STOP CASSINI Newsletter #165 -- August 7th, 1999

Copyright (c) 1999

STOP CASSINI Newsletters Index

To: Subscribers, Press, Government Officials

Subject: Cassini retargeted over Polynesia: STOP CASSINI #165

Date: August 7th, 1999

Time Frame: Cassini is scheduled to do the flyby of Earth August 18th, 1999 (August 17th in the USA) above Polynesia. Hawaii, India, Japan, China, Philippines, New Zealand, Australia etc. all also more threatened.

Today's Subjects:

(1) NASA changes targets in midstream: Cassini redirected

Earlier this week we received a phone call from Curtis Cost regarding Cassini. I discussed with him the fact that NASA was saying that Cassini was targeted towards a point near Africa, heading towards Africa, with the closest point of approach around 0 degrees longitude and just south of the equator, according to NASA's web site.

Mr. Cost is the Vice President of the Scholars Committee of the Reverend Al Sharpton's organization The National Action Network. He can be reached at (718) 231-9683, in New York.

This morning (Saturday, August 7th, 1999) Mr. Cost called me back, and asked me why the closest point of approach was, in fact, 137 degrees west longitude and 23.5 degrees south latitude, in the South Pacific Ocean, over the peaceful tropical paradise of Polynesia.

Good question!

We revisited NASA's web page, and sure enough, the point of closest approach had been moved nearly half way around the world!

We are grateful to Mr. Cost for alerting us to NASA's change of plans!

We had of course been saying that NASA could change the point of closest approach practically at will, as long as they kept it in a line targeted approximately towards Jupiter and Saturn (allowing for the fact that everything's orbiting around the sun, and the Earth is spinning, of course.)

That is what they have indeed done, just as we said they could. Instead of threatening Africa's teaming millions, who (fortunately) have some powerful friends in America and in the U. S. Congress, NASA will now threaten Polynesia most of all, and non-nuclear New Zealand, and Australia, and the whole of Asia, not to mention Hawaii! I hope these people also have powerful friends in (mainland) America and in the U. S. Congress!

It is interesting that the NASA/JPL web page with the new location has not changed the graphic giving the time of the TCA (Time of Closest Approach, I guess is what it stands for) as 1999-230T03:38. 230 would be the numerical day of the year, "T" for "Time" and 03:38 as the hour and minute of closest approach, local time (Greenwich Mean Time, as it turned out) we believe. But that was before, when Cassini was targeted towards Africa. One has to ask if it is still the correct time (it seems unlikely).

A second graphic further down the page states that "Earth Closest Approach" will occur at "03:28" on August 18th, 1999. Will that be local time near Africa where Cassini was originally going to have its "ECA" or will it be local time in Polynesia, which is now under Cassini's ECA? Or is the time totally off now, and if so, by how much? And now, when is NASA/JPL going to have the party we've been hearing about? And when do I get MY vacation?

If Cassini fails for any reason, two things will probably happen as a result:

It doesn't really matter what causes the failure, be it space debris, a lick from a solar flair, a part exploding, a command sequence gone awry, a "hissing" somewhere of a pressurized system -- any and all of these things can combine or act by themselves to render the probe damaged and uncontrollable.

What happens then? Two things: 1) It will go off course, and 2) it will change speed. Each of these affects when and where Cassini would crash into Earth. And it should not be forgotten that failures that do NOT immediately result in a collision with Earth might actually be WORSE (for humanity) than those that do!

How so?

Simple: If the probe becomes uncontrollable it will be left in an orbit which could intercept our own at a later date -- in NASA's own words, "Failures during legs targeted toward Earth or Venus would tend to result in spacecraft trajectories that remain in the vicinity of Earth's orbit" (Page B-4 of the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Cassini mission). If that happens, by the time the probe has floated around aimlessly for, perhaps, decades, the radioactive material may have decayed only slightly but the containment system may have become totally brittle and ineffective.

This is even admitted, on page 4-104 of the same EIS, where NASA states, "With respect to the long-term inadvertent reentry accident, the performance and behavior of the materials used in the RTGs after many years (a decade to a millennia) in a space environment are highly uncertain."

And furthermore, the probe could be even more dangerous later than now because it might randomly do additional flybys of other planets (or of Earth) prior to colliding with us at some later date. If that happens it could be traveling far faster, which could cause it to break up more on impact, or impact deeper into the atmosphere. If that occurs over a populated area -- well, you get the idea.

And of course, we wouldn't see it coming. If it's not sending out signals, telling where it is, it's far too small to see. It might not even be seen as it impacts Earth! It would just appear here in the form of higher readings for plutonium in the environment for an unknown reason.

And higher rates, perhaps imperceptibly so (even though thousands might be dying), for cancer, leukemia, and for birth defects.

And finally, the accident could be worse because the population of the planet could have doubled, tripled, quadrupled -- even more. And if it had, and if we were feeding them all and educating them all and loving them all, and not threatening them all with nuclear poison, that would be WONDERFUL! But if we solve all those problems, only to have Cassini come back 100 or 200 years from now, well, that would be a great shame and it's disgusting that NASA scientists threaten Earth with such things. 400,000 Curies of plutonium is a horrendous radiological burden, comparable in its potential to any weapon of mass destruction ever devised, except it is more indestructible than most -- for example, biological threats would be incinerated in a reentry accident, but plutonium cannot be destroyed by incinerating it -- that vaporizes it into tiny particles (ideal for lodging permanently in the human lung) and spreads it around.

The only thing that destroys plutonium (besides an nuclear weapon explosion) is time, in accordance with the statistical principles of its half-life.

Newsletter in which we discuss half-lifes:

Newsletter giving the original discussion for where Cassini was aimed:

NASA's Cassini Travel Guide, with the new, partially-updated Cassini targeting (we believe the times are probably no longer correct):

This page contains additional information on the time of the various Cassini events, including the TCMs:

(2) Nagasaki Day Present: Cassini now threatens Japan


At 09:35 AM 8/7/99 +0900, you wrote:
Dear Sir or Madam

Hello. I am writing this from Japan. Anyway, I have one question. Where does Cassini fall if it will happen? I would like to know which country would be the target. Please, response that question.

Thank you.

Koji N




Thank you for your email. Fortunately for the people of Japan, Cassini will not be aimed in your direction -- you'll be on the other side of the planet from where it will be. Its path cuts across Africa mostly, near the equator.

You can get more information about the path from our newsletter #137:

which also links to NASA's web site for the information they provide.

Unfortunately for all people, including the people of Japan, Cassini's plutonium, if it is dispersed into the atmosphere, will spread throughout the environment.

The next newsletter, #165, will probably be out some time this weekend. The previous issue, is already posted at the web site and is titled: Hiroshima: 54 years of pain.

Thank you for your concern for the environment.

Russell Hoffman





I'm sorry to have to write you this letter, but NASA has UPDATED the Cassini Earth flyby point of closest approach to 137 degrees west longitude and 23 degrees south latitude.


"Cassini's closest approach to Earth occurs at 137 West longitude and 23.5 South latitude, over the South Pacific Ocean."

This means that, as it did 54 years ago, America is threatening Japan with nuclear devices. The probe comes from the west to the east, and Japan, which, based on the original timing of the flyby, would have been hidden from the probe by the Earth itself, thus reducing the likelihood of the worst possible accident, one penetrating deep into the atmosphere, directly over your heads. Japan could now be a direct target of the probe if it goes off course.

Of course, the real threat is from the global dispersion at high altitude, and for that, it doesn't matter where Cassini comes down. Also, any accident would probably cause a change in speed as well as direction. Thus, really any point on the planet is threatened by an accident which might occur today, or tomorrow. In the last few hours before the flyby, the part of the planet which is "behind" and "away" from the probe becomes impossible or unlikely to be hit by Cassini, but Japan, on the front side, would stay within the "targetable area" far longer than, say Africa, which will be on the other side of the world.

The change in position nearly halfway around the world probably proves that NASA actually DOES respond to citizen complaints, so please:


See any issue of my STOP CASSINI newsletter for NASA contact addresses. This is a very important time for Japan to complain! Between Hiroshima Day and Nagasaki Day a lot of voices can be joined! Please do what you can to cause that to happen! Contact you Japanese-American friends and/or relatives, and everyone you can!

The fact that NASA changed the flight path once proves that people CAN make a difference! So you can too! (And NASA can't possibly push it back over Africa, I am very sure of that!)

Thank you and again my apologies at having to write this letter, and so soon after having assured you differently.

Please remember that we are all threatened by Cassini no matter where the most likely direct targets are the day of the flyby!


Russell Hoffman


(3) India: 1 Billion people there now more in line as plutonium target

India, with now over one billion people, and with its nuclear strike capability, and Pakistan with their teaming masses and their nuclear weapons, and China with her billion+ and her nuclear weapons, and Russia with all of their people and nuclear weapons, are now all more directly threatened by Cassini than before.

So is tiny Bangladesh, with her agricultural population, where F. R. Sarker has told me that if you ask anyone on the street (who reads the newspapers) what "Cassini" is, they will be able to tell you it is a nuclear probe launched by NASA which will fly by Earth soon. (I don't think the average American can tell you even that much about Cassini!)

If NASA can be forced by public pressure to change the point of closest approach once, surely they can be forced to change it again -- to stop it completely!

TCM 12 occurs early this coming week -- possibly as early as Monday, August 9th, or perhaps as late as the Thursday, the 12th, or even possibly sooner, or later. It should be forbidden entirely!

(4) Hiroshima Day: Letter from a reader (+ comment)


At 02:58 PM 8/7/99 +0200, you wrote:
Date: Sat, 07 Aug 1999 14:58:16 +0200
From: "Dr. Gerd-Joseph Weisensee" (

To: "Russell D. Hoffman" (
Subject: Re: Hiroshima: 54 years of pain:

Dear Russell D. Hoffman
on this subject (Hiroshima: 54 years) let me make a comment or a question:
In history text books, at least in the only English one I have here, there is something mentioned that Japan submitted already a bid for surrender - BEFORE THE TWO A-BOMBS WERE DROPPED.
Therefore I consider the following an outright lie: Most years, we add a statement about the fact that had we not dropped "the bomb" (twice) an invasion might have cost everyone on both sides far more lives, etc. etc.

Of course Washington didn't know much about the effects of the bomb at that time. But, as it turned out, the people in those two Japanese towns were used as guinea pigs. And when the Third Reich hadn't surrendered on May 8, 1945, they would have get at least another bomb. I wonder how many bombs really were available at that time. Just those two or more? Best regards and thank you very much for your highly esteemed work

Dr. Gerd Josef Weisensee, Bern Switzerland



Dear Dr. Gerd Josef Weisensee;

Thank you for your email (shown below).

This is such a complex and "touchy" subject. One doesn't want to denigrate the deaths of anyone, on any side, of any war. I had thought perhaps I would skip this discussion for this year, but the comment I made was clearly way too brief a description of how I think World War II ended. Let me express (less briefly, but still fairly briefly) my view, and then I hope you will agree that what I said was NOT a "lie" (noting also that I used the wishy-washy word "might" in my description, in the first place!).

My understanding is that Japan was indeed making some relatively feeble overtures towards peace through Russian contacts, whom we were loath to trust at that point. It was getting to the point, in fact, where either Russian or American forces were going to force Japan to surrender, but it was still up in the air which it would be. Americans wanted it to be to Americans. The Japanese probably preferred to have the Americans beat them, just as the German citizenry preferred American conquerors to Russian conquerors -- perhaps it was because the Germans knew they had slaughtered the Russians by the millions and they didn't look forward to "payback time".

Prior to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan was already beaten, with its carriers gone (and all the airplanes and pilots that were on them), its battleships gone, its merchant marine gone, its industrial centers smashed, its oil supplies used up or destroyed, and its people being firebombed on almost a nightly basis. Yet it was making only the feeblest attempts to surrender. You might say Japan was actually negotiating for position -- NOT trying to surrender! Japan was trying to avoid a "unilateral" surrender, so that they could avoid an occupation army, disarmament, inspections, giving back of territory, paying of war crimes debts (in cash and leader's lives) and of course, the stigma of a full surrender.

I do not think it is fair to refer to that as "Japan submitted already a bid for surrender". Rather, it was an attempt to pre-negotiate a stronger position than the one they KNEW (from what had happened already in Germany) we were going to insist on!

I wish history indicated to me otherwise, but I personally believe that the facts DO indicate that the Japanese leaders were NOT really about to surrender unconditionally at all. I also believe that had the war gone on for even a few more weeks, many thousands of soldiers on both sides -- and many Japanese civilians as well, under the firebombings -- would have died. Approximately a quarter of a million people died in the two atomic blasts -- it could be half a million -- no one knows. Would THAT MANY have died before the war came to a non-nuclear close?

That, no one will ever know.

Anyway, the Japanese were fighting ferociously at the time on dozens of islands throughout the Pacific -- desperate struggles with no hope of victory (some of these guerilla fighters continued to inflict pain and damage for years and even decades after the war officially ended).

I don't think that America had more than three bombs -- one was tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico, one was "tested" 54 years ago yesterday over Hiroshima, Japan, and the third, a plutonium-packed bomb known as "Fat Boy", was "tested" over Nagasaki 54 years ago Monday. (August 9th).

The lack of having a follow-up bomb was probably one of the main reasons we timed the two explosions a few days apart -- so that Japan had time to see what the first one had done, and then a few days later they could experience the second one, and hopefully by that time they expected a third one and would have surrendered, which is in fact, what they did. Had they not surrendered, the only question is how quickly could we have made another, and another, and another bomb? It might have taken months, during which time, the war, although "technically" winding down, was still waging in bloody fury all across the Pacific.

However, there is another issue, and another side. Some people claim that America was in fact, EAGER to use these weapons against an enemy, and there is always the possibility they were rushed into "service" so that they could be "demonstrated" for all to see. It is thus unfortunate that after the bombs, proper studies of what exactly those effects were, were not done! The damage to the statistical evidence which America's failure to properly study the effects produced, has continued to slant the world's attitude toward nuclear war.

Having denied perhaps as many as half the actual deaths, perhaps even more, these bombs appear to only be half as bad as they actually are, perhaps even less.

And I think that is the true crime from that era. The dropping of the bombs was arguably a crime. Failure to study the effects was undoubtedly a crime.

I should note that my views on this subject will forever remain clouded by the fact that my father was at the time serving in Germany with the Allied occupation forces, having fought his way though Italy, France, etc. including in the Battle of the Bulge, all the way into Germany. After surviving in such a depraved environment as the European theater (as a mortar man, forward observer, rifleman, etc.), the last thing he or any of the other hundreds of thousands of war-weary GIs wanted, was to go do it all over again in the Pacific, on more difficult terrain, against a more entrenched and even more desperate enemy. (German soldiers were not deluded into thinking they would be killed or enslaved if they were captured. Japanese soldiers were led to believe such things.) The last thing my father or any of the others owed anybody was to have to go do it all over again anywhere. They cheered those A-bombs, and the nearly immediate surrender that followed their use. And I don't think anyone can blame them. Certainly I can't.

There is so much geopolitics surrounding issues of war, and we can not be sure why things were done.

But that is no reason for society not to now realize just how terrible those weapons were, and to admit that they should in fact, NOT have been used!

Thank you again for writing,

Russell Hoffman


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

The hour is late: To stop Cassini and other future mad-scientist launches, please redistribute this newsletter to everyone you know! Chances are they have never heard of Cassini, never visited our STOP CASSINI web site, never heard of or considered the effects of the Electromagnetic Pulse that will undoubtedly start a nuclear war if one occurs at all. And chances are good they would not even be able to tell you who played Dr. Strangelove (and two other roles) in the movie of the same name! There is a crisis in education in America and around the world -- you can take it seriously or you can let it kill you. But if we all join together and oppose this impending global destruction, maybe, just maybe, we can convince the powers that be to put down their genocidal toys.

To learn about the absurd excuses NASA used to launch Cassini 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:

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.

(6) Subscription information

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