STOP CASSINI Newsletter #48 -- September 26th, 1997

Copyright (c) 1997

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

Subject: STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER #48 - September 26th, 1997


This issue contains anti Cassini protest notes, and a list of some of the questions still left unanswered by the pro-nuclear Cassini side.

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

***** STOP CASSINI NEWSLETTER Volume #48, September 26th, 1997 *****
Today's subjects:

****** VOLUME #48 September 26th, 1997 ******

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

*** The White House Rally To Stop Cassini THIS SUNDAY -- 9/28/97

This email arrived here yesterday:


At Lafayette Park -- Sunday, September 28, 1997
From 2 Till 6:30 PM, Followed By Candlelight Vigil


Dr Daniel Ellsberg
Manhattan Project II to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Rev Richard McSorley S.J.
Professor Of Comparative Religion, Georgetown University

Dr Rashmi Mayur
Director International Institute For Sustainable Future In Bombay India

Selma Brackman
War and Peace Foundation

Beth Trigg
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

Ellen Thomas
Proposition One Committee

Charles Swiden and Linda Safley
Environmental Crises Center, Baltimore MD (They are sponsoring Harold Courtright, on his 1000 mile walk to KSC. He is now in Southern Georgia.)

Dennis and Denise Nelson
"Downwinders" from Utah. Will speak on why health data radiation should not be classified.

At 4:45 AM EDT on Monday, October 13, 1997, from launch complex # 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Station, a spacecraft called Cassini is scheduled to lift off. On board Cassini will be 72.3 pounds of the deadliest substance known, Plutonium (Pu)-238. This is by far the most Pu ever attempted to be launched in a space mission. Inhaling less than 27 millionths of a gram of Pu will give you lung cancer and causes long term genetic damage.

NASA's own odds now state there is a 1 in 345 probability for a release of Pu on this mission. NASA's original estimate for a Pu release were 1 in 1500, then it was 1 in 900, then 1 in 500, now it is 1 in 345. NASA now has 9 more nuclear launches scheduled over the next 6 years. This equals at least a 1 in 34.5 gamble for a Plutonium release. There have been 67 nuclear launches to date, 9 have failed, most of them have ended in different degrees of catastrophic radiation fallout. That is a failure rate of 1 in 7.44 or 13.44%.

Remember what the late Nobel prize-winning physicist Dr. Richard P. Feynman, a member of the Presidential Commission that investigated the 1/28/86 Challenger disaster, said: "the NASA managers exaggerated the reliability of the shuttle to the point of fantasy. I saw considerable flaws in their logic. I found that they were making up numbers not based on experience. NASA's engineering judgment was not the judgment of its engineers."

A Coalition Of Speakers, Musicians, Spiritual & Community Leaders Will Be Taking Part In This Action.

Organizer: MARK ELSIS, LOVEARTH, 84-10 53rd Avenue Elmhurst, NY 11373,

718 426-5361 - Fax 426-5302 - - email


Sent in solidarity by:


Ben and Jerry's donated 500 "PEACE POPS" for the upcoming September 28th Washington D.C. event, but the Washington D.C. Capitol Police, after initially saying it would be okay, later recanted, and at last report, Ben and Jerry's Peace Pops will NOT BE ALLOWED TO BE HANDED OUT!!! It was reported that they have gone to one of their Vermont Senators (Leahy) and are trying to resolve the issue. They handed out Peace Pops before without a hassle (Easter Egg Roll, April, 1993).

This is America? You can't give out free ice cream in a park?

*** Northern CA Cassini Protest 10/1/97 -- Noon -- Humbolt State Univ. Quad

To: "Russell D. Hoffman"
From: [SB]
Subject: Re: Northern CA Cassini Protest


DATE: October 1
TIME: Noon
Place: Humboldt State University Quad

All that info is firm. We're going to have a couple of professors speak, play some music, give some speeches, letter writing and petitions and then end with a showing of support by gathering in some sort of circle and doing something inspirational. Behind the speakers will be large signs saying what Cassini is, what the risks are, NASA's lying record, the Titan IV record, and some statistics.

I'm sure the press will cover it, since the news is generally so dead up here.

[SB] ...



Student Environmental Action Coalition


To: S
Subject: Re: cassini newsletters still online

August 1st, 2006

Hi S,

I've thought about taking them ALL down because of various mistakes that have bothered me -- the people I thought were infiltrating the movement probably weren't the ones doing it, for instance (someone was, though, and you might want to see an article about something like that, that happened up in Oakland a couple of years ago (it also happened in Fresno, before that)). And some people I thought were really good activists turned out, for instance, to be really "good" Holocaust deniers, too. I guess nobody's perfect, though, and that's what happens when you try to publish the thoughts and feelings of a movement on a nearly daily basis.

In any event, I've changed your name in that newsletter to "[SB]" so I'm sure the search engines will stop the behavior you don't like fairly soon.

I hope you were not one of those spies!


Russell "Ace" Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

At 11:34 PM 7/31/2006 -0700, SB wrote:

Hi Russell,

I was wondering if you could perhaps delete the webpage that is at It contains newsletters from 1997 associated with Cassini rocket launch protests, and it is the first site that comes up when one google searches my name. I'd rather that weren't the case and the content isn't really applicable anymore.

Thanks for your consideration!


*** Answers to Jeff Cuzzi's pro-nuclear Cassini essay available online

Jeff Cuzzi, a NASA employee, has written a widely distributed essay about the safety Cassini's plutonium. Jane Prettyman and Russell Hoffman have each answered his essay and the answers are posted along with a complete copy of Cuzzi's original document at this URL:

*** Some questions still left unanswered by the pro-nuclear Cassini side:

Why did the EXPECTED PLUTONIUM RELEASE AMOUNT change from 33% to about 3% from June 1995 to June 1997 for an inadvertent flyby reentry, while at the same time NASA claims the RTGs are an incredibly reliable and stable and well researched technology and that RTGs have 12, 25, and 37 years of technological experience put into them? (the numbers are different depending on which page of NASA reports, or which spokesperson you get the number from.)

Why does NASA say that the RTG's are built like a bank vault when the actual data (see #1, above) is quite different? Why won't NASA spokespeople simply quote NASA's own documentation rather than oversimplify to the point of absurdity?

Did NASA use the 1989 figures for space debris populations in Near Earth Orbit for the Environmental Impact Statements, which were based largely on mathematical modeling techniques, or did they switch to the far worse 1995 figures which were based on empirical evidence? If they switched, why did they quote the 1989 figure of 7000 tracked objects in their June 1997 SEIS?

Even though EPA specifically noted that NASA miscalculates the "worst case" scenario by averaging many accident scenarios together (June 1997 SEIS, page e-14), why does NASA still continue to refuse to publish the true potential effects of a worst case scenario? What's the problem with honestly saying what they are dealing with?

Why does NASA insist that they can achieve a humanly impossible level of safety when previous NASA accident rates prove unequivocally that such rates are impossible? Specifically, why does NASA dishonor the many good NASA scientists of the past who, somewhere and somehow, made mistakes (which is a human thing to do and no big deal)? In other words, if NASA is now capable of achieving an unprecedented level of safety, then obviously the current NASA scientists are better than the previous ones, because the previous ones were NOT able to achieve the near-perfect levels of safety NASA now claims they can achieve. In what way (genetic engineering perhaps?) are current NASA scientists better than those that came before?

If NASA is so sure that they know what is good for the worldwide population of humans, and that 72+ pounds of vaporized plutonium won't hurt us, how come neither NASA nor anyone else has been able to build a sustainable closed human environment on Earth (Biosphere), on the Moon, or in orbit somewhere? What is the proof that NASA understands environmental hazards?

Dr. Otto Raabe, President of the Health Physics Society, who has admitted that vaporized plutonium is its most dangerous form, consistently fails to discuss what the effects of 72+ pounds of plutonium 238 vaporized above a major population center would be. Instead he turns to NASA assurances that the plutonium will NOT be released, or that it will be released so high [up in] the atmosphere that in his opinion no one will get a significant dose. But he will not discuss what a significant dose might be, for those of us who question NASA's assurances about how much will be released. Why not?

It is clear that Dr. Raabe is not an expert in RTG plutonium containment systems; he is an accredited expert on plutonium dangers. Why won't he simply tell us what he thinks the effects of plutonium dispersal could be? He need not fall back on ANY NASA STATEMENT to offer a professional opinion about the hazards of plutonium. How big a dose of plutonium 238 would Dr. Raabe be willing to give everyone on the planet and still believe in his heart that no one will be harmed? How big a dose does he think it would take, of vaporized plutonium, to cause cancer in 50% of the people who inhale that dose? Dr. Raabe should let the opposition argue whether NASA can contain the plutonium, and should offer a professional opinion on what the effects of a release might be, not whether or not there will be a release.

According to NASA how much of the mission would actually have to be left behind if the mission had been designed from the start as a solar/fuel cell mission instead of an RTG mission?

Historically, how much money has NASA/DoE/DoD invested in solar deep space mission research versus the ENTIRE cost of the nuclear 'solution', including all phases of the nuclear fuel cycle?

How many Lewis-type Earth environmental research satellites could NASA have flown for ONE Cassini-type mission?

Since it appears unequivocal at this point that a Jupiter mission, if initiated today, could be done with a solar alternative to the RTG solution that was actually used, what's the rush? In 10 years surely a solar solution would also be available for missions as far as Saturn.

Why was the Rockey et al JPL 1981 Concentrated Solar Array report misused in the June 1995 EIS for the Cassini mission?

*** A letter from Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey to Rob Cherwink

Hi! I recently received a letter from Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey which stated:

"Finally, you may be interested to know that the Cassini mission had been terminated in the 103rd Congress. However, it was restored by the Republican leadership in Congress. Like you, I am frustrated that they failed to consider the potential ramifications this project may have on environmental and public health."

Peace! Rob, Sector Air Raid Warden at
Rob's Place

*** Santa Cruz, California City Council votes UNANIMOUSLY to oppose Cassini

Santa Cruz, California, City Council voted unanimously to oppose the Cassini launch at their September 10th meeting. The issue was brought to the Council by the local branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the local Environmental Council.


515 Broadway
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

tel/ 408-423-1626
fax/ 408-423-8716


*** President Clinton needs to hear from EVERYONE!

President Clinton's phone number:

(202) 456-1414

President Clinton's fax number:

(202) 456-2461

President Clinton's e-mail address:

President Clinton's snail address:

1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Wash. DC 20500

*** A letter to Glennda Chui, Mercury News Staff Writer

To: GLENNDA CHUI Mercury News Staff Writer
From: Russell D. Hoffman
Date: 9/24/97


First, I wish to thank you for the links from your San Jose Mercury News article about Cassini to my STOP CASSINI web site as a voice of the opposition. I believe such links provide the opportunity for balance.

But upon reading your article, I am hurt and confused by this statement:

"This is not a fight about science. It's about politics. And so far, the protesters seem to be setting the ground rules."

I could not disagree more strongly. Perhaps there is an element of a political fight to inform THE PUBLIC about what NASA is doing -- after all, just a few weeks ago EVERYONE was still saying "What's a Cassini".

But the 700 page printout of my STOP CASSINI web site which I sent to President Clinton's Science Advisor John Gibbons today was NOT a political move! It was a record of the history of what I have learned in my nearly year-long investigation of what is going on.

I have heard from many, many pro-nuclear Cassini people as Editor of a STOP CASSINI newsletter (now in it's 48th issue) and as webmaster of the STOP CASSINI web site. I have also heard from the opposition. I can tell you that the most shocking thing about Cassini, after the cavalier attitude NASA has towards 72+ pounds of Plutonium 238 Dioxide, is how confused most people ON BOTH SIDES are about the facts and about NASA's many conflicting statements.

I believe that my own fight is to educate the public. If the public understands what NASA has risked, and for what gain and against what alternatives, I do not believe the public would buy into this folly.

Perhaps you are right, that it is a battle of science against politics. In that case, it is the anti-nuclear Cassini side which represents a scientific approach, and the pro-nuclear Cassini side which represents political maneuvering and bad science.

May I suggest, for example, that you check out Newsletters #24 and #25 for a biography of Dr. John Gofman, #29 for bios on Dr. Michio Kaku and Dr. Ross McCluney, and #30 for info on Dr. Horst Poehler. Other doctors and scientists have joined the fight all around the world. If it has become a political battle, nevertheless the "real players" have still not swayed from looking at the science and condemning Cassini on scientific principal.

Here is the index page for the STOP CASSINI Newsletters:

I would also like to comment on the quote from Steven Aftergood, senior research analyst with the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, D.C. His statement in your article, "In that sense, the opponents have won a quiet victory already'' (because we have made NASA think twice about using Plutonium) is absurd. Compromising at a time when compromise is potentially tantamount to permitting genocide is wrong. If we lose the Cassini battle, but there is some perceived political gain in slowing NASA down, we will have gained, in reality, nothing. Sooner or later, if plutonium 238 launches continue, there will be a disaster and compromising for this one, and the next one, and the next one, will have led inevitably to that fate.

I do not subscribe to Aftergood's theory that any victory is sweet. What we have won so far will not save one life nor stop even one plutonium launch. NASA already claims they only use Plutonium when all other possibilities have failed them (but it is not true). What does Aftergood offer as proof of his theory that we have achieved something?

The Cassini launch is not the time for good science to compromise with the power elite (DoE, DoD, NASA/JPL) who are imposing this unsafe and unscientific nuclear risk upon the world.

Russell D. Hoffman
STOP CASSINI newsletter

*** Online Cassini voting booth -- GO VOTE!

You can find an online voting booth for and against Cassini at this URL:


When I checked this site on 9/26/97 at 4:30 pm PST, it showed 197 voted YES and 72 voted NO. Go vote!! I wonder if most of my readers are against Cassini or are spies for the other side? Whatever, I hope all of them will GO VOTE! And don't vote twice. (Big Brother may be watching!)

*** More from our ever-exciting mailbag

At 12:17 PM 9/23/97 "B" wrote:

Hoffman, you are an idiot. It is people like you who opposed Columbus, insisting the world was flat. You have no concern for anyone or anything other than your own ego. Exploration, by definition involves risk, but your objections are uninformed, unintelligent, ludicrous, and in fact, dangerous. These are my personal opinions and in no way do I represent NASA, who I hope will continue to ignore flatworld nay sayers like you.


NASA Ames Research Center

I responded thusly:
Thank you for you shortsighted and unfounded misrepresentations of my positions.

Russell Hoffman

Remember, he in no way represents NASA. Thank goodness!

I also asked for his permission to use his name, which he gave along with some additional statements similar to those shown above. But I am refraining from printing his name for several reasons, including because I don't wish to have anyone respond on my behalf. After all, we all have better things to do...

*** We have an unconfirmed report that a correction is in order:

We have it on good authority that there were in fact about a dozen pro-nuclear Cassini protestors at the New York Rally Against Cassini last Saturday (9/20/97). We had reported half a dozen. This changes everything, of course. There is also a discrepancy as to whether they "heckled" the attendees of the anti-nuclear Cassini rally or only carried pro-nuclear Cassini signs in silent protest until police dispersed them for protesting without a permit.

There is no doubt that rally organizers offered the pro-nuclear Cassini protestors a chance to speak, which was certainly a commendable move (Hint: NASA should link to the opposition). There is also no doubt that the pro-nuclear Cassini protestor who did come forward to speak should also be commended for his willingness to engage in pubic dialog.

The STOP CASSINI Newsletter welcomes information from all sides and tries to print news from sources it considers reliable.


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 September 26th, 1997.
Last modified September 30th, 1997.
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman