Subject: Alive, awake, aware: STOP CASSINI: #143
Date: June 23rd, 1999
Time Frame: There are several YEARS left to SMASH CASSINI INTO JUPITER! ! ! ! ! [NOTE: THE AUTHOR NOW (FRIDAY, JUNE 25TH, 1999 -- THE NEXT DAY -- CORRECTS THIS TO SUGGEST WE SHOULD SMASH CASSINI INTO THE MOON (PREFERABLY, OR VENUS), AND AVOID THE EARTH FLYBY!]
In the game of Scissors, Paper, Stone, as any schoolchild knows, stone crushes (beats) scissors but paper wraps (beats) stone, and scissors cuts (beats) paper. Everything is covered. A friend of mine, Mike Lemons of Carlsbad, California, came up with a high-tech variant which is in fact, better, because after all, what good does wrapping stone in paper do anyway? His is called Mirror, Laser, Rock. It works as follows: Rock breaks (beats) mirror. Laser blasts (beats) rock. And mirror reflects laser, destroying (beating) it with its own light.
The Cassini triangle of excuses is a similar conundrum.
I want to set the record straight a thousand different ways, so that even a thousand years from now it will be unmistakable to historians, that the whole truth was known, not a little bit, but the whole truth. Our eyes are wide open, our minds fully aware of what NASA is doing and why. The puzzle is solved, and we tried to stop them. Others may accept NASA's folly, who compartmentalize their knowledge into astronomy, or engineering, or medicine (or the administration of x-rays, if that quackery can be called medicine as often and as poorly as its misused) -- these so-called experts will fall for one of the three "alibis of Cassini". But it's not right.
(I had 18 dental x-rays recently, and the Doctor then proceeded to miss the big glaring cavity they clearly indicated anyway! (The Patient's Friend, the underpaid dental assistant, saw it and alerted the Doctor!))
I long ago offered to take on all comers, but all I am left with are unanswerable questions and unfair insults. Pro-Cassini people do not even try to answer the questions they know they have no good answers to. "That's not my department" they say. No one can explain the vicious triangle (described many times, most recently in the letter to Astronomy magazine, published in newsletter #142) which permits NASA to do this mad-scientist thing right before our eyes. Each time you argue with them, they eventually lean on one of the three points of discussion, ignoring the reality of the weakness of their overall position.
They fall into one or another of the three corners, depending on their own area of expertise. The corner furthest from that professional knowledge is the one they rely on. For example, an engineer will lean on the idea that even if the stuff is released somehow, it will not do any damage because some bought-off medical quack tells him a little radiation is A-OKAY. Or they rely on some astronomer who tells them that an accident is very unlikely.
A medically-knowledgeable supporter or employee of NASA will rely NOT on the medical safety of 72.3 pounds of plutonium 238, because there isn't anything safe about it. (Mostly Pu 238, and some Pu 239 and other isotopes, all in dioxide form). Instead, they rely on some half-wit PR person who claims that the containment system will work perfectly, when NO self-respecting engineer would make such a claim themselves! Or they rely on some astronomer who tells them that an accident is very unlikely.
An astronomer, who knows the odds are long against an accident, but knows all too well that "long" and "impossible" are two different things, assumes that the containment system will work. Or perhaps they allow themselves to recognize that it won't, if they have a bit of engineering or actually read NASA's own 1995 Environmental Impact Statement on Cassini (page 4-51). In that case, if worst comes to worst, then the astronomer assumes that the payload is not so carcinogenic as all that. Hundreds of billions of lethal doses simply won't show up on their radar screens, even if it's their own brother-in-law who dies of leukemia.
And then there's the slimy PR person, with no expertise themselves, who will rely on anyone -- the scientist who calculates the odds against an accident occurring at all, which probably are close to the mythical one in one million right now (but not close enough!). Such long odds seem long enough to them. Or they'll rely on the medical quack who somehow explains that plutonium isn't so carcinogenic anyway, despite the fact that a tenth of a microgram is plenty enough to cause cancer if deposited in a human lung. Or they'll rely on the containment system to hold it all in, refusing to read the fine print in their own blood-stained official government documents.
Everyone relies on someone else's corner of the triangle -- someone else's expertise to come to the conclusion that Cassini in all its horror is somehow safe and proper.
No one at NASA sees the forest for the trees, and none of their supporters do either.
I wonder if any of these folks ever buy a lottery ticket or go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City? Big wins (say, a million dollars or more) at any gambling institution have odds that are far less than one in one million -- but it happens with regularity. In dozens of states' lotteries in America, for instance, there are winners of over a million dollars, each week (sometimes more than one), and those people each have less than a one in one million chance of winning "the big one".
So one in one million odds against spreading hundreds of billions of lethal doses of plutonium around the environment are not such long odds. Odds way longer than that happen all the time to someone in America each day. A million dollars would be a huge change in 99% of American's lives. A Cassini accident could be a huge change in millions of people's lives.
In the event of a Cassini reentry accident in August (the exact date is discussed below), I wonder which, if any, of the NASA employees would step forward to accept the blame (and I don't just mean wear a long face and say, "Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa!"). I mean accept FULL blame, by resigning, and by demanding the right to tell everything they know about what goes on inside NASA that would produce these awful decisions.
If Cassini failed, would any NASA employee feel any shame?
And those few NASA employees that know exactly why NASA really went with a radioactive solution where a solar one would have worked, will they continue to delude themselves, thinking it was a patriotic necessity to have RTGs (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators) available for the Earth-orbiting spy missions? Will they excuse the accident as just another Cold War tragedy? For that's all Cassini really is. A cover for a military agenda. A useless military agenda at that. Solar would work for those missions too!
Maybe that guy sending out those strange emails about SAVING $200 BILLION by CLOSING NASA NOW is right, at least that far into his scheme. I certainly don't see how any of the potential science return is of any value to society, considering the crimes against freedom, honesty, honest science and democracy, that have gone on in its name. Not to mention the arrogance. Any who call me arrogant (unbelievably, they do exist!) need only look to my opponent, who, in their awful arrogance, plan even to throw a party for what they claim is a foregone conclusion -- the upcoming "successful" flyby of Earth! They have no right to party over their triumph of arrogance and ignorance over science, reason, and compassion! Let us pray, as they probably will, at least in their hearts if not openly, that it should not be instantly turned into a funeral gathering.
Having failed in our attempts to get NASA to see reason and smash Cassini into Venus, I am now for smashing Cassini into Jupiter. That will shut the project down and prevent Cassini from ever threatening Earth again. The flyby of Earth, at this point, is actually safer for Earthlings, in the long run, than NOT doing the flyby. This is because if the flyby of Earth is skipped, the probe will be left in the vicinity of Earth and might intersect our path at a later date (see the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini mission, page B-4, quoted below). But doing the Earth flyby as planned (perhaps raising it to 2,500 km might be possible) will actually allow NASA to get rid of the thing -- that is to say, fling it out to Jupiter, its next flyby planet. (The Jupiter flyby is due around December 2000 or perhaps some time in January, 2001.) -- rdh
NOTE: THE AUTHOR CORRECTS THIS IDEA: WE SHOULD COMPLETELY AVOID THE EARTH FLYBY, AND SMASH CASSINI INTO VENUS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. THERE IS NO REASON TO DO THE EARTH FLYBY OR TO SEND CASSINI TO JUPITER. IT CAN BE SMASHED INTO THE MOON (PREFERABLY, OR VENUS) INSTEAD!
"The JPL study determined that, although a trajectory-biasing strategy to control the potential for Earth impact during the planned swingby would affect the probability over the long term, such a strategy could not be relied on exclusively to control the long-term probability. Failures on legs targeted towards Earth or Venus would tend to result in spacecraft trajectories that remain in the vicinity of Earth's orbit. Failures during legs targeted towards Jupiter or Saturn tend to result in trajectories that would never return to the vicinity of Earth's orbit. Gravity-assists by the massive outer planets, for example, would virtually ensure that failures during the last 73 percent of the primary and the last 44 percent of the backup interplanetary cruise do not result in an Earth impact. Over a long-term period, the Earth impact probability is dominated by third-body perturbations to the spacecraft trajectory and by accidental planetary gravity-assist swingbys while the errant spacecraft is drifting in a Sun orbit. Therefore, the long-term Earth impact probability would have to be controlled by designing the spacecraft and mission operations so that the failure probabilities would be low."
How low is "low"? What does "virtually ensure" mean? What does "tend" mean each time it is used? Who knows? But for sure, there are hundreds of billions of lethal doses of plutonium on board Cassini just waiting in case "low" isn't low enough and "virtually" isn't sure enough. It's a devil's gamble. -- rdh
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 17:09:08 -0700
To: "Cassini Spacecraft Updates" (Cassini@jpl.nasa.gov)
Subject: Cassini spacecraft second Venus flyby
The Cassini spacecraft will perform its second scheduled Venus flyby (or Venus 2 swingby) with its closest approach at 1:30:05 pm, Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) (4:30 pm EDT) on June 24, 1999.
You will be able to view the data as an indication of the spacecraft's speed during the swingby. Between 1:19 PM PDT and 1:37 PM PDT, no data will be received because the spacecraft will be behind Venus (from Earth's point of view).
You will be able to view the data on the Cassini web site at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/cassini click on the link on the front page.
Cassini Mission to Saturn and Titan
To unsubscribe from Cassini Spacecraft Updates, send a message to leave-cassini-112992K@list.jpl.nasa.gov
Visit the JPL Cassini home page for more information about the Cassini Project:
At 07:06 PM 6/23/99 -0700, marie dreamcrystal wrote:
Your friend Jonathan Mark Haber is well aware that NASA intends a big 'fly-by party' on the l7th.
who know for what reasons they moved it up a day. i doubt it was numerology. my guess is that they had to recalculate minute synchronistic orbits due to a change that occurred from a computer flaw in cassini about a year ago.
also....what good is public exposure on the l8th if cassini passes on the l7th.
they never change.
however, as the titans that blew up after cassini's launch; so is the public awareness if cassini passes; that the hazard will still exist in the future for every breathing lifeform.
Such a party is definitely a devil's dance. A pagan religious ceremony. What would they be celebrating? A success they all claim to think is guaranteed?
Such a party should not be permitted on the property of sane taxpayers. I like to think my government is made of sane people, but clearly that would be MOST PRESUMPTUOUS. Such a party is the height of arrogance. As a party favor, I recommend a CD-ROM with all the various STOP CASSINI web sites on it. (I will be happy to provide them at no charge to all attendees if others will help me gather the information together.) -- rdh
Thanks for the email. I think it's actually August 18th where it comes closest to Earth (near Africa) but will be late on August 17th in the United States. I think that's the reason for the date confusion. And the party.
According to this URL:
the actual time of the closest approach is "03:28".
I presume that means 3:28 am, local time ("local" meaning the spot directly under the closest approach point). That also happens to be what pilots call ZULU time, or more formally, the time zone of the Greenwich (0) meridian. Thus, it will be August 18th, 1999, local time or "International Time", whichever they are using, it's the same thing.
However, in the United States of America it will still be the evening of August 17th, 1999.
I think that is undoubtedly the source of the confusion.
As to the Titan explosion, you are absolutely correct that that should really have been a wake-up to the world, because I believe it actually had an RTG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) on board! Winds were out to sea that day (as they planned) so we'll never know. Just add some more plutonium to the background levels, and someone, somewhere, gets cancer, leukemia, or their child is born deformed, but we'll never know why, and they'll never know why. It will simply happen.
Thanks for writing and for caring about the Earth,
To stop NASA's dangerous upcoming August 17th (note new date!), 1999 flyby of Earth by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, with its deadly cargo of 72.3 pounds of plutonium 238 dioxide, arrogantly launched in 1997 amidst strong protests, please start by contacting NASA/JPL immediately and tell them you oppose Cassini:
Cassini Public Information
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
(818) 354-5011 or
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!
Here's NASA's "comments" 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:
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.
After you have acquainted yourself with what NASA is doing, please:
READ OUR RESOLUTION AGAINST CASSINI!
SIGN OUR PETITION!
CANCEL CASSINI by JUNE 24th, 1999!
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