STOP CASSINI Newsletter #97 -- February 18th, 1999

Copyright (c) 1999

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

To: Subscribers, Press, Government Officials

Subject: Dr. Henry Kendall Tribute -- STOP CASSINI #97

Date: February 18th, 1999

Time Frame: There are 126 days left until the appropriate moment of redirection of the Cassini probe - the flyby of Venus, 7 weeks before the flyby of Earth.


The attached clip regarding the death of Dr. Henry Kendall was sent to us this morning. We are deeply saddened by the loss. It is a shame that Dr. Kendall could not have seen more progress in his time and from his efforts to educate the world about the dangers from nuclear weapons proliferation. What he did was awesome, but we each must do more. It is plain to see, if we look around us (or up in the sky), that it wasn't enough.

Russell D. Hoffman, Founder, Editor and U. S. Citizen

Today's Subjects:

Tribute to Dr. Henry Kendall

FYI from the Union of Concerned Scientists. It wasn't offshore, but in Wakula Springs where he was participating in a National Geographic mapping project, according to local news media.


[...clip (most headers)...]

Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 10:32:04 -0500
Subject: SSI Special Notice: Henry Kendall

We are deeply saddened to inform you that Henry Kendall, the Union of Concerned Scientists co-founder and chairman, died in a diving accident off the coast of Florida on Monday, February 15, 1999. UCS Executive Director Howard Ris had the following words of appreciation for Dr. Kendall's leadership and dedication to the UCS mission:

"Henry Kendall led UCS as chairman for 25 of the organization's 30 year history. A particle physicist, he devoted nearly every minute outside of his laboratory to various UCS campaigns to curb the nuclear arms race and alert the public to the most pressing environmental threats of our time.

"Dr. Kendall firmly believed that scientists could -- and should -- play an important role in public policy debates. His leadership of UCS was deeply rooted in the belief that, given accurate and credible information, the public and policymakers would, ultimately, make the right choices about the future. He had a rare gift for taking the 'long view' and understanding how human activities and natural systems are intricately intertwined. He always encouraged the board and staff never to shy away from the 'big problems' facing the future of humanity and the natural world. His legacy will live on with the Union of Concerned Scientists."

Dr. Kendall shared the 1990 Nobel prize in physics with two colleagues, Dr. Richard Taylor and Dr. Jerome Friedman, for experiments that confirmed the existence of quarks. He was Stratton Professor of Physics at MIT, where he was on the faculty since 1961. His research on quarks was conducted at the Stanford Linear Accelerator. He was a graduate of Amherst College and received his PhD in nuclear engineering from MIT. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Is it genocide, murder one or just manslaughter?

These are clips from outgoing emails from the past few days. There is a significant petition in the works against the Cassini flyby which will be presented here and elsewhere shortly, and these emails were created in regards to that petition (and perhaps others).

At 02:52 PM 2/17/99, one participant wrote:


If I could suggest a summary of where we are: The argument presented by Russell regarding the reasonableness of a "prevention of genocide" claim is indeed reasonable.



Thanks! I think I could hammer much harder on that point. For example, NASA specifically claims to set the flyby height such that it (the height specifically, is what "it" is here) brings the overall level of estimated risk of a reentry accident to under one in one million. In other words, that height is the final step in the calculation to keep their calculated risk within the limits they have decided to set.

What happens is, they actually raise the flyby height to appear to appease the activists (which is why I argued so hard against even putting it in the document) but they state in their documentation that the flyby height is what sets the risk level!

So each time they raise it, one must assume (and it is even documented) that they officially did it to bring the overall risk level back to what they believe to be "one in one million" which is, in the end, just a politics-driven choice and they know it. (Karl Grossman actually heard them state it explicitly one time!).

So clearly, this is NOT SCIENCE!! It's statistics, which is a mathematical study, but not really science. Statistics, after all, can be applied to a very careful study of how to win at roulette. (Including Russian roulette.) Science is what builds the probe, the RTGs's flimsy containment system, etc.. But statistics alone governs the likelihood of catastrophe. Pure chance.

Now what this means, is that it is very much like a lottery. NASA cannot be sure what impediments to success of the mission there will be -- space debris, programming errors, faulty circuit boards, etc.. A failure at ANY point in the mission may cripple the craft, and cause a reentry perhaps years later, and we will not see it coming OR PERHAPS NOT EVEN REALIZE IT HAS ARRIVED!

10 years from now, for example, someone reports a fireball in the sky -- it was Cassini. It will NOT be easy to find a slight global increase in Pu levels if the containment systems works except for the 3% NASA now claims, or even the 33% they used to claim, or perhaps even if it fails 100%. You know, it will disperse way up there, 20, 30 miles up. There are often hundred-mile-an-hour winds between there and the surface, and at least sustained 50 to 80 mile-an-hour winds. It could spread quite well and if it lands over the ocean and dumps the heavy stuff unnoticed into the ocean (for whales, dolphins, and so on, and fish which some of us eat), over time perhaps millions can die but it won't even be noticeable, except by a careful study of death statistics, which is specifically and deliberately not being done in America or anywhere, and even then it may be statistically impossible to prove even one death! Sometimes I think that is the scariest part.

They don't like us to know how we die. (But that's another activist project for me!)

Looking at NASA's reports we see that they say that control failures prior to the Earth flyby -- including before and after the upcoming Venus flyby -- "tend" (NASA's word) to leave the probe in an orbit about the Sun that is in the same vicinity as our own planet's orbit! After the Earth flyby, the tendency to perhaps cross our path is reduced and near the end, NASA claims the probe would be flung out by Saturn to beyond the solar system if they loose directional control. But that's bogus. You can't tell where a little probe will go, it flits around for all sorts of reasons, and it's trajectory becomes quickly unpredictable.

Right now, NASA is risking catastrophe -- genocide -- for no good reason. There were solar alternatives, perhaps at worst, two smaller missions would have worked to get the exact same science return. So the risk, whether they have got it down to one in one million as they think they have or perhaps only 1 in 10,000 or whatever -- is utterly unnecessary.

That's where the science ends and the military connection begins -- NASA could have used something else, and that would have made the scientists whose projects are actually ON Cassini HAPPY -- because then, their fun would not be at risk now by us activists! But because the military needed the RTGs too for their spysats, they had to have a civilian need for the things.

I'd like that point to be crystal clear in the petition too, by the way!

Russell Hoffman


This next clip is in regards to the target treaties the petition is being designed to address: Genocide, or the OST?



To me there is a clear violation of the outer space treaty as well as a risk of committing genocide with nothing but random chance to stop it from happening. From a nuclear perspective, the genocide treaty may be more effective. From a space nuclear or space perspective, the Outer Space Treaty is clearly the one to go for, I think. Since Cassini is a "space" topic, it might be a chance to exercise THAT treaty which so many nations have signed. Further, the world really needs a stronger application of the principals described in that treaty, and it would be nice to see something happen that will help bring that about.

And no, the UN doesn't like to "bite the hand that [owes it 3 billion dollars]" but I think if this petition is to succeed, that happens badly, either way! Weapons of mass destruction are weapons of mass destruction, even if the victims are randomly chosen throughout the world. What we are charging NASA with is pretty bad under any convention.

Hitler's minions would randomly select tatoo numbers for the crematorium when the camps were full. Caesar would "decimate" his troops when they were bad, meaning, every tenth man was selected, and the other 9 killed him. Cassini kills in a far more insidious way, stabbing everyone not even behind their back, but from within, hidden, out of view. One day you are coughing, and it gets worse, maybe some blood, and it won't stop, and you go to the Doctor -- lung cancer. You don't find a plutonium particle in the midst of it, and then be able to say "AHA!! NASA HATH KILLED ME!"

Not at all! You just sicken and die. Leukemia: Same thing. Birth defects: Same thing. No calling card. What a brutal genocide it is!

In murder you attack a particular person. In war you attack the enemy directly. In genocide, you attack someone just for being who they are or what they are or where they are, but with no regard to them as a person whatsoever. So it is with Cassini. No regard for the victim whatsoever. Even the tests they used are probably just the old ones done on healthy soldiers, not AIDs patients, chemo patients, old people, infants -- all these are far more susceptible to dying from something like lung cancer, which kills 50% of its victims in a "civilized" country!

It's genocide, alright. The only question is, what else is it? I think it is also a violation of the Outer Space Treaty.


Why the Venus Flyby is the "moment of truth" for Earthlings

There is control after Venus, but where they enter the gravitational field of Venus and how close they get to Venus' surface, etc. is what will really determine Cassini's trajectory as it hurtles along the next leg of the journey. That is the BEST moment of redirection because that is when, according to Dr. Michio Kaku, it can be redirected to actually do something useful. I feel it should study something closer to the sun rather than further away (compared to our own orbit) because if it's further out, it can fall back through our own orbital plane or simply cross our path repeatedly on an elliptical orbit of some sort. (The planets all have nearly circular orbits.)

In the solar system, everything falls towards the sun, but small objects' trajectories cannot be accurately predicted.

Regarding plutonium uptake in the body:

The main uptake would be from the aerosol. Particulate ingestion into the alimentary canal I believe is about 1/100th to 1/1000th as likely to be absorbed into the body (usually via the bloodstream) as inhaled particles are. Probably closer to th the 1/100th number, I think, from all I've read.

Hot showers, spas and jacuzzis all complicate the equation as they release steam which may hold plutonium particles in the air for subsequent breathing by humans (and other living things).

Also, natural evaporation may cause some plutonium to be resuspended into the atmosphere! NASA would have you believe this is a trivial amount, but that is simply not so, not with trillions of billions of potential-plutonium-puke-particles. Especially considering also, I read somewhere that Pu actually settles rather slowly in water. It can take months or even years for the smaller vaporized aerosol particles to descend to Earth the first time through AIR so imagine how long they will remain near the surface of WATER, which is much denser than air (though still, admittedly, nowhere near as dense as plutonium! (or NASA scientists)) where they can be resuspended most easily. Resuspension is a very significant hazard!

About bioaccumulation, here is a statement from an NRC document:


The most common form of plutonium is plutonium oxide which is virtually insoluble. The behavior of plutonium oxide in the body varies with the way in which it is taken. If one drinks or eats it, a very large percentage of it will be eliminated from the body quite rapidly in body wastes. If plutonium oxide is inhaled, part of it, usually between 20 and 60 percent depending upon such things as the size of the particles, is retained in the lung. The rest is eliminated from the body within several days. Of that which remains in the lungs, about half will be removed each year, some to be excreted, some to lodge in the lymph nodes, and a very small amount will cross the gut wall and be deposited in other organs, mainly bone. Plutonium also might enter the body through an open wound, in which case, depending on its form, it may move directly into body organs, mainly bone and liver.


The document concludes with some true blue nuclear malarkey: "The effects of small quantity, or low-level exposures to plutonium as well as other radioactive material may not be seen for many years, if at all."

Anyone comforted by the fact that not everyone gets cancer, leukemia, or gives birth to a malformed child, may also be comforted to know that not everyone dies in car accidents, or from smoking or high cholesterol.

Those of us with some grasp of reality, will recognize that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is dishonest and misrepresents the facts. Nowhere in their document is any attempt made to put actual numbers on the hazards. No statistical graphs. Instead just vague and somehow (clinical tests with real citizens have undoubtedly shown!) comforting statements like the above pepper their web site like so many fuel fleas.

Wake up America! The mothership is killing you.

From the mailbag: Just 400 different letters will do the trick


Dear rhoffman,

I had a chat recently with an aide to a local Representative here in Ohio. I said why doesn't this guy have e-mail. His response was "face-it, nobody reads the stuff." I said why not - "because there are too many crazies out there." This is from Representative Dennis Kucinich's aide. Dennis is one of 10 in the House who know anything about nuclear issues, according to him. And of those 10, 5 are pro-nuclear. In my opinion, if the 200 could pick up the phone and make an acquaintance with their Representative's aide maybe the anger and anxiety on this issue could be personally transmitted.

You need more than 400 responses to any issue to make a dent. That's the number that is used with DOE. If they get 400 or more unidentical letters that all say the same thing it makes them put the issue on the list. Not that the issue will be resolved, just that it goes on their list.

best regards,



We have around 200 subscribers, so clearly we can't do it alone even if every one of them sent a letter out or made a phone call TODAY! (As if it would be the first time, for most of them!) That is why we each must keep trying to tell others to tell others.

JPL's "Stella" report now online at our web site

The editor regrets and apologizes for not posting this important report sooner. It is available in PDF format (Adobe Acrobat reader needed to view after downloading)

The URL of the file is:



N86 - 17861
Paul M. Stella
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California

Future U.S. interplanetary missions will be less complex and costly than past missions such as Voyager and the soon the be launched, Galileo. This will be required in order to achieve a balanced exploration program that can be sustained within the context of a limited budget.

Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) have served as the power source for missions beyond the orbit of Mars. Recent government costing practices have indicated that the cost to the user of these power sources will significantly increase. Solar arrays can provide a low cost alternative for a number of missions. Potential missions are identified along with concerns for implementation, and some array configurations under present investigation are reviewed.


Where to go for more information NASA won't tell you:

Here is the web site to start a Freedom-of-Information request regarding anything you think NASA has lied to you about or hidden the truth about.

From the Mailbag: Followup on KCBX's unsubscribing:


Thank you for unsubscribing KCBX. It is not a matter of not caring. We don't have a news department. I've done interviews on the Cassini, and will continue to do so, but I can put together information as needed rather than rely on a continuous flow.

Thank you for understanding.



Quote of the day:

"Online communication has become a tool to bring government and the people closer together."

--email from President Clinton's office.

They also remark that they have received 2.8 million emails since 1993. (Of those, about 100 are mine. Somebody's not doing their part!) Anyway, they imply that they don't really read them carefully or even at all; they just kind of aggregate the opinions into categories (automatically, I guess) and statistically derive the public drift from that summary.

It's the law: No one of us can have much influence on our elected politicians. It would be immoral were it any other way, but it explains my persistent pleas for assistance from my readers!


CANCEL CASSINI by JUNE 24th, 1999!!!!

To Cancel Cassini start by asking NASA for the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement for the Cassini Mission and all subsequent related documents (on paper, please!). Tell them you need it IMMEDIATELY (members of the world press should do this too). All citizens of the world are ENTITLED to these documents because of the global threat Cassini poses. Here's where to get information:

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

Tell them Russell Hoffman, founder and editor of the STOP CASSINI newsletter, sent you. I bet they love to hear that!

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. At least, ask them one specific question: How many letters did they get opposing Cassini today? (And tell them you oppose it too!) If each reader asks them that...

Here's NASA's email address:

Daniel Goldin is the head of NASA. Here's his email address:

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

(Note that it looks like possibly a temporary URL assignment, but you can always start at

They imply at the web site that written comments are more likely to get answered -- quicker than emailed comments! Someone should welcome them to the 1990's before it's too late.

Long-time readers know lots of questions to ask them; BE SPECIFIC! Ask why they misused the D. E. Rockey report in the 1995 EIS. Ask them why they reduced the EXPECTED plutonium release percentage from 33% or more to just 3% with no change in technology from the 1995 EIS to the 1997 Supplemental EIS, while claiming they have 25+ years's experience with these things! Ask them why they thought there was a Nostradamus connection among the anti-Cassini crowd, which is actually almost entirely scientists, and their supporters like myself. (See newsletters #92 and #93). Ask them when they last launched plutonium from the Cape -- attempted or completed, civilian or military. Ask them how they know Cassini's software is Y2K compliant. And when the next plutonium launch will be. Ask them everything; you have a right to know. Ask them why they won't spend enough money to answer people's emails, if they are a civilian agency whose #1 purpose, according to their own charter, is "the expansion of human knowledge". Ask them why Dan Goldin is still their boss. Ask them why he won't invite me or better yet, the scientists who have appeared in my newsletter for a presentation of our concerns to their staff, followed by whatever questions they can muster, all presented live on the Internet (they have the technology, they used it for Sojourner videos, remember?).

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.


Please send any news directly to the editor at the email address given below.

Please post these newsletters EVERYWHERE! You can -- and should -- send them to news media too! Please tell your friends and neighbors and Internet buddies to subscribe! These words can have power, but only if they are passed on to many others!

Thanks for reading,

Russell D. Hoffman

Founder & Editor
STOP CASSINI Newsletter -- nearly 100 issues of mirth, merriment, and mind-numbingly depressing facts about NASA and other horrors


I don't know how it is in your country, but in our country, at least we have this:

Amendment One... "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble..."

Written in U.S.A.

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