The Action Site to Stop Cassini Earth Flyby
P.O. Box 1999, Wendell Depot, MA 01380
March 14, 1999
This newsletter describes recent developments to redirect the Cassini space ship's fly-by of Earth, which has been scheduled for August 18, 1999. We only have until June 24, 1999 to do this safely, during the Venus fly-by. The references in parentheses can be accessed via the hotlinks at the bottom of the newsletter.
Our mission at the NoFlyby website corresponds to the Plutonium NoFlyby Statement (1) that is endorsed by hundreds of organizations and individuals. We aim to increase awareness of the danger, foolishness, and arrogance of NASA's Cassini project. The agency is imperiling all life upon our own planet by choosing to hurl the craft into Earth's gravitational field at record speed with a over 72 pounds of plutonium on board. In the event of a Cassini accident the radiation released into our atmosphere could match the entire amount released since the first atomic bomb explosions in the 1940's.
Our recent press release "NASA Misleads the World on the Dangers of the Cassini Space Ship's Fly-by of Earth" (2) explains the dangers everyone is facing. NASA has ignored the significance of the U.S. Interagency Safety Review Panel's report on Cassini. On 2 June 1997, NASA and the U.S. reported their safety evaluation of the Cassini space mission to the U.N. (3). Then, in July 1997, one month later, a Safety Evaluation Report (SER) was submitted to the U.S. by an appointed panel to review the safety of Cassini. This SER clearly has major discrepancies with NASA's Cassini Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
"The Cassini Gamble," (4), a report by three doctors on the risk of the Cassini fly-by, catalogs the discrepancies. These doctors emphasize a fundamental error in NASA's evaluation process: The agency has been assessing the cancer-causing threat posed by plutonium radiation on the basis of general ionizing radiation. This is a highly misleading method of soft-pedaling the real risks. "The probability of a single inhaled particle [from plutonium] inducing a cancer" was reported in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences April 1997 from experiments performed at Columbia University, and financed in part by NASA yet completely ignored in all of its EIS.
We're also extremely concerned about larger context surrounding Cassini. Our elected representatives in government seem to be pushing missile defense initiatives to accelerate the arms race (5). Because their intention apparently is the "weaponization of space," they have ignored public safety concerns of missions like Cassini.
The dangers and misuse of funds to test nuclear-powered laser weapons in space are real. These policies threaten more than protect U.S. security interests. There are better ways to apply the same research and development (R&D) efforts to continue to create profits and jobs for workers in the nuclear and weapons industries *without* the mandate to nuclearize space.
We realize that most of this R&D is profit-driven. But even without sacrificing financial profits we have an opportunity to transform the ruinous fear-, greed-, and power-based policies represented by the use of nuclear energy on missions such as Cassini and for space-based weapon systems. Instead, we can direct innovative R&D in a spirit of cooperation and true security to create more jobs and profits than during any period during the cold and hot cycles of war.
The Senate Cochran-Inouye Bill calling for "deployment of National Missile Defense (STAR WARS) as soon as technologically possible" is opposed by all nuclear disarmament advocates. Proponents of the measure must have 60 votes in order for consideration to proceed. (Last year we were able to win twice by blocking further consideration of the bills, but we only won by one vote each time.)
Please continue to generate calls and faxes to your Senators today, over the weekend, and on Monday:
Capitol Switchboard (202) 224 3121
If you have questions, or want to know more about what you can do, please contact Bob Tiller at PSR (202) 898 0150 ext. 220 email@example.com
Fran Teplitz at Peace Action (202) 862 9740 firstname.lastname@example.org
Just passing this on from John Isaacs, Council for a Livable World:
The latest on the Senate schedule --
Majority Leader Trent Lott has just announced (around 6:00 P.M. on Thursday) that the Cochran National Missile Defense bill will in fact come up next week, the week of March 15. The Senate has one more vote on the education bill Thursday evening; there are no Senate votes on Friday or Monday.
Senator Lott also announced that there will no cloture vote on the Cochran bill, S.257, but rather that the Senate will proceed directly to the bill and debate thereon. This announcement comes after a negotiated agreement with Senator Daschle and other Democrats, but the details are not clear at this point.
Reminder: The House is still expected to take up the Weldon-Spratt (H.R.4) missile defense bill on Thursday, March 18. The House leadership first hopes to host the Rumsfeld commission on missile defense threats in a closed briefing for House members.
When the Weldon-Spratt bill comes up, Rep. Tom Allen plans to offer a substitute measure -- subject to approval by the House Rules Committee -- that places conditions on any national missile defense deployment.
President Council for a Livable World
110 Maryland Avenue, NE - Room 409
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 543-4100 x.131 FAX (202) 543-6297
On February 24, Dr Joan Russow, national leader of the Green Party of Canada submitted a Stop Cassini Fly-by Petition and Resolution to the Right Honourable Jean Chretien, the Prime Minister of Canada, for his immediate attention. This petition was drafted by the Cassini Redirect Coalition and it calls for heads of state or other national leaders to make demands in the United Nations and in the International Court to stop the Cassini Earth fly-by.
It's worth a close look by all those concerned by the Cassini flyby; you may find some points listed there that we hadn't mentioned before.
March 10, 1999
Mr. Roy Bridges
AA NASA Kennedy Space Center, Fl. 32899
Dear Mr. Bridges:
This letter is to request a meeting between you and representatives of our organization to discuss our opposition to the now planned August 1999 Cassini fly-by.
As you know, we have been organizing in opposition to nuclear power in space since before the launch of Galileo in 1989. During the time since then we have seen three plutonium launches and now understand that there are NASA plans to launch at least eight more of these kinds of missions, including the 2003 launch of the Europa Orbiter and the 2004 launch of the Pluto-Kuiper Express.
We are also aware that NASA is now preparing for nuclear-powered mining colonies on Mars in the year 2007 and we understand that Los Alamos Labs and the University of Florida Nuclear Engineering Department are working on a nuclear rocket to Mars. In fact the Department of Energy (DoE) is now taking an internal review of its plutonium 238 production requirements and operations in the U.S. because they say that the need for more plutonium due to expanded use of nuclear power in space is pushing them to their limits. Plutonium production facilities in Idaho Falls, Idaho; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and Hanford, Washington, are now being evaluated for re-opening in order to handle the growing need for space nuclear power.
As you probably know, all of these sites that previously produced plutonium for nuclear weapons use have been either shut down or scaled back due to a reduction of need and because they were causing serious environmental degradation with radioactive releases and contamination. If DoE re-opens these facilities for plutonium production due to NASA requirements, people who once thought that they had made some progress in beginning to shut down and clean up will be upset and blame NASA and the space program for new radioactive pollution in their beleaguered communities.
We are deeply concerned that the expansion of the use of nuclear power in space will come back to haunt all of us if there were to be either a launch accident or a fly-by malfunction as does happen from time to time. Already we have heard that NASA lost contact with Cassini for several days. What if that were to happen again at the time of the dangerous Earth fly-by this August?
Of course we are also troubled about published statements by the U.S. Space Command that say they intend to take military "control of space" and that nuclear power would be used to provide the tremendous amount of power needed for space-based weapons.
We enclose for you a list of Space Objectives and Demands that we are currently circulating around the world. We are asking groups, churches, and concerned citizens to discuss these in their local communities as a way to engage the public in an open dialogue about the kind of seed that NASA and our government should carry into space.
We would hope that our meeting with you would serve to give us both an opportunity to discuss these important issues and we would ask that you pass on our concerns to those who give you direction.
We look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible with a positive response to our request for a meeting. We would be available at any time that will be convenient for you.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation.
For peace in space,
Bruce K. Gagnon Coordinator
OBJECTIVES & DEMANDS FOR SPACE
- Apply space technology to social and environmental needs here on Earth
- Explore alternative technology paths for space power and propulsion
- Solve problems on planet Earth instead of creating new imbalances and conflicts in space
- Prevent confrontation, enhance international cooperation in space
- Ban space weapons and space military installations by national and international laws
- Avoid oversized, costly and risky space projects
- Ban the use of nuclear power in space
- Encourage and foster global democratic debate about space exploration and colonization
- Strengthen existing international space laws that call for collective use of celestial bodies
We're delighted to have Dr. Carol Sue Rosin officially "on board." In addition to being a true visionary in the field of space technology, Dr. Rosin has immense scientific, business, activist, and organizational experience. Her career credentials are amazing:
* Founder, Institute for Security and Cooperation in Outer Space
* First woman executive in the aerospace industry
* Spokesperson for the late Dr. Wernher von Braun, "father of rocketry"
* Space and missile defense consultant
* An originator of the movement to ban weapons from space
* Testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress about the feasibility of banning all space-based weapons
The following is an excerpt from a recent email from Carol Rosin:
...In fact, the species of plants and animals are disappearing rapidly, heading right to us in this chain of life. The beautiful old growth redwood forests up the street are gone, forever. The loggers would kill a young man who sat by a tree by falling the tree on him rather than lose their jobs. And they did. The facts about the trees, the beauty in which they could live, is less important. Vested interests win.
Some will argue that this is what is supposed to happen...that we are going to be obliterated and it says it in the Bible. The mind can create any reality, any myth, including religion. And we certainly can create a self-fulling prophecy.
I've learned that the mind creates reality...and it does it when there is a vision along with an intention. It's all a thought, a decision.
I've also learned that the mind created these technologies out of fear and greed, then in the state of guilt and depression and denial that too often accompanies people who are in the self-destruct or planetary destruct gridand that the mind can overcome these symptoms as we educate and communicate, begin to understand more and more about who we are and how to treat each other..
...There are those among that group who still work within the same grid of old, but most of them whom I've met would just as well go into space without taking the same old mindset that would produce weapons and other dangerous technologies above all our children's heads. Most of those still in the military/industrial complex just want to keep their jobs, and get into space, and work on their R&D projects. Some are laser and nuclear experts, and can't see past those areas...but those people are technical experts who could do just about anything if the mandate changed...if the consciousness entered and the grid changed.
The space technology and information services that the technology provides, now stimulated by the largest R&D program in history, the space-based weapons program (no matter whether you call it SDI, Strategic Defense Initiative, BMD, Ballistic Missile Defense, GPS, Global Protection System...or whatever), can easily continue without the mandate that would connect the old grid on earth right into the universes. Rev. Jesse Jackson, during his presidential campaign, once said that we should change all this and build a space development initiative! We can, with a decision made by our collective consciousness, switch grids, move into other grids. In fact, the timing is perfect to do it.
The timing MUST be perfect, because if we don't find a way to accomplish this new vision immediately, it will be too late...once they put the weapons up there is just too late. All the hints are there that this space-based weapons ban is timely, and that it is the ONLY way for all of us to reach our common goals for peace and all. Everything is in place (including the internet and advanced communication/information gathering and sharing technologies) for the community, national, and global transition from the war game to the space game.
Space is the key to peace on earth and in space, and in our own inner being as well.
Please, email us if you're interested in receiving the "NoFlyby Feedback" updates, which are more frequent and less formal emails coming and going from the NoFlyby site. If you want to get these, just reply with "subscribe noflyby feedback."
Please check "Actions to Stop the Flyby" (9)
for ideas in helping to save our world
from the Cassini threat.
Remember: On or before June 24, 1999 is the safest time to redirect Cassini from approaching Earth. Cassini heralds our future and timing is critical. Your actions now can make a big difference.
This site is hosted on The Nonviolence Web and is an affiliated Project of Traprock Peace Center (103A Keets Road, Deerfield, MA 01342). Together we explore nonviolence, foster Community, work to end war, promote communication and take initiatives on environmental and justice issues.
This page was posted 3/14/99 12:08:29 PM
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