STOP CASSINI Newsletter #176 -- August 17th, 1999 (pre-flyby)

Copyright (c) 1999

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

To: Subscribers, Press, Government Officials

Subject: Relax: STOP CASSINI #176

Date: August 17th, 1999 (about four hours before the flyby)

This issue's subjects:

(1) From the mailbag: Relax (Louise Freeman, age 19):


From: Louise Freeman, age 19
Subject: relax
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 23:06:55 +0100

Dear Mr Hoffman,

Please put this on a newsletter if possible!

I'm writing this now to help those who have the same fears as me. God is with you. You may not want to hear this, but believe me he is open to your prayers and your thoughts. Tell him what troubles your mind for he will conquer the torment and trauma and release you from the chains which stop you from living.

Don't let your worries make you an empty creation. Take your worries to God for he wants you to let him work for you and do the things you ask of him.

I too have worries about this space probe, and I am uncertain about the future, but I know things will be alright or the lord would not ask me to write this to you. I know you are scared too, but throw your fear away and stamp on it! You have a destiny and a future and whether or not you believe in God I hope this comforts you in some way.

I have to say I don't go to church and I'm certainly not the most 'godly' person; I rarely pray actually, and yet I felt I had to write these words to say that God is looking out for you.

Please don't erase this. Carbon copy it to as many people as possible who have worries over Cassini. Take care,

Louise Freeman, age 19


----- MY RESPONSE: -----

Dear Louise,

THANK you for taking the time to write me these kind words. I will try to put out one more newsletter before the flyby so that I can include it, but I don't know if I will be able to complete it in time.

My religious views appear to actually be quite similar to yours, and I appreciate your sharing your feelings with me. I do believe that in the end, we have little choice but to trust in God, and that is okay with me. However, I do think we should make it easy for God to protect us by not shooting plutonium "bullets" at ourselves!

Thank you again, please write any time,

Russell D. Hoffman
Peace Activist

----- END OF MY RESPONSE -----

Who does NASA think they are that they would threaten and scare this young girl, and so many other people too, with such a horrendous load of death? 400,000 Curies, 72.3 pounds, 280,000,000,000 "potentially lethal doses" -- no matter how you look at it, it's WAY TOO MUCH!

(2) Helen Caldicott : Nukes in space are a serious threat to us all:


Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 18:25:16 -0400
From: Maggie Mandzuk
To:, "Russell D. Hoffman" (,

Jonathan Mark (
Subject: RE: Cassini about to Fly-by Earth:Will You Report The Truth

To The National,

The story is Cassini, nuclear danger, NASA, and Canada's apathy. Attached is an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, August 18, 1999 by Dr. Helen Caldicott. Cassini will come close to earth at 8:28 p.m. PDT tonight (according to NASA). Further information about the real concerns of thousands and thousands of worldwide citizens can be found at the following two websites. Do you have the courage to cover the true story? Not many people in the media have, but the public have a right to know what NASA & the military are doing. Not everyone can get access to a computer & read the websites. Let's see how much you care about all living beings on Earth!

Maggie Mandzuk, Woman of Peace
(514) 488-2608

Wednesday, August 18, 1999


Nukes in space are a serious threat to us all

NASA's real agenda is to dominate space weaponry and the exploitation of other planets. HELEN CALDICOTT explains.

The afterglow of our jubilant celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first moon landing, a more sinister space event is almost upon us. In October 1997, NASA launched a satellite called Cassini to explore Saturn. It has since twice circled Venus to pick up speed and today returns to pass the Earth at a height of 1,166 kilometres and a speed of 68,073 km/h. This so-called "slingshot" manoeuvre will increase its momentum enough for it to finally reach Saturn.

Another amazing techno feat, you might say. But NASA fuelled this satellite with 32.8 kilograms of plutonium 238 - an incredibly dangerous substance - just to provide a meagre 740 watts of electricity (or less than an average hair dryer uses) to power its instruments. Plutonium 238 is 280 times more carcinogenic than plutonium 239, the more ubiquitous isotope used for nuclear weapons. Glenn Seaborg, 239's discoverer, has called 238 the most dangerous material on Earth.

Theoretically, half a kilo of plutonium 239 evenly distributed could give lung cancer to everyone on the planet. So there is a grave danger if the plutonium power cell should vaporise in our atmosphere as Cassini swings by.

The plutonium on board Cassini is the most ever sent into space. It was launched atop a two-stage rocket comprising a Delta and a Titan IV missile, both of which have experienced mishaps and explosions in past launches. Luckily, Cassini got away safely, but will the slingshot be accident-free? We simply don't know, though the risks are real.

Some former NASA scientists and independent experts are concerned that if any of the vectors are inaccurate as Cassini approaches Earth, even by a fraction of a degree, it could enter our atmosphere and burn up. Much of the plutonium would be vaporised and dispersed in aerosol form across a broad swathe of the planet.

NASA has said if that occurred, "approximately five billion of the seven to eight billion world population could receive 99 per cent or more of the radiation exposure". And over which part of the globe is this fly-by taking place? The Southern Hemisphere. Since 1991, the US has insured its nuclear space flights via the Price Anderson Act, which limits the American Government's liability for an accident to $8.9 billion for US domestic damage and just $100 million for damage to other nations.

As if one such high-risk endeavour were not enough, NASA plans eight to 13 more plutonium-bearing space probes. Yet the agency conducts these launches in relative secrecy - not for them the mom-and-apple-pie PR campaigns that accompany each shuttle launch. NASA's full agenda is never discussed publicly. It is mapping the moon, asteroids and planets in our solar system for rare minerals that private industry says it will mine by using nuclear reactors as a power source.

The aim is for the US to dominate space for its own purposes, denying other countries access to the riches. Does this mean that space becomes a potential battleground? The US Air Force has created the US Space Command whose mission statement reads: "Dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investment. Integrating Space Forces into war-fighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict."

As General Joseph Ashy, commander-in-chief of the US Space Command, has said: "It's politically sensitive, but it's going to happen ... absolutely, we're going to fight in space. We're going to fight from space and we're going to fight into space." Which makes a mockery of the Outer Space Treaty of 1976, signed by 91 countries including the US, stipulating space shall be "for peaceful purposes".

New technologies will allow the fielding of space-based weapons of devastating effectiveness, for example, laser weapons with, as a US Air Force report notes, "reasonable mass and cost to effect very many kills compared to current concepts". The technology touted to power them is nuclear power. The laser weapon project is not theoretical. The contracts were signed last year by TRW, Boeing, the US Air Force and the Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation.

Can it get worse? Believe it. President Bill Clinton recently asked Congress to appropriate $6.6 billion for a national missile defence shield - the old Reagan Star Wars scheme that we thought was dead and buried. This system - which is supposed to shoot down "enemy" missiles and destroy their satellite surveillance systems - is in violation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty upon which depend all arms-reduction agreements with Moscow.

Dr Strangelove is not dead. The shadow of his madness looms even darker over the planet and is about to be projected into worlds beyond. What can stop this American nuclear madness, in which Australia participates by staying silent as it mines uranium?

Dr Helen Caldicott is president of the Our Common Future Party.

This material is subject to copyright and any unauthorised use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.


NOTE: This material is distributed here without profit or payment and for educational purposes only.

(3) SPACE NEWS prints Op-Ed by YH&OS

SPACE NEWS, the weekly roundup of the space industry ( has printed a commentary by the STOP CASSINI newsletter editor in their August 23rd, 1999 issue (page 14).

Aside from one serious misprint which occurred in something added after I saw the last edit pass, it is a nicely edited item and I am delighted that they were able to get the item into the paper as quickly as they did. It appears on the bottom half of a page I share with Kofi Annan, the U. N. Secretary General. (In Annan's piece, he makes the interesting claim that satellite monitoring can be used to detect land mines. Most land mines, I assure him, are detected by sheep, cows, children and other sacrificial lambs.)

The one glaring error that occurred in my article came in the last sentence of the second paragraph, where I am quoted as saying (in reference to Carl Sagan's support of Galileo): "The same stance is now used by his more myopic followers in support of Cassini, which contains considerably less plutonium than Galileo." I never wrote that last part! Cassini contains considerably MORE plutonium than Galileo (three RTGs instead of two, or about 406,000 Curies of plutonium for Cassini as compared to about 264,400 Curies for Galileo (launch weights)).

Other than that I think it's a great article! I hope Kofi Annan reads it!

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

There is undoubtedly nothing any of us can do to prevent the flyby; let's hope it goes well. NASA needs to be told in no uncertain terms NEVER to launch nuclear rockets of any type ever again!

To learn about the absurd excuses NASA used to launch Cassini and its 72.3 pounds of plutonium 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.

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Published by Russell D. Hoffman electronically.
Written in U.S.A.
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