STOP CASSINI Newsletter #103 -- March 3rd, 1999

Copyright (c) 1999

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

To: Subscribers, Press, Government Officials

Subject: Another clear and indisputable compliment to our work -- STOP CASSINI #103

Date: March 2nd, 1999

Time Frame: There are only 114 days left until the last appropriate moment of redirection of the Cassini probe - the flyby of Venus, 7 weeks before the flyby of Earth.


Again I am asked to apologize for stating a fact as I see it, whilst real crimes go unmentioned all around by others.

Also, we discovered that NASA has a Woody Smith, Producer and Curator of NASA Lies on the Internet (or some such title, but whatever his title, his job clearly includes producing lies for those who correspond with NASA via the Internet). Notice especially how often he claims that mere mortals outside the space program cannot possibly understand all the fancy-pants supertechnology and are thus, irrationally confused by the word "plutonium". Notice how he forgets to mention that among those confused are Doctors, Scientists, Statisticians, and e-rag journalists without a license. Notice especially, that EVERY condescending assurance he gives is a lie. To respond to each one separately would be to repeat several dozen issues of the newsletter, and cite numerous scientific postings. Perhaps we must take the time to do so, soon. But prior to that, it requires simply citing details from NASA's own Environmental Impact Statements (which he clearly hasn't read!), which is the tack I take in my suggested further questions for the next round.

Woody Smith is a pig-headed liar, but one with the power of NASA to make it stick.

I take that back. I apologize. My quick tongue doth torment me (and my readers) again.

It wasn't fair to pigs, the most intelligent (and cutest) animals on Earth. Next to us, I guess.

Russell D. Hoffman, Founder and Editor

Today's Subjects:

Woody Smith: Curator of NASA lies:

I wonder where Woody Smith got the idea that the worry about the RTGs has anything to do with the Internet?


At 10:45 PM 2/15/99 -0500, Evelyn wrote (to NASA):
I am so disappointed in NASA. I grew up in Clear Lake City. I went to school with NASA kids. NASA represented the best we had of everything.

Now I see you have signed off on the Cassini mission. Seventy-Two pounds of deadly plutonium was lofted into space and will soon be headed back toward us.

You all seem to have developed an extraordinarily callous disregard for the health and safety of the American people not to mention every living thing on this planet. It saddens me....truly.

You did some great things in your day but now you should be defunded until you get the message that you are working for us, not the gratification of your own egos.

Sincerely, Evelynn Culver



Don't believe everything you read on the internet! Those RTGs are so safe it's hard to imagine anything that could cause them to release plutonium into the environment here or on any planet. We have been launching these with interplanetary probes since we first sent anything to the outer planets. They're on Pioneer X and XI, Voyager 1 and 2, Galileo and Cassini. We know of no other way to generate power for missions to the outer planets because, that far away from the sun, the sun's energy is insufficient to use solar panels, and the missions' duration is far too great to use batteries or fuel cells.

Those RTGs are in EXTREMELY hardened casings, and the plutonium is encased in glass pellets. If the rocket blew up on launch (this is a realistic scenario -- it happens) no plutonium would be released. If the craft reentered the Earth's atmosphere on the gravity-assist flyby (this is so extremely unlikely that it is virtually impossible) no plutonium would be released.

The Russian Mars98 probe had a similar unit aboard. That probe was lost due to a failure of its third stage and plunged back into the atmosphere in the Pacific Ocean. No plutonium was lost.

Your fears are wholly unfounded. Like I said, don't believe everything you read on the internet.

Thanks for your interest.

Woody Smith
The truth is, we're all living on a little piece of dark matter inside the accretion disk of a black hole. Kinda makes you think.


Unless I missed something, it was Mars '96, & the results??


Received: from wsmith ( []) by (8.7.5/8.7.3) with SMTP id LAA27357 for ; Tue, 16 Feb 1999 11:38:05 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 11:38:26 -0500
To: Evelynn
From: Woody Smith
Subject: Re: Cassini Thank You
In-Reply-To: <>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

At 11:26 PM 2/16/99 -0500, you wrote:

Dear Woody,
My fears have not been laid to rest.
Thank you for responding to my E-mail, it's good to know someone is reading
the incoming messages......Evelynn

I do not know how to lay your fears to rest, and I am sorry that you feel you cannot trust me, because your fears regarding the safety of our plutonium RTGs are genuinely unfounded.

All I can tell you is that my knowledge of these matters is quite extensive and I can also tell you a little bit about me personally. I was and still occasionally am a canvasser for Greenpeace, and I am very well versed in matters of environmental concern. My fiance is a high-level official of the Environmental Protection Agency and was personally responsible for writing the asbestos regulations and the CFC recycling regulations. Furthermore, my own mother lives in Cape Canaveral itself (just coincidentally; she moved there five years ago from the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., where she and I were both born and raised, because a friend of hers, a real estate agent, found her the dream condominium of the Earth and she couldn't resist it).

I absolutely assure you on my own word that these RTGs are far, far safer than many everyday situations you encounter in your life, not just obviously dangerous activities like driving an automobile but things generally regarded as risk-free, things like using a hair dryer or turning on your television set. The casings are hardened to such strength that they can withstand a catastrophic explosion of all the force of all the fuel in the launch vehicle, and can withstand re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere and any possible resulting high-speed collision with rocky surfaces. Even were the casing to be breached, the plutonium itself is encapsulated as pellets in unbreakable glass that can withstand being fired as a bullet against concrete without releasing plutonium into the environment.

Launches of these units have in fact failed in the past, most recently aboard the Russian Mars98 probe, without any loss of plutonium whatsoever. If there is a "proof of the puddin'" argument, I would assume that's it.

But consider this: Would I permit my own Mother to live in such danger as some ascribe to these missions, knowing the risk? Not for a billion dollars! I myself would have been honored to view this launch, from as close-up as they would have permitted me to get, had I been invited (which I wasn't).

The fears, and overreaction to those fears, are simply based on the word "plutonium" and the specter of the long-term radioactive contamination that it invokes. The fears persist because of ignorance of the methods, and the genuine reliability of those methods, used to contain this dangerous material, methods that are wholly reliable and totally foolproof because of their passive nature.

Also consider this: Those 72 lbs. of plutonium existed prior to the Cassini mission and would continue to exist on Earth regardless of whether it was incorporated into an RTG or not. It would therefore have to be contained, HERE ON EARTH, for 75,000 years or so in order to keep from contaminating our environment. Whatever risk, however minuscule, that plutonium may have posed aboard the launch and gravity-assist flyby of Cassini was of very brief duration, lasting only a single minute or two (the greatest of which has passed). Had it remained here, the risk to our environment would have persisted for 75,000 YEARS! Once that plutonium reaches Saturn orbit, it will be among the very most safely stored plutonium ever produced (trailing only that aboard Pioneer X and XI and Voyager 1 and 2, all of which have actually left our solar system), because it will have a precisely zero possibility of EVER entering Earth's ecosystem.

And one last thing to consider: If the disaster that some speculate could occur actually DID occur, it would mean the loss of the Kennedy Space Center and the probable end of the American space program. This is something NASA would not willingly risk under any circumstances.

I do not know what else I can tell you. I cannot impart to you the engineering knowledge required for an in-depth understanding of the reliability of these systems, and if you cannot accept my own word then I am at a loss as to how to lay your unfounded fears to rest. Those of us with genuine knowledge of these matters, however, have no fears whatsoever, and I hope I have been able to provide some of our complete confidence in the safety of these units to you. I have tried.

Thank you for your interest, and I am sorry you find these matters to be of such truly unwarranted concern.

Woody Smith
The truth is, we're all living on a little piece of dark matter inside the accretion disk of a black hole. Kinda makes you think.


MY RESPONSE'S (slightly edited and merged)

Awesome lies. Perfect for my next newsletter.

Ask him how come, if the RTGs are so perfect, NASA estimated in 1995 a 33% high-altitude release? (page 4-51 of the 1995 EIS for the Cassini mission "For all the reentry cases studied, about 32 to 34% of the fuel from the three RTGs is expected to be released at high altitude."

Ask him how come the 1997 FSEIS reduced it to 3% (they did it by assuming what way the probe would be tumbling, not by improving the containment system)! And ask him, most of all, why he thinks 3% is sufficient and why he DARES to say the containment system "can withstand re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere and any possible resulting high-speed collision with rocky surfaces" when the same page (4-51) states, regarding specifically INTACT GISs: The GISs that survive reentry...would probably degrade to the point that the total release of fuel from the fueled clads is assumed if they strike rock, and a release fraction of 25 percent is assumed if they strike soil." And regarding Intact GPHS modules, on page 4-50 to 4-51, it says, "The release of fuel from the fueled clad is not expected unless the GPHS modules strike a hard surface, such as rock. For rock impacts, the assumed release fraction is 25 percent."

For "Intact But Damaged GPHS Modules With Intact GISs" (page 4-51) we are told that "total release of fuel is assumed to occur for any [such] GIS impacting rock surfaces and a release of 25 percent is assumed if they strike soil".

You don't even need to be a scientist to see that Woody Smith is a liar, and that there would be a full release of the fuel in the Pu Puke Pellets if they landed on his head. You just need to read NASA's own documentation!

Whatever NASA hopes will happen, which is worldwide ignorance, that is not what will actually happen, but NASA's plan obviously is to "dis" me thoroughly simply for being on the Internet. Maybe you should ask them to SPECIFY exactly who they are saying is giving false information -- or even ask them specifically to state where I specifically, have made a significant error which would alter my conclusions.

In short, ask them which part of their own documents I have misread!


From the mailbag: Dr. Ross McCluney responds to #102

Date: Mon, 01 Mar 1999 19:51:19 -0500
From: Ross McCluney (
Subject: Recent events in Cocoa/Cape Canaveral
To: "Russell D. Hoffman" (
Cc: Jonathan Haber (,
Bruce Gagnon (
Organization: Florida Solar Energy Center

There was an excellent one-day meeting here last Saturday, in one of our conference rooms, hosted by Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network and Carol Mosely of the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, with Carol unfortunately absent at the last minute due to the serious illness of her beloved mother, keeping her in Gainesville. Many ideas were suggested for present and future strategies for most effective action by the small group of people, mostly in Florida, who came to the meeting and who from time to time mount modest protests at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Bruce handled the meeting very well, with everyone having a chance to say everything that they wanted, with a number of informative reports on a variety of related topics, and with enough time at the end to reach consensus on a couple of proposals suggested during the meeting. I was the facility host, since the meeting was held at the Florida Solar Energy Center, and gave a short talk and answered questions on options for providing electric power for future space craft, including the need for large power levels in short bursts for envisioned future space-based weapons systems. After the meeting the group went out to CCAFS for a small protest, to make sure the public and the powers that be don't think we've closed up shop and gone away. The protest got some good local publicity. I couldn't go because of problems with my own aged mother's illness, but I appreciate the efforts those here made, including some who came from moderately large distances to participate.

I think all the efforts of all the groups and individuals, you included, are helpful in conveying useful information to the public, informing officials who should know better about the outrageous plans for nukes in space, and generally keeping the pressure on NASA and the federal government to try and get them to examine their plans for space operations involving nuclear materials. I don't appreciate your continued Bruce Gagnon bashing. That just turns people off from your newsletter and web site, and I can't see it accomplishing anything. The apparent conflict you see between two reports about Bruce's involvement is no conflict at all. I think both are probably right. Bruce has to work for a living and has limited time for his organizing and coordinating, but this doesn't mean that time is zero or that he is no longer useful or helpful. The fact that others are also active, on parallel courses, I think, is wonderful, and this includes what you do.

Russell D. Hoffman wrote:

> To: Subscribers, Press, Government Officials
> ....

> *** From the mailbag: Gagnon's out of the picture?
> *** Coordinated efforts? A little protest to grab the headlines
> *** From the mailbag: Haber is glad to have Gagnon's help

Ross McCluney, Ph.D. Principal Research Scientist
Florida Solar Energy Center, 1679 Clearlake Rd., Cocoa, FL 32922-5703
Voice: 407-638-1414 Fax: 407-638-1439 e-mail:
Florida Solar Energy Center:
Introduction to Radiometry and Photometry:


(Note: The views expressed by Dr. McCluney are his personal views and not necessarily those of the University of Central Florida or the Florida Solar Energy Center. Dr. McCluney's affiliation with the Florida Solar Energy Center and the University of Central Florida is for identification purposes only.)


March 1st, 1999

Dear Dr. McCluney,

I deeply appreciate your comments... and appreciate most of all the presentation of so much data about what is happening in Florida. However, the truth of the matter is, it was my contention from the day I started that newsletter to present the full truth about Cassini, wherever it takes me. The people I have named in my newsletter as being counter-productive shall remain so named. What you have provided here is not proof at all of my being wrong, and I hope you can step back and see that from a disinterested viewpoint. I thought Carol Rosin was mighty, mighty helpful, too, until it became clear that her purpose was to not only disrupt my efforts, but to -- worse -- make me feel as though I were somehow becoming "effective". Her carrot of being able to get me meetings with "the big boys" always fell short, however. Finally, I learned why.

There are much, much bigger things going on than Gagnon's protest, and I invite -- again and again and again -- GN to become a part of what all is happening. As long as Gagnon remains in charge there, with Regina Hagen operating in Germany and the others as described, your effectiveness WILL BE ZERO. Too bad, you're a good man. I'm sure of that.

I know there are wonderful people working for GN and I have met many of them. Peggy McIntire will remain my favorite voice in the movement, although we never get to see each other. I cannot take back, based on what you have sent me, what I have said. I wish I could. It churns my stomach to watch this movement remain disorganized, and that's exactly what it is. That's exactly what GN's unwillingness to back our petition LAST WEEKEND, AT THE MEETING AND AT THE RALLY, is. It's a successful effort to REMAIN DISORGANIZED. It churns my stomach to have to report that these people have time and again, made intentional missteps to thwart the hard efforts of people like yourself, and myself, and all the others who are really, truly trying, or have tried and have since given up and left the movement. It churns my stomach to think that Bruce Gagnon et al shall continue to mislead you and the others into thinking they have any concern whatsoever for actually achieving the millions of voices needed all at once, to stop this thing. Bruce speaks in the article about finally waking people up! He is purposefully turning the media away from the month-long effort of a very hard-working group of people who built a very powerful petition, and don't say you and everyone didn't know about the petition because it was announced at my web site and YOU subscribe [to the newsletter]!

I am sorry, but I finally must add how much it churns my stomach to have to write a letter like this to you, and knowing it will have to be published, that hurts me even more. But the truth is more powerful than a lie, and you have always been utterly truthful with me, and what I have written I believe to be the truth, and I STILL am waiting for any proof that I am wrong. I hope that our own personal friendship will survive; I have no animosity to you or to GN as an organization. My targets are much more exact than that, and much, much more deserving.


Russell Hoffman
STOP CASSINI newsletter still ignored by GN after over 100 issues.


Note: I am not alone in my feelings, nor am I the first or the last, to have been ignored by the "golden triangle" simply for being too effective and/or too enthusiastic, or too sure that this is easily a global issue the world will pay attention to, rather than pretending it is a something we must beat down the media walls to make a stand. It's not the media standing in our way. It's us, and who we let lead us, and it's NASA, and who they have to helping them (DoD, USAF, USN, The Price-Anderson Act, etc. etc. etc.). I'm small potatoes, but at least I'm not alone.

Quote of the day:

"there are some 500,000 elected officials in the U.S" -- by Judge Ernest Goldsmith, during sentencing of the BBB Cherry Pie 3.




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:

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

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:

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

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


I don't know how it is in your country, but in our country, at least we have this:

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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First placed online March 3rd, 1999.
Last modified July 10th, 1999.
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