STOP CASSINI Newsletter #137 -- June 16th, 1999

Copyright (c) 1999

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

To: Subscribers, Press, Government Officials

Subject: Is Charles S. Morris God or does he just play Him at NASA? STOP CASSINI #137

Date: June 16th, 1999

Time Frame: There are 8 days left to demand that NASA smash Cassini into Venus.

Fact: I challenge ANY NASA employee to read this newsletter and respond to its points.

Statement: I, Russell D. Hoffman, 42 years of age, living in Carlsbad, California, educational software programmer, do hereby swear that my statements in this document are the truth and nothing but the truth, as well as I can say it, so help me God. Space does not permit it here, but "the whole awful truth" appears at my web site. Cassini is extremely dangerous to mankind, it serves no purpose that could not have been achieved safely with solar options, and ANYONE who tells you different is either seriously misinformed or is a lying, spineless weasel. -- Russell D. Hoffman

Today's subjects:

(1) Build a model of Cassini out of paper!

Build a paper model of Cassini! Visit this URL for the plans!

Be sure to fill each RTG with 270 billion deadly doses of plutonium! (You can represent the plutonium with ground pepper if you like!) Then toss the thing out the window of a very fast-moving car, to see what the RTGs and RHUs will do in the event of an Earth reentry accident.

According to NASA, from 3% to 100% of the plutonium payload can be vaporized in a reentry accident . (See the June 1995 EIS for the Cassini mission, page 4-51; these numbers were amended for the 1997 supplemental EIS, SIMPLY by deciding that the probe would, upon reentry, be tumbling in just the right way so as to minimize the release! THAT'S NOT SCIENCE!)

NASA has not in fact, run ANY relevant tests which would prove one way or the other how effective the containment system would be. See page 2-19 of the June 1995 EIS, which gives the maximum values the RTG's main components (GPHSs, General Purpose Heat Sources, which contain the plutonium) were tested to. The test values are WELL UNDER the potential pressures and temperatures which Cassini might experience in a reentry!

Here is the URL for a counter-argument to the supposed safety of NASA's containment system, written by Dr. Horst Poehler, former NASA contractor:

NASA ignores completely such combinatorial accident scenarios as Cassini first hitting one of the tens of millions of pieces of man-made space debris that occupies the area around Earth, breaking the probe apart prior to reentry. Such a combination of events, while certainly less likely than a single event, could GUARANTEE a FULL RELEASE of the plutonium.



Note: Here is an example of a "combinatorial accident scenario" which we are all cautioned partially about, but seldom thoroughly, from everyday life:

All drivers have undoubtedly been told that when they see a ball roll into the street, they MUST expect a child to come running out after it. And many drivers have seen that indeed, it is excellent advice. But how often are we reminded that it is at that very instant, where you think you have prepared yourself for the "inevitable", that you are most vulnerable to what might otherwise have been inconsequential -- say, a car coming part way out of a driveway in front of you at the same instant, or someone ELSE crossing the street at the same time? Were you watching for all those things too, or did your mind concentrate on one thing to the exclusion of other important things?

Sure, it's true, that combinations of accidents are less likely than "uncomplicated" accidents, but they certainly happen sometimes. NASA has arranged all its data, all its analysis, around single-accident scenarios resulting in what can only really be called a "controlled reentry". NASA has made many utterly unknowable assumptions about how and whether the probe is spinning, tumbling, twirling, or in a "side-on-stable" configuration (a NASA term for one possible reentry motion). These assumptions greatly effect the "expected" release rate of the plutonium in the RTGs. Note that NONE of these assumptions have ANY effect on the release rate of the plutonium in the RHUs, each with 2.7 grams of plutonium (there are about 130 RHUs on board Cassini). As discussed in newsletter #127:

"According to NASA's FSEIS for the Cassini mission (page D-3, with accompanying charts), the RHUs have a 'conditional probability of 1.0' of incinerating in a reentry accident. Collectively the RHUs contain about half a pound of plutonium!" This means (and please ask any NASA employee to interpret their own documents for you themselves if you doubt me!) that the RHUs are toast in ANY possible reentry accident! They will be vaporized for subsequent inhalation by humans and other living things! -- rdh

(2) A look at NASA's Mission Status document for Cassini:

The following URL is for a NASA document called The Cassini Travel Guide, which discusses the Cassini mission in some detail (ignoring the dangers of Plutonium, of course):


"Trajectory Correction Maneuvers (TCMs) and targeting strategy

"Cassini is powered by RTGs, Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators, which contain plutonium (Pu238) for generating electricity without any moving parts. To reduce the possibility of an accidental collision with Earth in August 1999, at no time is the spacecraft ever targeted directly toward the planet. Departing from the Venus-2 encounter, the aim point is far removed from Earth. Only over the course of three TCMs is the aim point brought closer to Earth, in order to fly by the planet at an altitude of 1173 km. This is opposite the strategy used approaching Venus. For Venus, the spacecraft was aimed directly for the center of Venus' disk, and then via additional TCMs, the aim point was brought out from the planet to the proper flyby distance. For Earth, the aim point is carefully brought inward, step by step, from well away from our planet."


They forgot about the 15% or so that is Pu 239 (not to mention the 1% or so that is other isotopes of plutonium).

And "carefully brought inward"? Who are they kidding?!? That means nothing!

Let's analyze the sequence from a compassionate point of view, where we actually worry about what might hit us, instead of just pretending everything will always go well.

After the Venus flyby, the probe will not be aimed directly towards Earth. Then, by firing their rockets in a series of three maneuvers, they push Cassini IN THE DIRECTION OF EARTH. If the rockets are fired for too long, then they will push Cassini into an Earth-impacting trajectory (if they fire even longer, they'll push Cassini past Earth on the other side of the planet from the intended side). There is NO guarantee that telemetry won't be lost at the worst possible time, or that a digit will not be transposed to cause the firing to go on for too long. There is, in short, no guarantee of anything.

Furthermore, the NASA document makes it quite clear that these are very, very tiny corrective adjustments, burning very little fuel. That proves beyond doubt how tiny the "bias" away from Earth really is! If something goes very wrong and the probe is LOST IN SPACE (perhaps due to an impact with a tiny object, of which there are "many" (no one knows how many; they tend to be found in clusters; no one knows where all the clusters are; and they are traveling at awesome speeds (as is Cassini)) it might be knocked out of commission and slightly off course. That could be enough to send it into an Earth-impacting trajectory!

Just about the only thing the bias is good for is publicity for NASA, and of course, if the probe merely "goes dead", without anything pushing it off course and without any gaseous ejections or anything exploding to cause it to change direction, it would miss Earth -- the first time! But it will then be left in an orbit which, according to NASA's June 1995 EIS for the Cassini mission, would "tend" to be near our own (page B-4)! So it might miss us once, but nothing says it will miss us every time! Pu 239 has a half-life of 24,100 years, so ANY collision in the next half million years could release its deadly toxin! Pu 238, the majority of the plutonium on board Cassini, has a half-life of just 87.75 years. That means that it takes nearly a century for half of it to decay. And, half of 72.3 pounds of plutonium dioxide is still a deadly load. In addition, after 87.75 years the containment system could have become brittle and useless, as NASA's June 1995 EIS clearly states (page 4-104)!


(3) NASA chooses to threaten Africa (no surprise)

----- SECOND CLIP FROM NASA's "The Cassini Travel Guide" -----

"As it would happen, Cassini's closest approach to Earth occurs just below the equator and west of 0-degrees longitude..."


"As it would happen" is incorrect. It's a lie! In fact, NASA can adjust the flight of Cassini easily, by making very small changes in Cassini's speed now. The effect of such changes would multiply with time. Thus, NASA CHOOSES where Cassini will likely impact Earth. Naturally they choose near Africa, where no one can threaten them if anything goes wrong.

Because the flyby occurs in the Southern Hemisphere, it is unlikely that in the event of a reentry accident, much of the plutonium would come North to be deposited into the lungs of American citizens, since winds TEND TO REMAIN in the hemisphere they are in to begin with. -- rdh

(4) CHARLES S. MORRIS, comforted by his ignorance (or is it his insolence?)

There are some who are worried about a Comet called Lee and its possible effect on Cassini. I don't happen to be one of them. I cannot conceive of how Lee could have any effect on Cassini. But that does not matter in this next item. What matters is the arrogance and abdication of responsibility exhibited by Charles S. Morris in the item shown below. Where a scientific response to Elizabeth Picard's inquiry would have been appropriate (and NOTHING else would have EVER been appropriate), instead Bets, a caring mother of three teenagers who wants only to protect herself, her family, her loved ones and the rest of humanity, is grotesquely told in regard to Cassini's dangers: "I doubt that anything I would say to you would eliminate your concern. I don't share your concern, however."

That doesn't cut it. It doesn't cut it because it doesn't answer to the triad of evil that NASA is committing. That triad works as follows: If you push NASA on the dangers of plutonium 238 in vaporized form, they will assure you it won't be released even in the event of a reentry accident. If you then show them that THEIR OWN DOCUMENTS indicate clearly that there WILL be a plutonium release in a reentry accident, they will say that it will spread so thin that no one -- or "only", NASA says,120 people scattered around the world -- will die. If you then push them on that release, pointing out that it might NOT spread so thin, so evenly, so perfectly, such that no one will get very much (for example if you point out that a single RTG can actually get "hung up" in the rest of the Cassini probe and POSSIBLY make it all the way to Earth, spewing a deadly plume of plutonium as it descends) -- if you push them hard on that final fact, they will turn around and assure you that the chances of that are so very, very small, as to be equivalent to "impossible".

But it's not impossible. It's not even complex science! It's merely accepting the fact that ACCIDENTS DO HAPPEN! Using solar technology would have made it impossible. Using 72.3 pounds of plutonium dioxide makes it possible.

But does Charles S. Morris even utter a word about which of the deadly three points of the triangle he relies on in order to sleep well at night? NOOOOOO! He just announces to Elizabeth that he has the correct answer, and simply expects her not to believe him.

As if Charles S. Morris's word is the word of God and he doesn't have to explain himself! Charles S. Morris is a criminal! He does not offer rational explanations about the safety of Cassini (not surprisingly, really, because there aren't any), he merely prognosticates from on high. And he clearly chooses to do so because he finds an easy mark in the "Comet Lee" connection.

Notice also how he IGNORES the SOLAR FLARE question. That one is much, much harder. Where NASA could be heros, saving the world from Cassini BEFORE it happens, instead even things NASA admits are dangerous to astronaut's, their spacecraft, and to space probes like Cassini, are IGNORED! How can this be? How can NASA employees sit and watch what is happening within their own company -- I mean agency -- and not cry out in shame? -- rdh


From: (Elizabeth Picard)
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 1999 16:35:09 -0700 (PDT)

yeah, guess that comet is not a threat.,.your.friend,.bets

From: Charles Morris
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 99 15:56:34 PDT
Mailer: Elm [revision: 70.85]

nasa research is supposed to protect us and educate us.
Don't you think that with awareness of CometLee and NASA's prediction of
high solar activitiy (seen on their predition graph) that NASA would
protect the possiblity of a global disaster to the atmosphere. We are
not talking about an 'oil' spill which can be devastating enough. We
are talking about the plutonium 'spill' or 'explosion' which is a
high-risk in the Cassini Fly-by.
Would you please comment so I can understand why Cassini shouldn't be
redirected away from earth's atmosphere.
NASA must be aware of the risks by now; and they are unacceptable risks;
are they not?,.your.friend,.bets

I am not sure what Comet Lee or solar activity has to do with your concern over the Cassini flyby. The closest Comet Lee gets to the Earth is 77 million miles in October 1999 (that is almost as far away as the Sun). I have received a number of e-mails suggesting that Comet Lee is some threat to the Earth. That the coronal mass ejections will affect a comet's orbit - something that has NEVER been observed in the past even with higher solar activity. Whoever suggested that Comet Lee is involved in your concern over Cassini clearly does not know what they are talking about. [There is now a comet "scare" every time there is a modest comet around...Comet Lee is actually rather faint...these rumors, often started by the tabloids so they can sell newspapers, unfortunately scare people. I know because scared people e-mail me. The people spreading these rumors about comets are clueless and with all the real problems in the world to worry about, they should be ashamed.]

As for the Cassini flyby, flybys such as this have been done numerous times with various spacecraft both on Earth and other planets and moons of the solar system. They have always been successful and I have no doubt this one will also be successful. However, I realize that some people have the concern that you have expressed. I doubt that anything I would say to you would eliminate your concern. I don't share your concern, however.

Charles Morris

| Charles S. Morris | |
| ( | "Every absurdity |
| JPL 300-319 | has its champion" |
| Pasadena, CA 91109 | |
| (818) 354-8074 (office & voice) | -- anonymous (?) |
| (818) 393-5184 (FAX) | |


----- MY RESPONSE -----

To: (Elizabeth Picard)

Hi Elizabeth!

Thanks for sending me the Charles Morris item.

His confidence is unwarranted. No one questions the ability of NASA to conceive and calculate a flyby maneuver, but can they ALWAYS be executed without programming errors, and without misfiring of the rockets (as happens now and then)? And without the occasional transposed numbers? Can the probe be lost in space some time between now and next week when it does the flyby of Venus, never to be seen again, except when it reenters Earth's atmosphere some time in the next 1000 years or so, when the containment system he relies on as his last resort may have become brittle with age, and NASA's 1995 EIS admits they have no idea what would happen, because long-term tests haven't been done?

Where is his REAL comfort zone? It is in his ignorance.

These ... are fair questions that deserve (but don't have) good answers.

Charles Morris will not bother to read up on the facts about the opposition. He prefers to rely on the tried-and-true method of ignoring it and only picking on the easiest "fringe" topics he can find.

Too bad he's not more considerate.


Russell Hoffman
Founder and Editor
STOP CASSINI newsletter

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

(5) What you can do today to stop the dangerous flyby of Earth!

Time is now critical. PESTER NASA! If we can't stop Cassini, we can at least let them know we WILL NOT STOP WATCHING THEM! We need to stop the policy, not just the mission! The policy of ignoring scientists who disagree with NASA's lame assessments. The policy of ignoring activists with legitimate and well-thought-out complaints. The policy of lying to the public. All these must be stopped.

If Cassini is to be stopped, we all need to tell ALL OUR FRIENDS TO COMPLAIN! Because right now, NASA is saying there are no "credible" opponents to Cassini and that JUST ISN'T SO! Our complaints are credible, EVEN IF WE AREN'T ROCKET SCIENTISTS! We still deserve the truth. But in the June 1995 EIS for the Cassini mission, NASA LIED about what the D. E. Rockey et al 1981 JPL report said about a solar mission to Jupiter. The 1995 EIS claims the D. E. Rockey report says it wouldn't work (page 2-53) but even a casual reading of the report itself clearly indicates that its conclusion was that not only would solar options have worked there, they would have been CHEAPER!

Of course, without our help, you can't just go read the D. E. Rockey report. NASA made it very hard to obtain! In fact, it took Karl Grossman YEARS to wrestle it out of NASA, using the Freedom of Information Act! And he's an expert in its use, and in fact, teaches how to use it in college! It is phenomenal, however, that AFTER Mr. Grossman obtained the document, NASA misused it anyway!

Here is the URL where you can read the report in full, with links that show how NASA misused the report:

Notice that the report is quite unequivocal about solar options being available for that Jupiter mission, which NASA used the same excuses (too far from the sun, not maneuverable enough, not reliable enough, etc.) that they made for the use of RTGs on board Cassini. As if no progress has been made in solar technology in nearly 20 years!

(Actually, a lot more money could have been put into solar technology than in fact was, which would have had many benefits here on Earth. But instead NASA has been using these sickening, disgusting, Pu-puke-filled deathtraps called RTGs (soon to be renamed as RPSs, which will be somewhat more efficient but still utterly unwarranted). -- rdh

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

To stop NASA's dangerous upcoming August 17th (note new date!), 1999 flyby of Earth by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, with its deadly cargo of 72.3 pounds of plutonium 238 dioxide, arrogantly launched in 1997 amidst strong protests, please start by contacting NASA/JPL immediately and tell them you oppose Cassini:

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

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.

After you have acquainted yourself with what NASA is doing, please:



CANCEL CASSINI by JUNE 24th, 1999!

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