1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
4, 1997 T- 9 Days
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President William Jefferson Clinton
At 4:45 AM EDT on Monday, October 13, 1997, from launch complex # 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Station, a spacecraft called Cassini is scheduled to liftoff. On board Cassini will be 72.3 pounds of the deadliest substance known, Plutonium (Pu). This is by far the most Pu ever attempted to be launched in a space mission. Inhaling less than 27 millionths of a gram of Pu will give you lung cancer and also causes long term genetic damage. NASA's own odds now state there is a 1 in 345 probability for a release of Pu on this mission. NASA's original estimate for a Pu release were 1 in 1500, then it was 1 in 900, then 1 in 500, now it is 1 in 345, tomorrow who knows? Remember what the late Noble prize winning physicist Dr. Richard P. Feynman, a member of the Presidential Commission that investigated the Challenger disaster said: "the NASA managers exaggerated the reliability of the Shuttle to the point of fantasy. I saw considerable flaws in their logic. I found that they were making up numbers not based on experience. NASA's engineering judgment was not the judgment of its engineers." There are 2.3 million people in the 6 county region surrounding the Cape. If there is a failure on liftoff like the Challenger did at T+ 73 seconds and the Pu is released, the prevailing winds in October are blowing right back over all these people. Cassini has a 41 day launch window (10/6 to 11/15) but only 19% of the time the winds will be blowing out into the Atlantic, and the earliest time for launching is best for a successful NASA mission. If Cassini does liftoff, will NASA wait for the perfect wind conditions, away from all these humans? If not, the worst case contamination clean up costs for this region run at 4.1 trillion dollars, all of the 2.3 million affected people would have to be moved. This region would be useless for 12,000 generations, 240,000 years. Pu 239 1/2 life = 24,110 years, there's 9.3 lbs on Cassini.
I'm sure you don't want this worst case or for that matter
any release of Pu to happen. A 1 in 345 gamble with the deadliest substance
known is too much, especially when there are a dozen more nuclear missions
scheduled over the next 12 years. Sooner or later there will be a catastrophe.
This catastrophe can not only happen over Florida, but at any time Cassini
is within the orbit of the Earth. Cassini is going to Saturn (but the on
board rockets don't have the thrust) so a maneuver called the gravity assist
swingby (GAS) must be used. This maneuver is accomplished by flying very
close to a planet and using that planets gravitational field to transfer
some of its energy to the spacecraft, which then enables the spacecraft to
increase its velocity tremendously. This GAS maneuver will be used 4 times,
on 8/16/99 Cassini will swingby the Earth at an altitude of only 496.8 miles,
and traveling at 711.666 miles per minute (this leaves as little as 35.56
seconds for a trajectory window before an inadvertent reentery). If something
goes wrong and Cassini inadvertently reenters our atmosphere the extreme
3000 degree plus temperatures will vaporize Cassini and the 72.3 lbs. of
Pu will be released, causing tens of thousands, to tens of millions of premature
deaths, mostly from cancers, over just the next 50 years. What is totally
mad about this is, it doesn't ever have to be, there is a much saner way.
Please postpone Cassini so it can be redesigned using the inherently safe
renewable alternative, a solar fuel cell design to generate the modest 745
watts of electricity needed, instead of gambling with the devils' deadly
Pu. Also, please stop the 21billion dollars that is to be spent over the
next 5 years on the Star Wars program. Stop space from becoming the militaries
new ultimate high ground.
Please, President William Jefferson Clinton - Postpone Cassini For The Inherent Safety Of A Solar Fuel Cell Redesign. Put An End To The Nuclearization, Weaponization And Militarization Of Space.
We the undersigned want Cassini postponed for a safe, solar fuel cell redesign.