.

Thanks again for sending me this,

Russell Hoffman


A biography of John Gofman is available in our newsletters, #24 and #25:

A biography of Michio Kaku is available in newsletter #29 at this URL:

These are only two of many, many scientists who oppose Cassini. Our group is neither small, nor fringe, nor short of facts.

*** NPR Science Friday Gangs up Against Michio Kaku

[Note: This 'analysis' incorrectly referred to Otto Raabe as "some other guy". This was unfair and the STOP CASSINI newsletter regrets the wording. We have replaced the references below with the actual person and his tital and affiliation and linked to his web site. --rdh]


The NPR Science Friday segment was an 18:10 minute segment. After a brief introduction by Ira Flatow, Beverly Cook from DOE talked for 2:35 then Otto Raabe, President of The Health Physics Society, Professor Emeritus of Radiation Biophysics at the University of California at Davis talked from 2:35 to 4:15. Michio Kaku then talked from 4:15 to 7:25, then BC 7:25 to 9:25 again, then about a 5 second break, then 9:30 to 11:00 MK again, BC 11:00 to 11:45 (MK broke in for one comment for about 3 or 4 seconds during this period) then OR from 11:45 to 13:30 (MK broke in once more for a 3 to 4 second comment). Then Ira Flatow spoke from 13:30 to 14:10 then BC again from 14:10 to 15:20, then MK complained about not being able to present his side and talked from 15:20 to 16:10 then BC broke in from 16:10 to 16:25, then MK from 16:25 to 16:40. Michio Kaku was saying that NASA is living in a fantasy land when they say that plutonium is not such a terribly toxic substance. He said what he is trying to do is save NASA from NASA's own administrators. At 16:40 OR comes in until 17:10, then ALL THREE talk over each other from 17:10 to 17:50, they jab back and forth, then Ira breaks in and says that's the end of the show. THEN HE LETS BEVERLY COOK speak for 20 more seconds and then they played an extended musical interlude for several minutes, when Michio Kaku could have refuted the corporate/government line that the others were presenting.


Three cheers for Kaku!

NPR has some serious questions to answer about how it could possibly consider itself an alternative voice of the people. This was without question the most controversial news item of the week and Kaku was given less than half the time that NASA's proponents got. He was not allowed a summation, the show was cut short for no known reason, and there were of course, two (or was it three) to one... Doesn't NASA get enough unedited press coverage from CNN and all the others? Does NPR have to bow to the corporate/government line too?

This week, following a week when the worst elements of the press are being condemned around the world for their role in chasing down Princess Diana one final time, the rest of the press should step back and ask themselves: Have I reported fairly on the most important topics the world faced this week? Have I done my share to teach the world the truth, to present to them all legitimate arguments of both sides, and to see that justice in the court of public opinion can be done? Have I helped give the public the facts it needs to decide? Have I done this today?

News is what the public needs to know, nothing more, and nothing less.

*** An Introduction To Horst A. Poehler, Ph. D.

Dr. Horst Poehler has written an exellent article about Cassini Cancers which we have posted at the web site at this URL:

Here is a brief biography of Dr. Poehler. As you can see he is (yet another!) scientist opposed to Cassini who SHOULD know what he is talking about, and certainly, it appears to me that he DOES know what he is talking about.


Horst A. Poehler, PH.D.

Ph.D. from Columbia University, 1948 in Pure Science, Faculty of EE Associate Degree in Medical Technology from the Westchester Community College, 1947

Was employed at Patrick AF Base and the Space Center from 1958 to 1980. By the following AF and NASA contractors:

TRW, Space Technology Laboratories, Pan American Airways, Federal Electric, and RCA. For the last 15 years held position of Senior Scientist. Member of Professional Health Physics Society since 1958. Senior member, IEEE.

*** Media Book Recently Distributed

We recently created a book which is a sample of our STOP CASSINI web site, and a description of the webmaster. Although the book only contains perhaps 5% of the entire web site, it was still nearly 100 pages long!

We distributed 50 copies to media and to the Congresspeople whom we have heard are helping us call for Congressional hearings -- Lynn Woosley, Pete Stark, Ron Dellums, George Miller, and Bernard Sanders. We sent each of these Congresspersons two copies -- one to give to a colleague. The cost of sending the entire web site to each Congressperson appears prohibitive. Fortunately they can, if they care to, read it online (where it is better organized anyway than a printed version could ever be) and we sincerely hope some of them will.

Congresspeople need to hear from their constituents, not some "fringe activist" from outside their district! We encourage everyone to print out anything from our web site or from other STOP CASSINI web sites and send that in, along with their own comments. We will of course cheerfully attempt to answer any Congressperson's questions or direct them to documents and/or experts which can answer their questions. But in any case the first steps need to come from voters in their own districts and states.




The STOP CASSINI WEB SITE was started in January, 1997 and has grown to nearly 100 articles and newsletters, and numerous scanned GIF images of NASA documentation. It was created by computer programmer Russell Hoffman, and represents thousands of hours of research time and effort.

As word spread around the globe, the web site became noticed by the pro-nuclear Cassini side and a number of debates ensued which were carried on in the web site's newsletter (now in its 37th issue). These debates argue the logic of NASA's decisions regarding the use of plutonium "RTG" power sources. In virtually all cases the pro-nuclear sides' arguments are presented in their entirety, including a long-running debate with Louis Friedman, Executive Director of the Planetary Society, and with Jim Spellman, President, California Space Development Council and Executive Director, NSS/Western Spaceport Chapter, as well as many others.

The crux of the debate is not whether NASA is right or wrong or the anti-nuclear Cassini people are right or wrong, because in fact, right now we have little way of telling if either side's "worst-case predictions" are correct! What is argued instead in the newsletters and at the web site is: First, that NASA cannot possibly KNOW FOR CERTAIN which of the many statements which they present as fact, are in fact, facts. Second, NASA's own statements often are contradictory, misleading, or patently false when compared to their own literature. This is unscientific and profoundly disturbing behavior on NASA's part.

The web site contains articles by Karl Grossman, Michio Kaku, Ross McCluney, Ross Wilcock, Perry Keidel, Chris Bryson, Michael Bein and others and transcripts of speeches by Michio Kaku and Alan Kohn, as well as remarks by John Gofman, Ernest Sternglass, Jay Gould, Helen Caldicott, and Karl Z. Morgan and others. Protest schedules and launch schedules are published at the web site, petitions are presented for signatures, and letters which can be sent to President Clinton, Al Gore, and others are also presented. Much of this material has since been republished elsewhere and some of the material was originally published elsewhere, but most of the web site is comprised of original essays published directly on the web. The webmaster admits to being outspoken, feisty, and passionate about the cause - and occasionally wrong as well, but he has done his best to present everything he can about the issues involved.

In this printed book is a very small sample of the STOP CASSINI web site - about 5% of the total. The items include the official communication with NASA regarding their EIS reports. NASA has not officially commented on the web site to the webmaster, but he has heard from several sources that they have spoken disparagingly of it to others and are "reluctant" to appear in a debate with the webmaster. We are not, however, calling on NASA to debate or respond to the web site. We are calling for Congressional Hearings so that any and all statements made by both sides will be the sworn truth as they see it. At the same time, we call on all America, from schools and colleges to workplace lunch cafeterias to CSPAN and all the news media to debate this issue. Not just Cassini, which is NASA's great new folly, but the entire cost of the nuclear nightmare the world faces on Earth and now in space as well.

At the end of the book is some information about the professional work of STOP CASSINI webmaster and newsletter editor, Russell D. Hoffman. Although Mr. Hoffman has reduced his workload in other projects this year to do the STOP CASSINI project (for the first time in about 18 years) he feels that the learning experience of how to use the World Wide Web to disseminate information will result in better and more exciting future educational projects for him to work on. The web is wonderful and must remain a place for the free and proper discourse of important public policy decisions such as CASSINI.


Russell D. Hoffman
Webmaster, STOP CASSINI web site, Editor, STOP CASSINI newsletter

*** Update on Cassini Launch Schedule (Usenet thread posting)

This person seems to be in the loop somehow and I would tend to think this is an accurate description of the launch status of Cassini at this time:

----THREAD EMAILED TO US, REGARDING CASSINI LAUNCH DATES---- thread title: Cassini delayed
On Fri, 05 Sep 1997 02:42:37 -0600, in MEM

>>"Yesterday it was announced that the launch of the Cassini mission will
>>be delayed from October 6 to no earlier than about October 14. Last
>>Thursday/Friday, the spacecraft was mated atop the launch vehicle.
>>After it was "bolted down", the conditioning air was attached to the
>>Huygens Probe, et al. On Saturday, it was discovered that the air flow
>>greatly exceeded the design flow rate and in the process damaged the
>>thermal insulation inside the Huygens probe. Late yesterday, the
>>decision was made to demate/destack the Cassini Spacecraft and return
>>the spacecraft to the KSC payload processing clean room. The Huygens
>>probe will be opened and
>>the insulation repaired. After reintegration, the spacecraft will be
>>remated to the launch vehicle. The result is about a 7 to 10 day delay
>>(at a minimum)."
>>We will be working toward an October 15, 1997 launch date unless given
>>further instructions [...SNIP...]


*** 1-888-NO CASSINI -- Protests in NYC and Wash D.C.

Why dial 1-888-NOCASSINI? Because you can send three telegrams, to President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton, and Vice President Al Gore for just $9.95.

We have heard that another group has started a second toll-free NOCASSINI number, but the 1-888-NOCASSINI number is a good value and will support the work of Lovearth, with the small (about $1.70) profit going directly to the STOP CASSINI campaign and to the rallies LOVEARTH is arranging September 20th in NYC and September 28th in Washington DC.

The most up-to-date STOP CASSINI protest schedule we can find is currently available in newsletter #38, at this URL:

You can visit LOVEARTH at their web site:

NOTE: In the last issue (#38) the phone number of LOVEARTH was incorrectly listed. The number given was the FAX line for LOVEARTH. The correct phone number to contact LOVEARTH regarding protests and other media events is (718) 426-5361. Their fax number is (718) 426-5302. We regret the error.


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.


Previous issue (#40)
Previous issue (#38)

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First placed online September 7th, 1997.
Last modified September 29th, 1997.
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Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman