STOP CASSINI Newsletter #151 -- July 12th, 1999

Copyright (c) 1999

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

To: Subscribers, Press, Government Officials

Subject: Public attention may soon destroy them: STOP CASSINI #151

Date: July 12th, 1999

Time Frame: Cassini is scheduled to do the flyby of Earth on August 18th, 1999 (August 17th in the USA) near (and aiming towards) Africa.

Today's Subjects:

(1) We may have won a battle, but we haven't won the war

If item #1 of the following email is to be believed (and I have no reason not to believe it) NASA is now saying that Cassini will be the LAST EARTH FLYBY!

But this does not stop the battle against nukes in space and the nuclear demons that plague the space program and society at large. Although the first item in the email below may be taken as a victory by some, if we do not change policy to more openness and honest Environmental Impact Statements, and Truth in All, then we will have won nothing at all.

And while the future may have some brightness because of this, there is NO JOY in knowing that probes can go dead among the inner planets and impact Earth WITHOUT an intentional flyby! They can explode into vapor at launch! They can fail to achieve escape velocity and come back to Earth days, weeks, months, or years after launch! THIS IS NOT A VICTORY but NASA must be getting awfully, awfully worried that public attention may soon destroy them if they are not more responsive to the public's demands for safe and reasonable space exploration. And as for the "new" RTGs (also known as RPSs now) being "more efficient", they are modestly so -- using the new RTGs, Cassini would still need between 80,000 and 200,000 Curies of plutonium -- and dividing it into two missions just means twice as many missions can fail! But cutting Cassini's power requirements in half would have meant we could have NOT USED NUCLEAR power at all! So the game continues. Plutonium is not a safe power source in any of these quantities. 1/10th as much plutonium as Cassini has, on each of two or three times as many missions to accomplish the same science return, is NOT a sustainable policy and represents NO victory for the opponents to NASA's mad-scientist policies. [And it should not be forgotten that Cassini, due to do its Earth flyby less than two months from the day I write this, may still be that "one too many" or "one in one million" mistake. -- rdh]


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From: "Bruce Moomaw"
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(1) Itaytslin's objections to your thorium idea seem to hold up well. A thorium-fueled nuclear reactor might be safer than a plutonium-fueled RTG, but it's also a hell of a lot more complex -- and a hell of a lot heavier, which of course woudl hugely increase themcost of the mission. By the way, the next generation of NASA spacecraft to use RTGs -- the Europa Orbiter, Pluto Express, and Solar Probe -- will each carry only about one-tenth as much plutonium as Cassini, both because they're much smaller spacecraft and because NASA is just finishing up the design of a new RTG that converts the plutonium's heat into electricity two to three times more efficiently. The smaller spacecraft can also be launched on smaller rockets with much less explosive power (although NASA, as part of its endless frantic effort to drum up business for the Shuttle, is currently planning to launch the Europa Orbiter -- and maybe the Pluto probe -- on Shuttles. Quite apart from the additional danger, this is a huge unnecessary expense.) And NASA has made it clear that from now on, if any nuclear-powerd spacecraft needs to make a gravity-assist flyby to get into the outer Solar System, it will use only flybys of Venus and perhaps Mars -- the coming Cassini flyby of Earth is the last of its kind.

(2) Regarding your proposal to pump meltwater through the Cryobot to push it downward (I did misunderstand your idea there): Don't forget that as soon as the probe's heated nose produces a layer of meltwater -- no matter how thin -- the probe will immediately settle to the bottom of it and start melting the ice further down. You certainly don't need to worry about the Cryobot ever stalling out during its descent -- unless it encounters something (like a rock) that it can't melt. And if you're going to install something as powerful and electricity-consuming as jet-propulsion pumps, it would make far more sense to use all that additional electric power to instead simply power bigger heaters on the probe's nose so it could melt the ice faster. Don't forget that it will always take far less power to simply melt through the ice than to try to ram through it with mechanical force.

By the same token, it would take far less power to steer the Cryobot by just sticking drag brakes out of its sides periodically than to try to drive one side of it down faster through the ice with "spiked wheels".

(3) Regarding Deep Impact: The accuracy needed to crash a series of impactors into the same crater on the comet really is a big problem; in their Web paper, A'Hearn and Belton say they're just aiming to crash their impactor within about 300 meters of its target point. (Also, it would probably be a lot harder to design a targeting camera to identify a crater on the comet's surface than it is to locate a missile against the black backdrop of space.)

And don't forget that if you did manage to dig a deeper shaft into the comet's surface with a series of impactors, as the shaft got deeper the debris from the later impacts would just start falling back into the hole.

Bruce Moomaw



(2) Frederick de Hoffman's nukes

For those who thought, perhaps because of the Grinspoon article in Astronomy magazine or the evidence in the preceeding item in this newsletter, that there was some hope that we had prevented or even slowed down the use of nuclear components in space, the online publication Space Views has a scary article about nuclear rocketry located at this URL:


"One of the most promising possibilities within the reach of our technology is nuclear propulsion."

"As early as 1944, Stanislaus Ulam and Frederick de Hoffman at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (LASL) considered how nuclear detonations might be used for space travel. While such a scheme was later studied in detail as part of ARPA's (Advanced Research Project Agency) Project Orion and the British Interplanetary Society's Project Daedalus, it was felt that a slower, controlled release of atomic energy would be more suitable."


As far as I know the editor of the STOP CASSINI newsletter is not related to Frederick de Hoffman.

(3) The military connection at work: Searching for clues:

The United States' so-called "civilian" space program is nothing more than a cover for a military agenda. The "deep space" RTGs are specifically designed to provide a "need" for the technology, which is used for military spy satellites and has been for nearly 50 years.

One particularly clear proof is the various official or officially-sanctioned statements marginalizing the anti-nuke movement, as if we have no logical point at all. In reality good science forms the basis or our objections, and in any case, real science would not denigrate participants in the discussion as the anti-nukes-in-space voice has been denigrated on this issue. (This snarling attacks on the anti-nuclear voices started LONG before YH&OS got involved heavily in the issues, less than three years ago (1997).)

We'll see what Grinspoon's Astronomy magazine does, now that all the cards are on the table. Grinspoon himself thought it was worth attacking me before his article came out. How will he respond now that his weak arguments have been exposed and debunked? What will they publish? All of it will be too late, of course. By design, I presume. Scientific American, which we've heard is publishing a Cassini story in their August 1999 issue, is equally guilty of holding off the debate until it would be too late to affect Cassini anyway. I presume it is also done by design.

None of these people, documents, articles, etc. which have come out, ever explain what saves us from a REAL "worst case scenario" (which they won't even discuss). What saves us? Pure chance. Luck of the draw. NOT science!


The Cassini debate as it appears in Astronomy magazine and most other places is controlled-science, where the answers are preprogrammed and contrary facts are denied categorically. Real science would not act this way.

Real science would accept our philosophical points as at least equally valid (is a 10 year wait so bad?) and would attempt to arrive at a rational plan of action which considers all points of view fairly and openly. Were science free, IEEE Spectrum would have published my response to their article, for I was careful to answer every claim, and checked my response with concerned scientists prior to sending it. If science were free, The Planetary Society would likewise freely publish a debate instead of ignoring (or obfuscating) the issues, only to have their Executive Director send me pithy emails for me to publish, one after another over several years! What a mixed-up world we live in, where the truth is hidden and the facts are denied, and a big fat lie is perpetrated on the people in its place! And many of the people know the truth, but yet are told the lie again and again anyway as if they did not see what is obvious before their eyes! What is happening is not how a democracy is supposed to work. Instead of open debate, we are shut out and worse yet, phonies are put in our place before the world, whose job it is to distract the media further from who is saying what about anything.

To produce an Environmental Impact Statement on Cassini which does not describe a true "worst case scenario" is ludicrous! To not hold public sworn testimony is ludicrous! Why are these undemocratic things happening in America today over this topic? Because of the "military connection". People in the military do not question authority very much, and are unable to do so in any case most of the time. They cannot visit my web site without being afraid of being "discovered", for instance. They cannot pass my URLs around without someone questioning why they are involving themselves in military areas which are not their concern.


They must keep their thinking within the confines of the job they have been assigned. If it's to track space debris, for instance, then their job is NOT to discuss the foolish political policies that produce that debris! If their job is to tell the public (that is, the media and any civilians who might rise up a little and feebly inquire about such things) that we track 10,000 pieces of space debris, or 8,400 or 9,239 or whatever, they will tell us. But they are not expected to remind us each time they give the current number of what they track, that about 99% of the stuff that would be catastrophic to ANY spacecraft EVER launched -- is UNTRACKED!

That is never said. A media-manipulation game is played instead with that 1% they actually can track, moving (or not) the International Space Station (ISS) and so forth, as if they had the problem under control. But it is really a very Russian type of game -- Russian Roulette. When there is a nuclear payload, then the price of failure goes way, way up. It is like Russian Roulette with a machine gun which has a trigger that locks in the "on" position when it is first pulled! Why American space proponents want to keep this a secret is obvious -- it's so that John Q. Public (that's you and me, folks) will not worry about Cassini or other launches across this deadly orbital gantlet (of nearly 100% man-made origin).

That is the military connection at work, because someone wants us to believe that everything that can and should be done about the problem, IS being done -- but it ISN'T! Space debris is a horrific problem for ANY spacecraft -- if Cassini whacks into a piece the size of a lentil bean, it would be catastrophic for Cassini -- yet the "10,000" pieces we track are all larger than about the size of a grapefruit or even a small watermelon -- further out, in the Geosynchronous area, we can only track stuff the size of small desks or bigger.


In James Oberg's recent Space Power Theory book (available for free online from the United States Government because they think it's important propaganda to promote their absurd theories on what makes America great) the nuclear issue is cast aside as unimportant. If that's the officially sanctioned "scientific" attitude, then what is left to prevent the military from using nukes in space? Not public criticism. Not fair debate. Not fair publicity for what they are doing. Not opposing scientists, who are ignored. What? Funding? No, not even that:

In newsletter #113 we reprinted a report from SPACE NEWS ( containing a $13 Million "clue" to the military connection, namely, funding for "nuclear space power sources" for the "Office of Space and Defense Power Systems. That office develops radioisotope thermoelectric generators and other nuclear-power systems for space and ground-based applications.":


Who called NC-WARN last year to claim there was an RTG on board the Titan the exploded? Why, it was -- had to be -- could be none other than -- an agent provocateur! But that does NOT mean there was NO RTG on board. Quite the contrary! The editor of the STOP CASSINI newsletter has concluded that there absolutely MUST have been an RTG on board the Titan that exploded on August 12th, 1998, with winds out to sea and a hurricane coming in less than two weeks later. (Frankly, this editor lost all hope for the misguided Florida activists when they failed to test for a plutonium release at the time of the accident despite international pleas by other activists that they do so (see newsletters #69 through #72, #78, #101, #106 and others).)


Karl Grossman's amazing book THE WRONG STUFF has over 700 references indicating that the United States Military is the guiding hand behind virtually the entire "civilian" space program. Those references range from statements by Generals which were published in newspapers across America, news show transcripts, printed reports, and information he needed to use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to get. Grossman's videos, Nukes in Space 1 and Nukes in Space 2 -- despite their vital message and despite winning wonderful accolades and awards -- remain off the airwaves.

Copies of the 1958 Hearings before Subcommittees of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Congress of the United States can sometimes be found in used book stores, but that's from more than 40 years ago. It's quite unequivocal about the use of radioactive materials for these types of purposes, but some may think (erroneously) that it is dated.

But can we prove the connection? Of course not! What is proof? A confession? A deadly accident? Only the President of the United States can provide the first -- by forcing the release of all the relevant documents. Only a sea change in the public's attitude will cause that. As for the second, time and chance will provide it eventually if there is not a sea change in policy.

But instead of the truth coming out thanks to Grossman's hard work, we are seeing those very same types of documents becoming HARDER to get, because of this "Chinese spy scandal" which is actually just a cover for a dirty little war, that so far claimed the lives of three Chinese journalists in Belgrade and who-knows-who-else.

This country was founded on truth. Democracy cannot function any other way. Here is the URL of an article about this (3rd item of newsletter #131):

(4) Nuclear Aircraft Carriers: A response to our comments (sort of)

In newsletter #124 we presented comments which the editor of the STOP CASSINI newsletter made at a public hearing in late 1998, regarding the homeporting of nuclear aircraft carriers in San Diego Bay. Here is the URL for those comments:

At long last, the NAVY has published a 30 pound set of six books which responds to those comments, and everyone else's comments, and everything else anyone wants to know about homeporting of nuclear aircraft carriers except the truth. That doesn't appear in the Navy literature anywhere (except in the comments by concerned citizens)! The closest the NAVY comes to telling the truth is when they say they will tow a melting-down hulk out to sea, ignoring the fact that no one would get close to the thing, the tides would need to be right, and there would have to not be a hole in the bottom of the ship where the nuclear fuel melted through.

Anyway, for what it's worth, here is the NAVY's entire official response to my comments which were published in newsletter #81:


" H.2.100 Our publicly-elected U.S. Congress and President of the United States make programmatic decisions regarding Naval ships (e.g., application of nuclear power), and thus comments regarding these decisions are beyond the scope of this EIS. The results of all the analyses of both normal operations and hypothetical accidents indicate that there would be no significant radiological impacts from homeporting and maintaining NIMITZ-class aircraft carriers or operating NIMITZ-class aircraft carrier maintenance facilities. Information on low-level radiation exposure and risk is addressed in Appendix E of the EIS and in response to O.12.190. Non-Cancer risks are addressed in response O.12.27."


Note: The two references contain statements saying, in short, that the Navy considered low level radiation as being detrimental in a variety of ways. However they do not admit to any discussion of radiation releases from a nuclear accident -- only from a properly operating reactor!

One thing they ARE saying in the above response is that the idea that there is no need for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers to begin with is beyond the scope of the Navy's EIS for the nuclear aircraft carriers! Such hokey! No wonder this country is dying in a nuclear quaqmire.

(5) What you can do today to stop the Cassini flyby of Earth:

To learn about the absurd excuses NASA used to launch Cassini in 1997, ask them for the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission, and all subsequent documentation. At the same time, be sure to ask them for ANY and ALL documentation available on future uses of plutonium in space, including MILITARY, CIVILIAN, or "OTHER" (just in case they make a new category somehow!). To get this information, contact:

Cassini Public Information
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
(818) 354-5011 or
(818) 354-6478

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: or

Here's the NASA URL to find additional addresses to submit written questions to:


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.

(6) Subscription information

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First placed online July 12th, 1999.
Last modified July 15th, 1999.
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