STOP CASSINI Newsletter #19 -- June 27th, 1997

Copyright (c) 1997

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index


In this issue we present a leaflet suggestion from Germany, answer some email about the RTGs, and give you the URL of a really cool web site you can check out.

Sincerely, Russell D. Hoffman, Editor, STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER

**** STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER Volume #19 June 27th, 1997 ****
Today's subjects:

****** VOLUME #19 June 26th, 1997 ******

By Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman

A letter we received about the RTGs:

We receive a lot of email around here, and not all of it agrees with our position. Shown below in its entirety is one such letter:

An email to us reads:

We have already had two RTGs fall back to earth with no consequences.

Based on the actual events, your organization seems to be taking a political stance for the sake of hyping the situation.


end of email

First of all, as we've stated a number of times in the past, I don't think we are organized enough around here to call ourselves an organization. Just a dedicated bunch of individuals.

To answer the writer's RTG question, we must presume that one of the two reentries the author is referring to is Apollo 13's SNAP-27 which had 44,500 Curies of radioactive material onboard when it was launched on April 11th, 1970. The plutonium power source, which was to have been left on the moon, was not even mentioned in the APOLLO 13 movie. It was, however, in the book the movie was based on and in real life it was a matter of great concern to many people during the actual event.

For a complete rundown on that fiasco, here is an article called APOLLO OUTTAKES by Karl Grossman:

From Grossman's article:
According to NASA documents, the plutonium container survived reentry and was "successfully targeted to deposit intact in the Tonga Trench in the South Pacific where it is effectively isolated from man's environment." It remains there to this day. end of clip

The truth is worse, however, because it is actually both unknown and unknowable. If the RTG technology was as good as the newest models now available for CASSINI, we can expect that perhaps a third of the nuclear fuel was released AT HIGH ALTITUDE. That's how much CASSINI is EXPECTED to release, according to NASA's own documents. Here's the URL of a our latest discussion about CASSINI's RTGs:

However, the technology probably wasn't as good!

We presume the other RTG reentry which the author is referring to is the SNAP-9A which was launched on April 21st, 1964 and after a mission abort, the RTG was presumed to have incinerated in the reentry, as they were designed to do back then.

It is quite erroneous to say that the 17,000 Curies of aboard that mission (Transit 5BN-3) fell "back to Earth with no consequences"! On the contrary, we now have much better scientific reasons to think there were SIGNIFICANT consequences from that accident! However, we still don't have the tools to prove it -- and isn't NASA lucky we don't! For a complete discussion of how low level radiation can harm lifeforms, including and perhaps especially humans, please see our I.Q. Test for Space Cadets article:

It is important to note that there are TWO MORE SNAP-9A's currently in orbit about the Earth, thier missions having been completed. As we mentioned, the SNAP-9A's are DESIGNED TO INCINERATE which means NASA should go up and GET these two poisoned pills they left in orbit NOW, before they are hit by space debris and scattered to return to Earth in random chunks. I challenge NASA to present an Environmental Impact Statement on these two spacecraft designated TRANSIT 5BN-1 and TRANSIT 5BN-2. Since they were launched over 30 years ago (each with 17,000 Curies of radioactive material on them) it is doubtful an EIS was produced for them at the time. Therefore, I challenge NASA to produce one now, and I challenge them to make it their job to retrieve these spacecraft from orbit as quickly as possible and return them safely to Earth.

And finally: The author might also be referring to the launch explosion a few years ago where the plutonium RTGs were later picked up off the floor of the Pacific Ocean after the accident, but since that one didn't get out of Earth's atmosphere, I think that that is why the author refers to "two" -- and not three -- RTG accidents.

As to our "organization" (ha!) "taking a political stance for the sake of hyping the situation" I think perhaps the author means we are hyping a situation in order to express a political stance and if so, the author is probably at least partially correct. We call it as we see it. But we would never take a political stance in order to hype a situation. We also would never take a political situation in order to hype a stance. Nor would we hype a political stanch, in any situation.


LOVEARTH is an organization which opposes Cassini. It is run under the auspices of Mark Elsis, who also has written a number of good articles against Cassini. LOVEARTH is organizing several upcoming rallies, (mostly in September, in New York and Washington D.C.) which the Editor of this newsletter is pleased to say he has been invited to speak at and he will endeavor to do so.

LOVEARTH has also created a special 888 number you can use to send THREE telegrams, one each to President and Mrs. Clinton, and Vice President Al Gore. The cost is just $9.95 and any profits (there is a very small excess from each order) will be fed back into the organization, according to Mark. I recommend you do this. It's not much money and the effect of telegrams traditionally has been quite high, especially where time is of the essence as it is becoming with Cassini.

The number is easy to remember too: 1-888-NO-CASSINI. Mark has worked hard (and spent a lot of money, I'm sure) to provide simple and effective ways to protest. It's time to make hay from the seeds he has planted! Note that this STOP CASSINI newsletter, and our own STOP CASSINI web site, are not affiliated with LOVEARTH, but we are happy to take the political stance of hyping their efforts!

To find out more about LOVEARTH's efforts, visit their incredibly well-built web site at:

You might want to start with Mark's GAMBLING WITH THE DEVIL article, where he has great fun with NASA's notorious numbers (at NASA's expense, of course!).

We applaud and support LOVEARTH.ORG's efforts to Stop Cassini!

The Non-Violent Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Leaflet

In newsletter #16 we introduced the NCANW to our readers. They have produced an excellent leaflet they wish to distribute worldwide. We were offered the chance to help them edit it prior to publication, but we are happy to say we did not see many changes worth even mentioning to them! We think it's a great letter. Here it the final version:



Nuclear Weapons are Illegal



This is an electronic leaflet by the Non-violent Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (NCANW).

On July 8, 1996, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague -- the highest court in the world -- ruled that nuclear weapons are illegal on principle. (Read the original text of the decision at The decision says that not only the use of nuclear weapons, but even the threat therewith is generally contrary to international law. All member states of the United Nations are obliged to respect this decision and put it into action. But nothing has happened. NATO continues its defense strategy of threatening not only with the use, but even with the first use of atomic weapons. That means that NATO violates international law, and so do the other nuclear states such as the USA, Russia, Great Britain, France, China, India, and the unofficial atomic powers. THIS IS CLEARLY ILLEGAL !

Yet even today, more than 50 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, most people are still not aware of the fact that nuclear weapons are a deadly menace to the whole human race. Beside the destructive effect of the explosion itself, huge quantities of radioactive substances, including plutonium, are spread. Not to mention the radioactive byproducts created during the production and storage of atomic bombs.

Even a vanishingly small amount of plutonium can damage our genetic code, the DNA, if it gets into our body -- by inhaling radioactive air, by eating radioactive food, etc. The consequences can be fatal: cancer, mutations, deformed babies -- remember the pictures from Chernobyl, for example. Do you really want to end up like that?

The political sense of atomic weapons is very, very doubtful, especially after the end of the Cold War. Who is the enemy that has to be deterred? Who has the right to threaten with the mass destruction of whole populations?

Nuclear weapons are illegal. Nuclear weapons are a menace to this generation and to all the following generations. Nuclear weapons are a threat to YOU! It's time to get wise. Please visit the Non-violent Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (NCANW) at:

(Our web site is available in both English and German.)

Don't forget to forward this leaflet to all your friends! Thank you. Have a nice day!

(end of leaflet)


It has come to our attention that some people, especially in countries other than the U.S. (and AOL users) have not received every issue of this newsletter since they subscribed. If you find that you have missed issues, you can go read them at our STOP CASSINI web site, where they are posted within a few days of publication. However, please let us know if this happens, since we would like to know the reliability of our email news delivery system. THANKS.


Please feel free to post these newsletters anywhere you feel it's appropriate! THANKS!!!

Welcome new subscribers!

Thanks for reading,
Russell D. Hoffman
STOP CASSINI webmaster.


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First placed online June 30th, 1997.
Last modified August 17th, 1997.
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman