STOP CASSINI Newsletter #178 -- August 18th, 1999

Copyright (c) 1999

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index


To: Friends and interested parties, media, government

From: Russell Hoffman, Founder and Editor, Stop Cassini newsletter

Re: Feedback -- STOP CASSINI #178 (still thinking about a new name for the newsletter)

Date: August 18th,1999

This issue's subjects:


(1) Knight-Ridder article on Cassini best of the lot:


----- FROM RADBULL, AUGUST 17TH, 1999: -----

11 Space probe worries anti-nuclear activists

Tuesday, August 17, 1999

By SETH BORENSTEIN
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON--Rocketing with pinpoint accuracy and carrying 72 pounds of plutonium, an 11,000-pound NASA space probe is expected to zip past Earth tonight just 725 miles above the planet.

As the $3.3 billion Cassini probe wends its way on a planned seven- year flight toward Saturn, Tuesday's flyby is intended simply as a routine maneuver to get a giant slingshot-like boost from Earth's gravity on its 2.2 billion-mile trek.

What makes this whip-around--with almost three times the momentum of the probe's October 1997 launch--scary is that it involves swinging lots of deadly plutonium close to Earth at 42,000 mph. At 11:28 p.m. EDT, Cassini is expected to bank above Pitcairn Island in the Pacific and make a sharp turn toward the outer planets.

So far Cassini has flown so precisely that NASA canceled three of its 12 planned engine firings as unnecessary to correct its course, and the engine isn't even expected to turn on again until after it passes Earth.

"I can't conceive of any way" the probe can go off target and hit Earth, NASA Cassini program manager Bob Mitchell said. " We've got two years of experience flying this thing. What we're finding is that the development team that built and tested this thing just did an exceptionally good job."

But anti-nuclear activists, who first feared a launch explosion and then a badly plotted course, fret about the possibility of a last- minute glitch that could kill tens of thousands of people. Even minute quantities of the plutonium, which powers the satellite, could be deadly.

As Cassini nears Earth, it will enter an area where thousands of pieces of space junk float, the activists note. The junk, they theorize, could send the probe into Earth's atmosphere, where it would partially burn and release the plutonium.

"Cassini will be entering the belt in the last half-hour of the flyby," said Michio Kaku, a prominent theoretical physics professor at City College of New York and one of the most vocal Cassini opponents. "One paint fleck could just blow Cassini apart and send it spiraling to Earth."

But with so much space between the pieces of debris, NASA said, the chance that Cassini will hit a piece of junk larger than 1 gram is 1 in 13 million. It has a 1 in 40,000 chance of hitting a piece smaller than 1 gram.

"However, the spacecraft speed is so high at this point in the mission that no collision with space debris could provide enough energy to put the spacecraft or its [plutonium] on an impact course with Earth," the agency said in its final environmental impact report.

Kaku concedes it is unlikely, but he worries that Cassini's success will cause NASA to want to do more missions involving plutonium, and compares that to Russian roulette.

NASA plans eight more missions that would use plutonium and a few probes that may swing by Earth. Cassini is expected to whip around Jupiter in December 2000 and arrive at Saturn in 2004.

----- END OF REPORT SEEN IN ROGER HERRIOD'S RADBULL FOR AUGUST 17TH,1999 -----

We are as pleased as can be to have finally seen a well-written report about the flyby! Congratulations to Knight-Ridder and writer Seth Borenstein! -- rdh

We would just note that the risk from a debris collision near Earth -- the "40,000" plus "1 in 13 million" added together -- represented a danger not so much for a reentry yesterday, as for one some random time in the future. In fact we still are at a risk of Cassini returning! All that has to happen is for it to go dead and then drift aimlessly (perhaps for decades first) into our path. A micrometeor collision might have actually occurred yesterday, but the effect won't be noticed until later when some part is moved or turned on for the first time.

We will not be safe from Cassini until it has crashed into Jupiter or Saturn or one of their moons (and polluted that place instead). Or until the radiation subsides over 1000 years from now for the Pu 238 (half life: 87.75 years) and half a million years from now for the Pu 239 (half life: 24,131 years). -- rdh


(2) From the mailbag: Cassini day-by-day thoughts (a poem):


----- INCOMING EMAIL FROM VICTOR PAYAN -----

From: SaltonDoc2@aol.com
Received: from SaltonDoc2@aol.com
for ; Wed, 18 Aug 1999 17:19:15 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 17:19:14 EDT
Subject: falling star
To: rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com

Hello, I want to commend you on your tireless efforts to raise awareness about the spectre of covert nuclear development and the exploitation and pollution of space. We all share this planet and must unite against the arrogance of the corporations and governments which risk its destruction for us all. I am writing for two reasons. First, I have written a poem that deals with what I (and countless many others) were feeling the nights before the flyby. Secondly, I live in San Diego, and as I was driving home last night I happened to look out my window and see a falling star at about 11:30 pm in the northern sky travelling from west to east. When I got home and checked your website and saw that the news reported that the flyby was successful. On one hand that was reassuring. On the other hand, how can we assume that the news report was correct? Is there other verification that everything was a-okay? Thanks again for your diligence!

Cassini
by Victor Payan

I.
8/12/99

the child breathes
a panic spreads
out all around
while women weep and
grown men seated
on black stumps
stare blankly
heads hung low
dogs bark
and whole cities are rolling
fat cow eyes
the poison evil
unseen hand of science
not understanding
the breathing becomes hard

II.
8/13/99

It was not God but we
who broke the covenant
who built our Babels much too high
who billions spent
to turn the cosmic riddle
on its eye
hurling bulls into the china shop
one by one
heaving phallic voyageurs
of puffed up pride
like screams of rage
into that silence
of serenity
fragile
and failing to realize
through all the flurry
and the fuss
the grand abyss
was inside us

III
8/14/99

this anger has no exit now
rising like a needle clicking
frenzy swarm of atom dust
telling you to run
because no one will live here
for ten thousand years
and children will die coughing here
violent fits of torment
eyes glued over and
clawing at their throats
and every window that you see
for every mile around
reeks with the stench of Zyklon B
white coats and clipboards no defense
from the horseman wind that they unleashed
the earth revolts
from such abuse
and the widsom of the ancients
descends just like a veil
the two percent who brought this on
will ride it out as best they may
while the devil dances
a genetic dance of discontent
feverish and profane
kicking up the dust
of the poison earth the humble will inherit
while a grim legislature of rifles and tanks
sets silence to the cries of
who will have the medicine?
who will hoard the water and the food?
whose flag do we run up whose pole now?
whose face do we smash in?

1999 Victor Payan

----- END OF INCOMING EMAIL FROM VICTOR PAYAN -----

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

Thank you, Sir. I will "break my vow of silence" over this -- that is, I'll post it immediately as today's newsletter. I have received many letters, 90% of which are very nice, most of the others are a little rude -- some are frightening. I don't know what of them to publish (although I forward them to NASA and the president so they can see the level of support they are getting) but I know I want to publish your poem right away. And I don't know what the shooting star you saw might have been. If the reports that have come out of yesterday are anything to go on, NASA could fool the media any time they want, on any subject. Our local news report (the very one I got my early report from) had the reporter clearly misunderstanding the meaning of "vaporize". But it was sure full of fancy NASA graphics!

The 2% live in such a dream world, it's pathetic.

Thanks again for writing, and for your kind words and excellent poetry.

Sincerely,
Russell Hoffman
Still opposed to Cassini as much as before (but now, mainly out of disgust for the idea that ANY good science can come out of today's NASA)

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


(3) From the mailbag: LOVEARTH checks in:


----- INCOMING EMAIL FROM MARK ELSIS, DIRECTOR, LOVEARTH -----

Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 12:13:47 -0400
From: Mark Elsis mark@lovearth.net
Organization: LOVEARTH
To: "Russell D. Hoffman" rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com
Subject: Bless You Russell

Dear Russell

Thank you for all of the wonderful Cassini info these last two plus years

LOVEARTH
Mark Elsis

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

The LOVEARTH Network
Creating Awareness To Stop The Extinction Of Man
By Developing The Largest Online Environmental Humanitarian Network
5683 Midnight Pass Road Suite 106 Siesta Key FL 34242
New York City: 84-10 53rd Avenue Elmhurst NY 11373

Phone Toll Free: 1 877 LOVEARTH = 1 877 568.3278
Outside The United States: 1 941 349.9426
Fax Toll Free: 1 877 WEB OF LIFE = 1 877 932.6354
Outside The United States: 1 941 349.0295

LOVEARTH
Executive Director: Mark Elsis
MailTo:Mark@Lovearth.net
http://www.LOVEARTH.net

LOVEARTH BE YOUR BEST RESONATE LOVE
LOVE ALL LIFE ON EARTH FOR OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS
GO IN PEACE

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

----- END OF INCOMING EMAIL FROM MARK ELSIS, DIRECTOR, LOVEARTH -----


(4) From the mailbag: Representative samples:


Here are some of the things people have sent in to the STOP CASSINI editor in the past 20 hours or so:

----- EXAMPLE: -----

"Hopefully we can do some work to prevent any more nuclear power in space."

----- EXAMPLE: -----

"Many thanks Russell,

Your news and information have been so helpful - thanks for making sure we are all kept informed.

Yours in peace
Rachel"

----- EXAMPLE: -----

"Not so fast, we don't know what "successful" means yet .... "

----- EXAMPLE: -----

Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 23:37:19 -0700
Subject: I know you're flooded with emails...
From: "Starr Russell-Harris" starrs@internetcds.com
To: "Russell D. Hoffman" ,
vice-president@whitehouse.gov

but let me be another person to thank you for your persistence, wit, intelligence and activism...it's been INSPIRING to everyone, and importantly to those who follow your footprints in this long struggle to preserve our planet...i feel like that sounds romanticized...and it is, but part of the struggle is to educate. YOUR writing style is lyrically captivating...i'm sure that many of the people you responded to (especially some of your worst critics) were affected positively by what you wrote to them--even if they are not "conscious" enough to acknowledge it...i know that many times i read your newsletters in simple awe because of your ability to make the truth viable..instead of giving in to spinning the useless version of the truth most people internalize--the local and national news!

anyway, thank you and your network of support for what you've accomplished. also, i'm wondering, how many people are on your list serve? how many people did you reach?

[[[ The above is uncut. The STOP CASSINI editor is very grateful for Starr Russell-Harris' kind words. There now about 300 subscribers to the newsletter at the first tier level, not including media and government distribution lists. However, repostings and remailings by others and downloading from the web site undoubtedly make the real total number of people who have been reached by this newsletter far higher. -- rdh ]]]

----- EXAMPLE: -----

SUBSCRIBE STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER
Hello,
Keep up the good work !!!
Rankhor

----- END OF EXAMPLES -----

Of note is that in the past 48 hours only two people have "unsubscribed", and more than twice that have joined on.


(5) From the mailbag: A suggestion dripping with irony (or something):


----- INCOMING EMAIL FROM TOM BERGERSON: -----

From: tom bergerson tom@smarty.com
To: "'rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com'" (rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com)
Subject: cassini
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 13:10:28 -0500

why don't you go pee your pants somewhere instead of crying about good science

----- END OF INCOMING EMAIL FROM TOM BERGERSON -----

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

Hi!

Thank you for your email (shown below) which I will probably publish in an upcoming newsletter in order to show the highly relevant answers the pro-Cassini supporters are capable of delivering.

It's really not such a bad suggestion, actually -- in fact, I've tried it, but it was years ago when I was a kid. It does relieve some of the pressure, there's no doubt about that. That's hydraulics and stuff -- did you know the heart is the most amazing pump in the universe? The bladder is a pretty awesome organ as well, don't you think? And when you gotta go, you gotta go!

Here's a Cassini quiz you can take to show you know "good science" from NASA hype. Please feel free to send me your answers so I'll know exactly how much to respect your creative suggestion that I return to the youthful solutions I attempted in my youth.

Sincerely,

Russell Hoffman
Founder and Editor
STOP CASSINI newsletter

P.S. I haven't looked at the picture you sent. What's it of?

FORTY-FOUR CASSINI QUESTIONS (originally written prior to the flyby):

[ See newsletter #156 for the 44-question Cassini quiz we sent him: http://www.animatedsoftware.com/cassini/nltrs/nltr0156.htm ]

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


(6) Official JPL report on the Earth flyby:


----- OFFICIAL JPL REPORT ON THE FLYBY -----

Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 22:02:18 -0700
To: "Cassini Spacecraft Updates" Cassini@jpl.nasa.gov
From: cassini@jpl.nasa.gov
Subject: Cassini Status Report - August 17, 1999
List-Unsubscribe: (mailto:leave-cassini-112992K@list.jpl.nasa.gov)
Reply-To: cassini@jpl.nasa.gov
Precedence: bulk
X-UIDL: 9bc306b7a5500c935a764b0f6780be58

MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov
Contact: Mary Beth Murrill (818) 354-6478

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 17, 1999

Earthlings bid farewell to the Cassini spacecraft tonight as the Saturn-bound mission successfully completed a highly accurate pass of Earth at 8:28 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (03:28 Universal Time August 18). The flyby gave Cassini a 5.5-kilometer-per-second (about 12,000-mile-per-hour) boost in speed, sending the spacecraft on toward the ringed planet more than 1 billion kilometers (almost one billion miles) away.

Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed that the spacecraft flew past Earth at an altitude of about 1,171 kilometers (727 miles), passing most closely above the eastern South Pacific at -23.5 degrees latitude and 231.5 degrees longitude. Cassini may have been visible from small islands in that area, such as Pitcairn Island or Easter Island.

The spacecraft remains in excellent health as it continues along its seven-year-long journey to Saturn. Having completed its cruise among the inner planets, Cassini's future now resides in the cold, dark realm of the outer planets. The spacecraft will pass by Jupiter on December 30, 2000; the giant planet's gravity will bend Cassini's flight path to put it on course for arrival into orbit around Saturn on July 1, 2004.

Cassini's mission is to study Saturn, its moons, elaborate rings, and its magnetic and radiation environment for four years. Cassini will also deliver the European Space Agency's Huygens probe to parachute to the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. Titan is of special interest partly because of its many Earthlike characteristics, including a mostly nitrogen atmosphere and the presence of organic molecules in the atmosphere and on its surface. Lakes or seas of ethane and methane may exist on its surface.

The Cassini/Huygens program is a joint endeavor of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Cassini orbiter, built by NASA, and the Huygens probe, provided by the European Space Agency (ESA), were mated together and launched as a single package from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on October 15, 1997. Cassini's dish-shaped high-gain antenna was provided for the mission by the Italian Space Agency. At Saturn, the Huygens probe will detach from Cassini to parachute to the surface of Titan on November 30, 2004.

Nine of Cassini's 12 science instruments were turned on to make observations of the Earth/Moon system. Scientific and engineering data from the Earth flyby will be transmitted by Cassini to receiving stations of NASA's Deep Space Network over coming days.

The mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology. More information about the Cassini mission is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/cassini .

---
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: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/cassini/

----- END OF OFFICIAL JPL REPORT ON THE FLYBY -----


(7) What you can do today to stop NASA's nuclear madness:


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: comments@www.hq.nasa.gov

Daniel Goldin is the head of NASA. Here's his email address:
daniel.goldin@hq.nasa.gov or
dgoldin@mail.hq.nasa.gov

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

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/facts/HTML/FS-002-HQ.html

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.

president@whitehouse.gov vice.president@whitehouse.gov

Always include your full name and postal address in all correspondence to any Government official of any country.


(8) Subscription information


Thanks for reading! Welcome new subscribers!

Home page of our STOP CASSINI movement:
http://www.animatedsoftware.com/cassini/cassini.htm

This newsletter is free and is not distributed for profit.
To subscribe, simply email the editor at
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Please include a personal message of any
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To unsubscribe email me and say
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Published by Russell D. Hoffman electronically.
Written in U.S.A.
Please distribute these newsletters EVERYWHERE!
What you do NEXT matters MOST OF ALL!


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Mail to: rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com
First placed online August 18th, 1999.
Last modified August 29th, 1999.
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman