For Immediate Release

Award winning video, music and demonstration planned to expose the dangers of the upcoming NASA-Cassini space probe's fly-by of Earth.

Jonathan Mark
Action Site to Stop Cassini Earth Flyby
Box 1999 Wendell Depot, MA 01380

"Nukes in Space 2, Unacceptable Risks" is a video documentary that tells the story of the Cassini plutonium-fueled space probe. It won the Silver Award at the 32nd annual WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival -- the largest film festival in the world, with over 4,300 entries from 33 countries. Festival Director, J. Hunter Todd, said, "Nukes in Space 2 is a tremendously important film that reveals the terrible truth of our nation's folly."

We are screening this video in the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts on two nights: Friday, June 4, 7:30 P.M., at the Unitarian Church in Northampton, and Saturday, June 12, 8:00 P.M., at the Java Hut Cafe in Sunderland. Following the video (9:00 p.m.) at the Java Hut Cafe you can enjoy the inspirational acoustic sounds of Mimi Whitcomb from Devotion, Heartsong, and the Cosmic Flying Eyeball.

Founder of the "NoFlyby" Website, Jonathan Mark, is asking for people to respond to the call for actions on Saturday, June 12, 1999, in support of the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice and the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. They have announced plans to hold a demonstration at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on that day to demand the cancellation of the planned August 1999 Earth fly-by of the Cassini spacecraft.

A local action is planned at Pulaski Park on Main Street in Northampton that day at 3:00 P.M. Come earlier for an improvisational music jam. "At the very least," said Mark, "our efforts are to help people become aware about the risks of this summer's Earth gravitational 'swingby' of Cassini and about plans to continue using nuclear power for exploratory and military spacecraft." Three successive Titan 4 rocket ships since Cassini's launch have had serious mishaps. Since they were military launches, much of the information about these is classified: Most important, the public has not been told whether radioactive plutonium was on board and dispersed into our environment.

The NoFlyby website offers links to much information about radioactivity and nuclear materials in space, including new scientific studies that show conclusively there is no safe level for Plutonium exposure. According to a recent letter by Dr. John Gofman, who in 1942 led the "Plutonium Group" at the University of California, Berkeley, which was the first to isolate a milligram of plutonium from irradiated uranium, "...just one decaying radioactive [plutonium] atom can produce permanent mutation in a cell's genetic molecules."

NASA can either ignite the booster rockets on June 24 for the Venus-to-Earth swingby or it could reprogram Cassini to go in a safer direction. Mark said NASA's plan to send Cassini toward Earth could not come at a more precarious time. Not only due to the recent problems with Titan 4 rockets, which Cassini uses, but there's also a distinct possibility that Cassini's communications systems will be fried by one of the periodic solar eruptions scientists are expecting between now and 2001. During the high point of the last solar flare cycle, for example, a solar eruption blew out the electrical power for more than six million Canadians.

If Cassini reenters Earth's atmosphere at the expected speeds, practically all of the 72.3 pounds of plutonium dioxide on board would be released in a breathable form, potentially causing millions of cancer fatalities over the following 50 years. Why risk such a possible consequence with a substance that would remain for countless generations? "The important thing," says Mark, "is that people wake up in time. We're not just trying to stop Cassini, but to expose the greater danger that lies behind Cassini -- that is, the development and deployment of space-based nuclear weaponry for the U.S. dominance of outer space, which would threaten everyone."

Posted 5/26/99 5:50:28 PM