STOP CASSINI Newsletter #66 -- May 14th, 1998

Copyright (c) 1998

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

To: Subscribers ONLY! We never email this to anyone who has not requested a subscription. (News media and public officials excepted.) To unsubscribe, see instructions at the bottom of this newsletter.

From: Russell Hoffman, Editor, STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER


Date: 5/14/98


India has decided to join the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) world and turn the heat up on everyone a notch or two (actually five notches, to be exact). Nuclear proliferation continues, in part because the "haves" have made little or no attempt to disarm themselves, making nuclear defense strategies appear to be the only viable option for all other countries.

Cassini is certainly a significant part of the nuclear madness. When America allowed its "peaceful" space agency to loft 400,000+ Curies of Pu 238 into space last fall, on one single mission, risking a worldwide contamination both during the launch and next year during the Earth swingby, we virtually guaranteed that other nations will have little incentive to hold back from their own nuclear agendas.

Clearly India's agenda over the next few decades will be to place military payloads in orbit, which will certainly include nuclear-powered devices as well as lasers and other sophisticated weaponry. By launching Cassini, we have lost the moral "high ground" to oppose this inevitable buildup.

Where America had a chance to help put the brakes on such madness, instead we have given India and other space-faring nations the green light to poison our Earth for generations, in order to make threats (Or study space, whatever.) today. Thank you NASA, for doing your part to help destroy humanity.

This issue of the STOP CASSINI newsletter is mostly about visiting the official NASA/JPL Cassini web site, and some of the latest examples of incoming pro-Cassini emails.

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

***** STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER Volume #66, May 14th, 1998 *****
Today's subjects:

****** VOLUME #66 May 14th, 1998 ******

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

*** "inaccurate information about Cassini" being "widely disseminated":

Every couple of months or so, when I find a moment or two late at night, I like to see what's new at NASA/JPL's Cassini web site. Naturally I always visit the RTG SAFETY area, which hasn't changed much since I started going there in January, 1997, prior to my having written ANYTHING about Cassini. It still answers the same lame questions in the same lame ways. It still refers to opponents without naming them, as it did before I got into the fray. In fact, the only significant differences I have noticed in the year and a half I've been checking that site is that they started to use "frames", and they have a new contact person. This is a copy of my first email to her, which went out this morning:


To: Sandra M. Dawson
From: Russell D. Hoffman
Subject: Welcome to the catbird seat
Date: 5/14/98

Dear Ms Dawson,

I noticed upon visiting the official Cassini NASA/JPL RTG web page this morning, that you have taken over from Mary Beth Murrill as the contact person for answers to questions about the safety of Cassini's nuclear Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators.

What are your qualifications to answer these types of questions? Specifically, what is your training in the field of nuclear radiation dangers to human tissue from vaporized plutonium-238?

Also, what is your experience within NASA and related to nuclear-based missions prior to and including Cassini?

Also, since you are a radiation safety contact person at NASA/JPL, please tell me what upcoming missions, be they either funded, planned, or proposed, are NASA/JPL involved with (in any way), which involve the use of plutonium in quantities of 0.001 Curie or greater? Please name each mission specifically and if there is a web site for that mission, please include that information as well.

Lastly, at the web page at it says there is "inaccurate information about Cassini" being "widely disseminated". I agree completely!

It would be a great service if you would provide actual quotes and links to that information, because it does people such as myself and the many scientists who have looked into the subject a great deal of hurt to be lobbed in with such people who are distributing that inaccurate information, by nature of the fact that you have not been specific as to WHO is doing such disseminating. Those of us who oppose Cassini who are NOT disseminating "inaccurate information", of which I have always tried to include myself, deserve separation from those louses you must be referring to. We wish to be specifically challenged and answered about the things we say, or else if you wish to lump us into some unnamed group, then we wish at least to become a NAMED group. For we are quite confident that we do not "disseminate" any "inaccurate information" and do not wish to be treated as if we have.


Russell D. Hoffman
STOP CASSINI newsletter
Now in it's 65th edition

******************** *** INFILTRATE NASA!!!!! ********************

NASA produces a Cassini newsletter. Anyone reading this email should definitely subscribe to get the OFFICIAL WORD on Cassini: Here's the URL where you can subscribe:

There's just one problem for many readers of this newsletter: IT CLEARLY IMPLIES YOU'RE NOT WELCOME IF YOU'RE NOT AN "ENTHUSIAST". Here's a clip from the above URL:


"The Cassini mailing list is an electronic mailing list intended to provide Cassini Mission enthusiasts with up-to-date information in a timely manner."


Intended for mission enthusiasts? Is it that they don't want opponents to have up-to-the-minute facts? Or is it that they don't discuss anything that might have a negative impact on the public's view of the mission and thus, there is no way an opponent would get anything useful from the newsletter? Let's all subscribe and find out! Opponents deserve official news of Cassini as much as anyone! So all who read this, please join NASA's official Cassini newsletter! You'll get a message like this back:


Subject: Confirmation succeeded
Date: Thu, 14 May 1998 02:43:28

Your membership in cassini has been successfully confirmed.


So, I am now officially a "member" of "cassini". I am a dog in wolf's clothing.

*** Visit the SIGNIFICANT EVENTS web pages on Cassini:

This next email is self-explanatory:


From: Russell D. Hoffman
Re: SigEvents Reports
Date: 5/14/98

To Whom It May Concern,

After visiting the following web page:

I am interested in finding the Significant Events Reports for prior to 11/28/97, and I am also curious as to why the 1/5/98 report states at the top that it is for events for the "week of Friday 12/12 through Sunday 1/4". This appears to be either a new definition of a week, or an automated date generator bug. That worries me, what with all the talk about the "Y2K bug" in the press and Washington, and this isn't even a year 1999 to year 2000 crossover, only a 1997 to 1998 crossover! So I am curious as to what produced that error in your documentation?

Also, may I suggest you connect each report directly back to the prior report and forward to the next report (as the next one appears). That way, visitors would not need to click back to the SigEvents menu page between each report, cutting in half the number of keystrokes and pages viewed to go through the information. Also this would allow visitors to more easily and more quickly go back and forth through the reports in order, for example, to follow the chronology of a particular event. Also, you might want to consider cross-linking major significant events themselves when the event stages occur in non-sequential reports.

Russell D. Hoffman

*** Cassini Outreach: Workshops for Teachers:

On the first SigEvents report, on 12/5/97, Cassini was reported "in an excellent state of health". Current reports seem similarly sanguine. Here is something else culled from a scan of these reports.


Teachers Workshop:

The Cassini Outreach Program held a workshop for teachers on Saturday, April 25, in conjunction with the spacecraft's Venus 1 flyby the next day. Approximately 105 teachers attended and heard presentations on Cassini, swingby dynamics, Cassini's power system, the current state of knowledge regarding Venus' atmosphere and surface, and Cassini educator materials including the teacher guide, web page, and "Ways of Seeing" CD-ROM. Survey forms returned by the attendees were very favorable.


Survey forms were very favorable, it says. One has to wonder if the information they disseminated on the RTG's was as one-sided at the information they present at their web site is! Frankly, I have little doubt that "inaccurate information about Cassini" is being "widely disseminated" at these "outreach" workshops. I wonder if it is possible for a citizen to get hold of the workshop workbooks and materials? I'll try to ask Ms Dawson and report back to you.

*** From the mailbag: All that air up there:


At 02:02 AM 4/28/98 TS wrote:

Just thought you'd like to know that even if Cassini did blow up while approaching earth and even if 100% of the plutonium oxide made it into the atmosphere, and assuming the winds spread it relatively evenly across the globe, there would only be about 1 gram of the oxide for every 7.3 * 10^15 kg of air. That's a lot of air! The chances of getting hit on the head by a meateor are better than from getting sick from this stuff, regardless of where it goes. The chances of enough plutonium oxide to get one person sick landing in the same place are astronomical at best. Heck, airplanes kill more people. Should we ban airplanes? Better yet, people die from walking and tripping over rocks. Should we ban walking?

Look at the statistics before losing any more sleep over this.

And no, I'm not for the destruction of this planet, but there are more important things to worry about.


MY RESPONSE (sent 4/29/98)


Thank you for your email [shown above].

Since you have supplied exactly ONE number, I request you go back and complete the calculations. What volume of air does one person breath in a lifetime, or better, how many kilograms? Multiply that by about 6 billion. 10 billion if you want to look into the near future, which I think would be reasonable. And then there's the issue of resuspension, including from cremating a body which died of, say, leukemia, caused by the plutonium.

And what could possibly make you think there will be anything near a "relatively even" dispersal? Do you know the estimated number of "lethal doses" (if vaporized) of Pu 238 (NOT Pu 239!!) in one gram of Pu dioxide? And there are 32,000+ grams of Pu 238 dioxide on board Cassini (or were, at liftoff.).

And as to airplanes killing more people, they also do a lot more people some good. The Cassini RTGs do NOBODY any good at all, insofar as, it could just as well have been done with solar. (See the D. E. Rockey report, for example, at the web site.) For any risk, there should be some REAL gain.

But it's true, I think earth-based maglev vacuum tube tunnels would be more ecologically sound and move more people cheaper than airplanes do, since you mentioned it. And I think a faster Internet would make travel less necessary.

I have looked at the statistics, and have talked to a number of statisticians about the matter. You have not shaken my feelings on the matter with your one statistic, which in and of itself shows little (and note, I have not checked it for accuracy as far as it goes, anyway.) Come back with a more full set of calculations and we can discuss the matter further if you like.


Russell Hoffman

P.S. According to NASA, the chances of the Cassini plutonium killing at least some people after a flyby reentry accident are not so low as all that -- they say either 2300 or 120 people might die (1995 EIS, 1997 SIES, respectively). I don't think anywhere near that many are killed by meteors in a decade, or perhaps even in a century.


*** From the mailbag: Says I worry too much.


At 09:33 PM 5/6/98 EDT, "E" wrote:

I think you guys are worring too much. NASA knows what they are doing. I'm sure they have a plan to stop Cassini if something should go wrong. But belive me you have a better chance of finding $100,000,000,000 on your doorstep in the morning than Cassini cashing into Earth, so chill out.




Thank you for your email, shown below.

If you have such faith in NASA as you profess, may I suggest you order NASA's own books on the subject (1995 EIS on the Cassini mission, and the 1997 SEIS as well, for starters) so you can see for yourself the lack of planning in case anything goes wrong and the other lies they have incorporated into the project, such as the misuse of the D.E. Rockey report on deep space solar power. Be sure to ask them for The D. E. Rockey 1981 JPL Report on the Systems Impact of a concentrated solar array on a Jupiter Orbiter as well -- it's very important.

As to NASA's having a "plan to stop Cassini if something should go wrong" such a plan would require fuel -- lots of it. It took a Titan IV to give Cassini the energy it now has; and there is simply not enough fuel to "stop it" whatever that might mean. The plan is not to stop the poisoned pill; rather NASA hopes they can direct it to a hare's breath (on a cosmic scale) from the outer edge of the atmosphere of Earth in August 1999 for the flyby (currently set for 800 kilometers above the surface of the Earth).

A minute error in trajectory or a failure that causes a minute deflection, with either concurrent or followed by a loss of contact with the space probe or loss of control capabilities, could result in an Earth reentry. The results of that are documented (somewhat) in the NASA reports, which state that from 3% to 33% or more of the Pu 238 payload would be released, with from 20% to 66% (estimated) in vaporized form. Thus, NASA does indeed have a plan -- simply spread the stuff out in the upper atmosphere and let it drift down through the 6 billion of us who live here. That's some plan! It's a deadly plan.

Also, I must remark that unless the chances of me finding $100,000,000,000 on my doorstep are greater than about one in 1.25 million, even NASA thinks Cassini has a greater likelihood of crashing into Earth than that.

You are clearly unaware of the details of the Cassini project. I suggest you go directly to the source -- to get a copy of the NASA Cassini Environmental Impact Statements, write to our Government and ask for them:

Solar System Exploration Division
Office of Space Science
Washington D.C. 20546

For more Government information on the Cassini mission, contact:

Cassini Public Information
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
(818) 354-5011

I believe some of the documentation is also available on the web at NASA or JPL's web site, and excerpts are available at our web site (they were there long before NASA decided to put anything substantial on the web.). Again, be sure to get a copy of the D. E. Rockey report!

Lastly, as to our worrying "too much", Cassini is only one step in a dangerous plan by NASA to send more and more of these plutonium death-traps into space, which will undoubtedly be followed by military and foreign launches of even greater danger. Cassini is a bad seed and a bad example. Remember -- NASA is a agency that is charged with the PEACEFUL exploration of space for the benefit of ALL humanity.. They are not fulfilling that promise and somebody -- you, for example -- ought to be worrying about it. If you want a NASA you can be proud of, you'd better help fix it, because THIS NASA isn't it.

If I worry too much, it is only because the rest of the world isn't worrying enough.

Russell Hoffman
STOP CASSINI newsletter now in it's 65th edition



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.


Next issue (#67)
Previous issue (#65)

********* SUBSCRIPTION INFO *********
To subscribe to this newsletter just email me at
with the words:

Please include something else:
It can be an indication of where
you found our newsletter, or what you
read that made you want to subscribe, but
you do NOT need to include your name.

To unsubscribe email me and say

Published by Russell D. Hoffman electronically.
Available at the source by blind carbon copy
subscription ONLY--free. Subscription list never
sold or bartered or divulged (except if by
government order, and then only after
exhausting all legal arguments against such
disclosure). Subscribing in no way
constitutes endorsement of our positions and
may indicate opposition!
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman.
May be freely distributed but please include all
headers, footers, and contents or request
permission to excerpt. Thank you.


This article has been presented on the World Wide Web by:

The Animated Software Company
Mail to:
First placed online June 6th, 1998.
Last modified June 15th, 1998
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman