Subject: Plutonium particle sizes 101 -- STOP CASSINI #101
Date: February 27th, 1999
Time Frame: There are only 117 days left until the last appropriate moment of redirection of the Cassini probe - the flyby of Venus, 7 weeks before the flyby of Earth.
This issue contains an in-depth discussion about plutonium particle sizes, and various current events and items of interest.
Russell D. Hoffman, Founder and Editor
*** Cassini Redirection Petition now available:
We have posted a petition against Cassini to go with the RESOLUTION posted in the previous newsletter (#100). Here is the URL:
Print out the worldwide universal EMERGENCY RESOLUTION and PETITION, and use them to send to your local federal government and with your petition you should ask your government to endorse the EMERGENCY RESOLUTION, (printed in newsletter #100) which calls for heads of any and all states or other national leaders to make demands in the United Nations and in the International Court to stop the Cassini Earth fly-by and other plutonium launches.
You just have to print it out and send it away to any CASSINI REDIRECT COALITION coordinator in your country if such has been established. In case there is no Cassini Redirection Coalition in any specific country, anyone interested and willing to collect petitions should put the appropriate address in the footnote of the Petition's signature page.
** URLs for UN treaties:
We will be discussing these treaties and the outrageous ways Cassini violates them or threatens to violate them in upcoming issues.
UN OUTER SPACE TREATY:
UN COMMITTEE ON PEACEFUL USES -- CASSINI NUKE PUKE:
UN RESOLUTION ADOPTED 1968:
UN PRINCIPALS, 35TH SESSION
*** Plutonium Particle Sizes 101: A primer on the problem
The scientists who turned a blind eye to the dangers of Cassini's plutonium 238 when they could have questioned it, and who let their own experiments which are now on board Cassini be powered by nuclear instead of solar solutions, without protesting (or even questioning, as far as we know) the logic in that, are about to find out that that crime of negligence has been discovered by the world, and what goes around (quite literally, here) comes around.
How they answer to the charge of ignorance when ignorance was villainous, and what they do when the truth emerges and they are fully questioned, will determine their final value to society. Right now, their names are Mudd.
The following was written as comments regarding another of the many petitions, articles and resolutions being written now around the world.
Re: 2000 watts of power is nominal; Plutonium particle sizes
Date: Feb 27th, 1999, 117 days before the Venus flyby
You might want to add a tilde (~) in front of the "2000" or say "(nominal)" after the number 2000 (the word "nominal" in parenthesis). Either one indicates that the value given is an inexact number, as would the word "about" in front of the 2000, etc.
In fact, the exact value keeps changing, mainly because as a finite sample of plutonium decays, it's actual rate of decay as measured in number of alpha particles released over a given period of time, say, a day (24 hours) or a minute or a second, decreases. So it gives off a few less alpha particles and a little less heat as each moment goes by, therefore the thermal difference between the hot and the cold side of the thermocouple decreases, and less electricity is produced. So people just refer to it as a "nominal" wattage.
(As an aside, I suspect that the further Cassini gets from the sun, the better the RTGs work, but that difference would be very slight and not nearly big enough to counteract the loss from the Plutonium's "natural" decay. (Plutonium is ~~99.9999999999% manmade, so I don't like calling it a "natural" decay rate!))
Also, while you mention "millionths of a gram" and "clouds" of plutonium, I think it is very, very important to specify the expected size of the particles. It is what should horrify anyone who understands plutonium. NASA studied (briefly) a plutonium dispersal at high altitude from an inadvertent reentry in 1964, its own SNAP-9A. It had been warned about the danger beforehand, by Dr. Karl Z. Morgan, who is regarded as "the father of health physics" (and who is now purposefully forgotten by the corporate-controlled health physics community, but I talked to him several times in 1997 regarding this matter).
NASA concluded that, "Following the SNAP-9A reentry burnup, the particles associated with the plutonium (Pu-238) had a measured arithmetic mean particle size of 10 [microns] with a range of 5 to 58 [microns]." (1995 EIS, page D-9.)
That fact is probably the single most obvious reason to fear Cassini, but I should add that since SNAP-9A was a "simple" reentry of an Earth-orbiting vehicle at "only" about 15,000 miles per hour, and Cassini is a sun-orbiting vehicle which would have a reentry speed of about 42,300 MPH, there is every reason to believe that the arithmetic mean and the range would both be lower -- if the mean goes down to 8, say, and the range goes down to mainly, say, 4 to 35 microns instead of 5 to 58, then I think we really have a much WORSE problem! (I made those suggested numbers up, they are my best guess based on NASA's numbers for SNAP-9A and what I think the additional speed MIGHT do. It might make things better too, but I really, really doubt it! (Better, as in, larger particles. Larger particles are better because they will fall through the air more quickly. They are worse because even ingesting plutonium, though not nearly as bad as inhaling it, isn't too hot a thing to do. Or rather, is too hot a thing to do!))
To me it's just one horror after another. How the NASA scientists can so willingly risk this, when chances are every one of them has had a close friend, relative or family member die of cancer (for virtually every one of us has, myself included) is beyond my ability to understand. Anyway, note that another difference in SNAP-9A and Cassini is that in SNAP-9A the release was "intentional" in that in the event of an accident the plutonium was SUPPOSED to be released as an aerosol at high altitude. Sick puppies, these guys that would think that's a good thing. Prior to the accident NASA had assured the aforementioned Dr. Morgan when he complained, that a reentry had only a "one in ten million" chance of happening in the first place, but it happened. Dr. Morgan has testified to this under oath at U.S. Congressional hearings.
When it happened, in April 1964, there were enough complaints that they switched to various generations of these containment systems now known as RTGs and soon to be called RPSs (Radioisotope Power Sources, I think is what it stands for) and even to the "new and improved" ARPSs (Advance...).
But containment systems are bad for one reason: Because of the shielding, they need to use far more plutonium, since the thermocouple isn't as efficient! (That's why I don't think Russia uses ANY containment system -- because MARS-'96 only had a little over half a pound of plutonium, total).
SNAP-9A had 2.1 pounds. That is roughly 3% of what Cassini has.
That is what NASA EXPECTS (their word) to be released in a Cassini reentry accident -- a "successful" one! 3%! Earlier they expected 33% or more (1995 EIS) but they reduced that number in their bigger lie -- the 1997 FSEIS.
I could tell you how they did it but this letter is getting too long already! Too much history. The main point is that you really want to make clear the size of the particles, because they happen to be the same size that is best for getting lodged permanently in a person's lung when inhaled.
P.S. And please don't forget that the whole reason they do all this is strictly military! The civilian program only exists to create the production line to pull off military units! Because the military folks feel they are doing the world a service for peace, freedom, and democracy, they are perfectly at ease with lying and feel no moral duty or compunction not to do so. Frankly, we should also be pressing Clinton and Yeltsen both (and many others) to fully release the many nuclear military workers from their security-imposed silences about the horrors they have witnessed, committed (in the name of justice!), or heard about. But I suppose we have to start somewhere!
*** Two facts about Cassini:
First is simply the fact that the RTGs (the plutonium fuel) provide electricity, NOT propulsion of any sort (other than to supply the electrical charges need to spark such things as thrusters to fire, or perhaps to run fuel pumps.) They always seem to pick on us as if we don't know that the RTGs only provide electricity (and not much at that, about 740 watts each at launch; I think it's supposed to be down to around 720 or 715 watts when it's finally used near Saturn, 5 years from now -- if it makes it), so you might want to make it clear up front that we all know it's not the propulsion fuel, and it's not batteries either, (and it's not "weapons grade plutonium which NASA makes a big deal about, neglecting to mention it's 288 times WORSE!) It's a thermocouple, meaning simply that it converts heat into electricity, the heat being supplied by the plutonium itself, and that's all the plutonium does. (It also means they had to use all sorts of special shielding for the rest of the probe, and it cost more, and it's dangerous, but other than that, it's not a very vital component.)
Next, ALTHOUGH a launch accident was far more likely, it was also far less likely to be as devastating (i.e., to release large quantities of plutonium). And it is vital to remark, I think, that it is NOT "just the flyby" we worry about, because today, tomorrow or next week or next month (etc.) the probe can simply "go dead" -- it happens all the time to probes. If that happens, it becomes a poison pill floating around the solar system IN THE VICINITY OF EARTH! Untracked, it could reenter our atmosphere years later, without warning, even unseen. I shot an arrow in the air... Horrid, but lots of probes have been mysteriously lost for no known reason over the years. That is the far bigger risk than the flyby itself, really. As we get closer and closer to the flyby, the actual risk will go down as it becomes clearer and clearer that the probe will miss us, but accidents even after the flyby that impact our control of the probe can STILL leave it in a trajectory that might impact Earth later! We will not be safe from Cassini, really, until it has impacted SOMETHING other than Earth -- hopefully, the Sun.
*** Wishes for bibliographical information about YH&OS:
A student, doing a report on Cassini (I hope this is happening all over the world!) asked for bibliographical information about the editor. For others similarly curious, here's a brief description and a URL to go for more information:
If you want a bit about me, as webmaster and editor of the STOP CASSINI newsletter and web site, I suggest visiting my own home page. Here's the URL:
From there you can branch to whatever interests you for the purposes of further documentation.
The main problem with Cassini is that the problems are so complex! There are many ways the engineers involved lean on each other to excuse what ends up, in the end, to be a terrible mistake. (Not just Cassini, of course, but other plutonium launches.) That is why in many ways, I have a fairly unique opportunity to look at it. I have had medical training and have worked closely with doctors to present their knowledge to others, but I am not a doctor. I have had lots of engineering and have worked with engineers and inventors often, but am not an engineer (and only invent software code). I can write effectively, but I am not a (paid) writer! I'm a computer programmer. I write educational and engineering software tools and applications. That's allowed me to have a very broad education in my life. So that's why I am doing what I am doing -- because I know most people have to give up and say "too complicated for me!" and I don't -- PLUS, I have had access -- practically unlimited access -- to the scientists on the opposition side! (And some good access to the pro-Cassini sides' scientists, as well.) This is actually more important than what I actually have learned myself, because their views are (rightfully, I might add) far more important than mine. I'm really just sort of a coordinator of whatever I learn along the journey.
Well, gotta run (back to the journey). I hope this answered your questions. Another newsletter (#99) will go out tonight or tomorrow, and I'm working also on the next educational tutorial for the general public (mainly, freshman college students) which will be on statistics -- another subject people need some familiarity with to understand Cassini and its dangers!
END OF OUTGOING CLIP
*** Watching NASA WATCH: The Goldin Fool Strikes (out) again:
This interesting commentary was found at the NASA WATCH web site, who are located at:
UNCUT CLIP FROM NASAWATCH
18 February 1999: NASA takes one year to answer Congressional questions.
[NASA WATCH Editor's note]: At hearings held on 24 February 1999, before the House subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, Subcommittee Chair Dana Rohrabacher informed Dan Goldin that his staff had just received responses to questions asked as a result of a hearing held on 5 February 1998. That's one year and 10 days after the hearing.
Needless to day, Dan Goldin wasn't a happy camper. He opened his comments before the Subcommittee by saying "I am appalled that it took my staff one year to respond. It will never happen again."
NASA Watch has obtained the transmittal letter from Mary D. Kerwin, Deputy Associate Administrator for Legislative Affairs, and the complete responses to the written questions asked by Congress. This material will be online within the next week or so.
I've seen and heard a lot of outrageous things while editing NASA Watch. But this one takes the prize as being the most discourteous, arrogant - and incompetent. Small wonder Capitol Hill is leery of NASA's sincerity these days.
Despite an endless lobbying campaign by Dan's Code L troops in the halls of Congress these past 7 years, Cheaper-Better-Faster has obviously not taken hold in NASA's Office of Legislative Affairs.
END OF CLIP
If you visit NASA WATCH, please be sure to say "hi" for us and tell them we sent you! And tell them they should oppose Cassini too, which for some reason, they have yet to figure out is an even more discourteous, arrogant and incompetent act! But we like to promote their web site anyway! Co-belligerents, I believe is the technical term. But not friends.
*** About this web site (outgoing email clip):
OUTGOING EMAIL (clip)
What I am building, is a running participatory commentary on the Cassini battle. Yeah, I call it a battle, not because I like war, (though I have studied it), but because there are winners, and losers, and it's not a game, and millions can die. So, "battle" is a good term. I deeply regret many things I have said along the way in the Cassini battle, and at the same time, wish more than anything that I could have been even more truthful! To find the words to describe the horrors I have learned, without the web site being so totally depressing as to be unusable. That, to me, is the finest line of all. Calling Gagnon a spook is nothing compared to trying to describe the horror of Cassini without freezing people's minds. That's why it has to be so light-hearted, I guess. And maybe, that's why I have to be outrageous sometimes. It frees me to say things that need to be said, which if I didn't go so far out on a limb on other things, then those more important things would be the most outrageous things! I guess, I dunno. I am utterly convinced that the Titan IVA that blew up August 12th, 1998 had an RTG on board. But I do NOT believe the guy that called NC-WARN was for real. Some find me outrageous on that topic, but it's pretty hard to prove I'm outrageous. I have had some very reliable people, people I'm sure are good scientists or are connected to good scientists, say that I am both right, and others say that I am wrong. But the logic, to me, is pretty simple.
So I figure, just publish as much as I can of what I think is the truth, and let it go at that. Hope that what we do works even better for the next group. Hope that the Gummint gets so mixed up on how to deal with people, that it starts simply dealing with all these problems honestly instead of as if the world were populated by sheep instead of thinking human beings.
A friend of mine a couple of days ago tried to convince me that aliens might have landed, and the government has their technology. I had told him I assumed Roswell New Mexico is nothing more than an aerospace skunkworks, and the alien rumors are just a government-induced propaganda campaign, like so many others (such as, that food irradiation is a good thing). I asked him what right they had to keep it a secret if it was true (and a million other questions any good skeptic would ask). He said, "well for one, all the religious people would freak".
I said so what? If it's the truth it's the truth! (And then added, that I thought most religions were based on a search for the truth, and if it included aliens, so what?)
Of course, at that point he had to give up. I wasn't buying any of it. There are no aliens. Just some really, really dumb humans with a lot of power, money and arrogance.
END OF OUTGOING EMAIL (clip)
*** Look at the sick world and laugh department:
The Internet is full of sick jokes, and several people send us samples regularly. Most are too sick to print and not even funny. This one's sick, probably too sick to print. And it's not even funny, either. Really it's not. But it hits home, so here it is.
INCOMING EMAIL JOKE
There are two brothers, eight and nine. On Christmas morning, they run downstairs to see their presents. The oldest one discovers to his delight that he got a bicycle, a Playstation, a whole bunch of new video games, a complete set of "Star Wars" action figures, and everything else on his Christmas list. Meanwhile, the eight-year-old just got some new underwear and sweaters and a Tonka truck.
"Ha ha," says the older one, I totally cleaned up this year, and all you got was some clothes and a Tonka truck."
The younger one just smiles, pushes his truck along the floor, and hums under his breath: "At least I don't have cancer . . . "
END OF JOKE
I was a 38 year old kid myself not too long ago, one of two younger brothers to a 39-year old kid with leukemia. Now I'm the older of two brothers.
*** Quote of the Day: Thomas Jefferson
"The strength and dignity of a nation are determined by how it cares for its resources" -- Thomas Jefferson
CANCEL CASSINI by JUNE 24th, 1999!!!!
To Cancel Cassini start by asking NASA for the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission and all subsequent related documents (on paper, please!). Tell them you need it IMMEDIATELY (members of the world press should do this too). All citizens of the world are ENTITLED to these documents because of the global threat Cassini poses. Here's where to get information:
Tell them Russell Hoffman, founder and editor of the STOP CASSINI newsletter, sent you. I bet they love to hear that!
NASA states that they do not have the resources anymore to answer most emails they receive. Liars! They have $13 billion dollars to play with. They can answer the public's questions. At least, ask them one specific question: How many letters did they get opposing Cassini today? (And tell them you oppose it too!) If each reader asks them that...
Here's NASA's email address:
Daniel Goldin is the head of NASA. Here's his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's the NASA URL to find additional addresses to submit written questions to:
(Note that it looks like possibly a temporary URL assignment, but you can always start at http://www.nasa.gov.)
They imply at the web site that written comments are more likely to get answered -- quicker than emailed comments! Someone should welcome them to the 1990's before it's too late.
Long time readers know lots of questions to ask them! Ask them why they don't link to our web site. Ask them why they haven't got rid of Daniel Goldin, the glassy-eyed fool. Ask them why they haven't sent you YOUR copy of the 1995 EIS for the Cassini mission! Ask them anything, but demand an answer! YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT NASA IS DOING TO YOUR HEALTH.
Be sure to "cc" the president and VP and your senators and congresspeople, too.
Always include your full name and postal address in all correspondence to any Government official of any country.
Please send any news directly to the editor at the email address given below.
Please post these newsletters EVERYWHERE! You can -- and should -- send them to news media too! Please tell your friends and neighbors and Internet buddies to subscribe! These words can have power, but only if they are passed on to many others!
Thanks for reading,
Russell D. Hoffman
Founder & Editor
STOP CASSINI Newsletter -- nearly 100 issues of mirth, merriment, and mind-numbingly depressing facts about NASA and other horrors
STOP CASSINI Web Site
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Amendment One... "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."
Written in U.S.A.
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