STOP CASSINI Newsletter #54 -- October 7th, 1997

Copyright (c) 1997

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

Subject: STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER #54 - October 7th, 1997


A senior Cassini engineer, in remarks to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, lets the cat out of the bag. We can hold hearings on Cassini and still not affect the missions science return significantly if in the end we still decide to launch. See leadoff story for details...

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

***** STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER Volume #54, October 7th, 1997 *****
Today's subjects:

****** VOLUME #54 October 7th, 1997 ******

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

*** This launch can be delayed long enough for hearings. READ THIS:

From The Atlanta Journal Constitution Sunday, October 5th, page D-10, in an article titled A GRAND TOUR OF SATURN by Mike Turner:


"Because the succession of gravity assists depends on the location of the planets, NASA desperately wants to launch the Cassini spacecraft on time. The launch has already been delayed a week to give ground crews a chance to repair damage from a minor launch pad accident. The spacecraft is back on the launch pad, perched atop the Titan IV rocket that will carry it into space, but Kohlhase says any lengthy delays in the next few weeks will be harder to deal with. As the Planets shift position, the amount of time it takes the spacecraft to reach Saturn will increase and the work it can do when it arrives will decrease. "For the best results, we would really like to launch before November 4th." Kohlhase says, "After that, any delay will force us to give up something."


Charles Kohlhase is the Project Science and Mission Director for Cassini at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

It is obvious from his statement that a delay at least through November 4th would NOT severely impact the mission objectives, which means WE HAVE TIME FOR HEARINGS on this mess. In the last few weeks, NASA has stated REPEATEDLY they have never felt such heat, yet we had hearings over sending a few astronauts to MIR last month. (None of whom personally objected to going and that is why we call them heros.) On Spaceship Earth, many people object to being threatened by Cassini.

Hearings are the appropriate forum to resolve the opponent's many fears, even if those fears are unfounded, but especially if they turn out not to be unfounded. We have time for hearings. Many of us have called for hearings from the very beginning... Now our voice is loud and clear and crowded -- it is time! I have not heard President Clinton speak about Cassini, state his reasons why "science" (what NASA passes off as science) must move forward no matter how many people object, no matter how substantive their objections, no matter how safe and obvious the alternatives, not matter what the risk to humanity. He has not made such a speech, has he? NO! Rather, Dr. John Gibbons, his Science Advisor, advised him to go ahead and allow someone to push the button. But surely as everyone knows this is the hottest topic around this week. I have heard reliable reports for a month now that President Clinton is getting more mail, faxes, email, and phone calls on Cassini than on anything else. That is why he had Dr. Gibbons review the matter in the past three weeks! Now, around the nation people are crying, yet still he is silent.

Surely, President Clinton has a duty to this nation, to make an unequivocal statement of his own, explaining why, even in the face of all this opposition, HE WON'T EVEN DELAY CASSINI FOR HEARINGS. 87 year old ladies willing to climb eight foot chain link fences. I didn't see that over MIR, yet we had hearings. A 79 year old American WWII Manhattan Project scientist who made Oppy's bombs possible by isolating the first working quantities of plutonium. This man opposes Cassini. The father of Health Physics and former director of the Health Physics Division at Oak Ridge National Labs does too. Also a world renowned theoretical physicist hand-picked by Edward Teller himself to work directly with him in the nuclear industry. And a scientist with more than two decades as a senior researcher at NASA's own labs. We have an investigative journalist, who is also a professor who teaches how to use the Freedom of Information Act at State University of New York, who had to use his utmost skills and determination to obtain documents from NASA which clearly indicate NASA not only misrepresented possibilities for the solar alternatives for Galileo before, but now has used that very same document completely inappropriately for Cassini!

And even NASA's own Emergency Preparedness Officer for Ulysses and Galileo, the last two big (the last too big) nuclear launches, has joined us in opposition to Cassini.

American icons, even American heros, all these men so described, and many other fine men and women, all oppose this launch. Was there such opposition to helping Russia with MIR last month, yet we had hearings? Pro-nuclear Cassini supporters have described the aforementioned men, and THEIR supporters, as "a small group of antinuclear activists" and newspapers across the country have used such insulting terms as "antinuke fear mongers."

These men have not been given a fair voice. It is a complicated issue, and the truth needs to be told and told again until everyone understands two things: 1) The truth, and 2) That the truth must be told.

But President Clinton does not need to explain that he does not agree with the opposition's respected scientists. And he does not need to explain once again how beautiful Saturn will look in the data Cassini will return if it makes it all the way there in seven year's time. Not at all, no, that's been explained. We all would like the pictures and the data, but that's not the whole story.

President Clinton needs to explain to the Nation and to the world why he thinks we do not need to have sworn testimony BEFORE the risk is taken, rather than after, whatever after may look like. Why did he not help us achieve testimony last summer, or even last spring, when it would not have made any difference to the launch schedule practically no matter how long they dragged on? Was it because he thought the opposition was just "a small group of activists", as they have been so often and so inadequately described?

This is what the nation wants to know.

Mr. President:
If what we have done is not enough to get hearings on the matter, what would you have required? Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of signatures, dozens of protests around the country, and state and local government resolutions against Cassini, at least half a dozen Congresspeople have called for hearings -- not to mention all the technical articles and critiques of NASA's positions by leading scientists -- which NASA has NOT answered. We have presented clear indications of NASA lies, now there are even court filings (see below), and debates continue across the nation and around the world -- now it's even front page news at last -- and even NASA says it has never felt such heat... What else would you require the opposition to do before you would want it to be debated in sworn testimony, because something is seriously wrong. Don't you want to be sure of what it is?

Even if the launch goes off without a hitch, there is still that upcoming flyby scheduled for August, 1999. With momentum against Cassini building so much, even if we don't delay the launch, sooner or later hearings before the dangerous flyby maneuver are a distinct possibility. Why risk the launch if there is a chance that the mission could STILL be canceled? Why not hear out the opposition scientists in sworn testimony, let NASA attempt to respond in sworn testimony, and THEN let the Nation, and it's representatives, and Clinton, decide. NASA has not served the public. I hope President Clinton will.

Call President Clinton! Email him! Fax him! Protest!

President Clinton's phone number:
(202) 456-1414

President Clinton's fax number:
(202) 456-2461

President Clinton's e-mail address:

President Clinton's snail address:
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Wash. DC 20500

For the latest anti-Cassini protest schedules:

If NASA launches now, without hearings, without answering the critics, in the face of the most strident opposition they have ever faced (by their own admission), it will show a level of arrogance that will ultimately destroy them even if Cassini goes off without a hitch...

*** Suit filed in Hawaii Against Cassini

If President Clinton will not stop Cassini long enough for Hearings, perhaps we can still get justice. This item just came in yesterday:


On Tuesday, October 7, the Hawai'i County Green Party and the Florida Peace and Justice Coalition will file suit in Honolulu federal court in an effort to stop NASA from launching the Cassini Mission.

The Cassini Mission is a deep space probe to Saturn carrying 72.3 pounds of plutonium as a power supply for the scientific equipment on board.

The suit claims that NASA's decision making process for the Cassini Mission was "capricious and arbitrary." The suit also claims that an accident could have catastrophic effects on human health and the environment.

The Green Party and the Coalition will ask the court to prevent the launch of the Cassini until NASA uses an alternative power supply that does not pose the risk to human health and the environment posed by plutonium.

With the launch scheduled for Monday, October 13 at 4:55 a.m. EDT (Sunday, October 12 at 10:55 p.m. Hawai'i time), the litigation will have to move very swiftly.

The Green Party and the Coalition will file a second action requesting the court to grant a temporary restraining order delaying the launch and providing more time for the litigation.

Attorney Lanny Sinkin will be in Honolulu and available to discuss the suit with members of the press at 2:00 p.m. in front of the Federal Courthouse Entrance to the Prince Jonah Kuhio Federal Building. (If he is not present at 2:00, he may already be in front of the judge on the temporary restraining order.) For further information, leave a message at (808) 969-7768

Light Worker Center
277 Keawe Street
Hilo, Hawai'i 96720
(808) 934-9609 (FAX/Telephone);

*** A letter to Hillary Rodham Clinton's aides from Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson wrote a Front-Page article about Cassini for the Valley (MA) Advocate recently... [We originally added that "Shortly thereafter the Massachusetts State House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for the cancellation of Cassini. Coincidence? You decide." We have since learned that his article followed, not preceeded, the Massachusetts resolution, which recommended postponement until hearings could be held. We regret the error.] He has also written a letter to the First Lady's aides, which is shown below. First, here is the URL of Mark Anderson's article on Cassini, "The Rocket's Dread Glare":

From: Mark Anderson
At 09:28 AM 10/7/97Mark Anderson wrote:
To Ms. Rodham-Clinton's aides--

The Cassini spacecraft, scheduled to fly next week, contains 72 pounds of highly radioactive plutonium. Despite NASA bureaucrats' assurances to the contrary, top physicists, engineers and space scientists have found that that plutonium could potentially expose anywhere from thousands to billions of people to deadly doses of radiation should the Cassini crash either upon launch or in its scheduled 1999 Earth fly-by. Again, despite a nervous agency's PR, an accident would not be a remotely unlikely event either. The rocket which carries Cassini (the Titan IV), for instance, has a proven failure rate of 1:20.

This is insanity. Exploration of the Solar System is an important component of our country's scientific advancement. But nothing is worth risking the lives of countless civilians in the process. Should the Cassini crash, the craft's legacy would not be new photographs of Saturn or new findings about the planet's magnetosphere -- it could very easily be millions of painful deaths from lung cancer worldwide. This is what NASA has become?

Stop Cassini. Solar power is a perfectly viable option -- even for deep space missions. Ask the European Space Agency, who are sending a fully solar-powered craft to beyond Jupiter's orbit in a few years.

I vote. If there really are any democratic impulses left in our government, it will listen not to the well-monied military contractors but rather to the American electorate.

Stop nuclear proliferation in space: Stop Cassini. Stop the militarization of the heavens: Stop Cassini. Stop pointing that loaded gun at our head: Stop Cassini.

Thank you for your time,

Mark K. Anderson
Ashfield, Mass.

*** A poem about Cassini by a New York student

If the pen is truly mightier than the sword, it figures that a New Yorker would come armed to the teeth. (I lived there for a while myself, as has about 20% of the Nation at one time or another.)


From: Peace through Reason
Subject: Poem about Cassini by New York student

At the "Stop Cassini" rally at the White House on September 28th, a young woman read the following poem:

Cassandra's Cassini Casino

President Clinton,
if the Cassini rocket blows up,
you will be known as the President who brought the apocalypse.

Hey space knight don't you know you don't have any right
to kill us
with your rocket kite?
What do you think, you're thirteen?
acting all cool and mean...
I can't stand to be
in a democracy
of hegemony
and Cassini.

Ask Turkey
or Italy.
And Haiti
they'll say the same as me.

You're going to blow us away with the U.N.'s say
or anybody's okay
except a contractor's pay

Hey Billy Clinton,
is that a rocket in your pocket -
or are you just happy to kill us?

Turn OFF the JUICE, man!

In three years, we could launch Cassini
and power two probes with solar energy
don't you agree
we should respect humanity?

Or are you so blind,
not to see that Cassini means assinine.

Do you know whose land you'll spoil,
whose kids you'll boil?

Or do you not care?

cause after we're dusted
you might not get busted -
when there's perfect harmonium
in the land of plutonium

If it's the world you will sell
your heaven will be earth
and your earth will be hel..

Even if you stay safe and sound
a mile underground
You'll have to watch reruns of Cheers
for eighty seven years.

Are you the anti-Christ?
Or are you just throwing the dice?
We didn't ante
you stole our tax money

So as you take your next breath
Cassini's going to Saturn the ancient planet of death.
And your war against drugs
will soon be directed at mutants and bugs.

Your environmental VP
won't be able to run
a Presidential campaign
with only one lung.

You can try to hide behind a giant lead veil
But face it.
This time,
you'll just have to inhale.

Maris Abelson c/o


*** Anti-Cassini cartoons on the Internet from Finland

Date: Tue, 07 Oct 1997 12:38:07 +0000
From: Seppo Leinonen
Subject: Cartoon page about Cassini and your page linked

Hello Russell!

I have linked your Stop Cassini page. I just made a cartoon exhibition and found an old Cartoon, I made as a Happy New year Cartoon to a Newspaper.

I found that it is now more up to date than then!

I hope we could stop this irresponsible act!

You can link my CAssini CArtoon page if you like. URL is:

with best greetings! Seppo

-- Seppo Leinonen
pilapiirtäjä, cartoonist

Leppähammas, 35300 Orivesi, Finland

tel. +358-3-335 4222

*** More Anti-Cassini cartoons on the Internet

Date: Mon, 08 Sep 1997 13:17:00 -0400
From: Frank Fitzgerald
Organization: ffitz illustration & design
Subject: Cassini not


Sorry I am so late coming to the cause... busy with other issues. Anyway, I have created a Cassini cartoon (large and small version) which may be of interest to you. It can be linked to from:

You can use it on your site if you wish. I will link to your site from the relevant pages on mine. Thanks for your good work.

Frank Fitzgerald

*** From the email 'in' box


At 09:47 PM 10/5/97 DS wrote:

Tell ya what.... If it (Cassini) blows, I'll take you to Disney (France).

If it don't, you owe me and my family a trip to Disney (Fla.)

How confident are you in your dire predictions. Personally I trust NASA and their brain surgeons. This is one of those put your money where your mouth is things.





No deal. You don't seem to understand probabilities very much. Your deal is an even swap -- one trip for another. But even I who opposes this launch as strongly as anyone, have NEVER suggested that the chances Cassini will fail are greater than the chances it will succeed -- so no deal, no trip. Cassini is not an even swap.

The difference is that if Cassini crashes, a lot of people may be having a very bad trip.

Thanks, but no thanks,

Russell Hoffman


*** More from the email 'in' box

As a confirmed member of the lousy spellers club, I could not bring myself to let my spellchecker correct this gem:


At 01:03 PM 10/7/97 ZF wrote:

There are no Cons on Cassini, only pros. The only moderatly bad thing about the progect is its costs. Pros: Will investagate Saturn. Well you know the pros, I just want to disprove the percived cons. The plutinum in the satilite is in a chamber that can withstand a train crash, and with all the tree hugger protestes, they will probley make it stronger.

-- ZF




Thank you for your email.

If you feel there are "no Cons" to Cassini then you should read NASA's own documentation on the subject which makes it crystal clear that accidents can happen. For example for the launch NASA predicts a 1 in 345 chance of plutonium release and for an accident during the flyby, a plutonium release of 3% or more is expected. That's absolutely untested, of course... but you knew that too, didn't you?

If knowing these things, you still state there are "no Cons", then it would appear that you are attempting to con.

For tree hugger protests, you have the wrong crowd -- but perhaps you would be content to loose the California Redwoods (for example) as well?

My understanding is that the cost overrun is more than 100%, which on a multi-billion dollar effort, is a pretty substantial miscalculation. How many other calculations has NASA missed?

And lastly, if NASA might make their silly containment system stronger because of our protests, that's a good thing.

Thanks again for expressing your views.

Russell Hoffman


An article from last year about hugging those Redwood trees:

*** And one more from the email 'in' box



Thank you for your email.

At 09:13 PM 10/7/97 JP wrote:

I feel sorry for a loser such as your self. Are you aware that the "clean" energy of Hoover Dam is a result of environmental degredation?

I visited it last summer and wrote this statement:

"The Hoover Dam was built to last -- as a working hydroelectric dam -- for 3,000 years. The concrete won't even be fully set for centuries. The rest of government policy should also recognize that America expects to have a future."

See this URL for where that statement occurs:

You idiots have such shallow lives that you have to find a way to give your own life meaning. In your case it is to mis-represent, demean and degrade any space program, or anything else you don't agree with.

NASA degrades itself when it lies to support it's illogical and unscientific position.

Let me tell you that modern life is full of more important dangers; the over-use of pesticides, organochlorides (look them up in the dictionary), destruction of the environment etc...

Yeah, yeah, so what's your point -- one more threat ain't going to kill us?

I think your time would be better spent looking at the resolution of those issues first, as they are IMMEDIATE THREATS !!!

Cassini launches October 13th then does the flyby in August 1999. That's a pretty immediate threat.

Get a life...

Thanks for your enlightening email.

Russell Hoffman



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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Last modified October 9th, 1997.
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