Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The New York Times thinks so, but does anybody else believe it's a hydrazine worry?

February 20th, 2008

Dear Readers,

Bob Nichols, a Project-Censored award-winning writer, called today to say he doesn't buy the Pentagon's story that they are shooting down the errant satellite because of hydrazine. Ed Siegel called to say the same thing: "No way! No way! That's ridiculous!"

Bob's follow-up email included a letter published in Nature in 1973 which was written by some folks from the Atomic Energy Commission, and which presented the results of their tracking the Pu-238 from the 1964 SNAP-9A accident.

Most of the Pu had stayed in the southern hemisphere, where the Plutonium levels had increased sometimes by more than double -- across ALL forms of Pu. Therefore, for many places in the southern hemisphere, such as Brisbane, Australia or Pretoria, South Africa, the single SNAP-9A accident, which released just 2.1 pounds of plutonium at an altitude of about 30 miles, causes more cancers than all the plutonium released from all the atmospheric weapons testing and weapons use in history.

In the northern hemisphere, which is much more polluted from weapons testing, the Pu from the SNAP-9A accident contributed, at that time, about 1% to 2% of the total Pu burden, which was, in total, about five to ten time greater than in the southern hemisphere. After about five years, approximately 5% of the Pu from the SNAP-9A was estimated to still be in the atmosphere. It drops out very slowly.

Today is my younger brother Dan'l's 50th birthday. Like many Americans, Daniel, a former aircraft mechanic and now a high school instructor, is an amateur astronomer / sky watcher. That means he has a telescope, often with a camera attached to it, and knows how to point it at things in the sky.

Today, he can point his telescope at the full lunar eclipse, and at about the same time, he can look for 20,000 pounds of junk crashing to earth at 18,000 miles per hour. The first attempt to shoot it down will be concurrent with the eclipse.

But the junk MIGHT include 25 pounds or more of plutonium. if so, like Caesar's last breath, today's tragedy will invade us all.

I could not stop its launch in 2006, since the CIA / NASA always just say it's all "secret" and won't admit to what might be aboard. And I sure can't stop its falling.

But shooting down this satellite is NOT about the hydrazine, that's for sure. Could it be because of any plutonium on board?

ABSOLUTELY.

No one mentions a word about the possibility of it being plutonium in the mainstream media's articles. But it's unlikely they are shooting this satellite down because of fears the Chinese will get hold of some "eeproms," as commentator "Deek Chainy" puts it in the comments underneath the WIRED article shown below. (It makes a nice cover story, though, I suppose.) Nukes are mentioned a few times in the comments (which I've edited slightly for taste; forgive me if I missed anything ugly), but mostly by woefully ignorant people who apparently think incineration during reentry will destroy the plutonium. It doesn't -- plutonium is an element, and incineration only spreads it around for humans and other living things to breath.

If you try to call the Pentagon to ask them about the possibility of ANY spy satellite, and in particular this one, having plutonium on board, they'll tell you to call NASA about it. Pamela Blockey-O'Brien tried really, really hard to find out -- to get a definitive "NO" from them. First, she called the White House switchboard. "Huh?" they said, and suggested she call the Pentagon. They, of course, denied all ability to answer any questions about it because it was "secret" and suggested she call NASA instead, who, they told her, are actually in charge of space objects like that hunk of junk. A call to NASA produced, of course, the immediate response that she needs to call the Pentagon about that particular birdie, because it's their birdie, and NASA doesn't have anything to say about Pentagon Birdies.

Pamela responded, somewhat annoyed: "THEY TOLD ME TO CALL YOU!!!!"

After much haggling, she was given the Press Office number at the Pentagon, and assured that they would have an answer.

But of course, they didn't, because when she called them, they said: "Are you the press?"

"No" she replied. "Wait, please" they responded. So she waited five or ten minutes, but they finally came back on the line and said, "You're not the press, so we can't talk to you about that satellite." "But I'm going to talk to the press as soon as I hang up with YOU!" she responded.

They chuckled a little, she told me, but wouldn't release any information. This whole thing, which took maybe 20 seconds for you to read and two minutes for me to write, took nearly two hours to accomplish for poor exhausted Pamela, on oxygen to begin with. And only to be told citizens don't have the rights that the "free" press has in America. We do NOT have official "press" credentials in America, though, so the whole excuse for not talking to her is unconstitutional and immoral!

Last year, I sent a Freedom Of Information Act request to various government agencies trying to determine how much of the information about nuclear issues that I've sent them is being stored. The answer is NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING -- except the NRC had a couple of documents I sent to my then-Congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham shortly before he attempted to commit murder / suicide on November 25th, 2005, just prior to his resignation / imprisonment.

NASA officially knows NOTHING of anything I've ever said or written, even after all these long years of opposing their use of nuclear materials in space, both for spy satellites AND for "deep" space probes which are, I contend, merely a cover for the spy program's use of "RTG's."

So please, Dear Readers, spend some time cozying up to this newsletter. Get to know the players, and don't let a little plutonium rain on YOUR birthday party!

STOP NASA / PENTAGON FROM USING NUCLEAR MATERIALS IN SPACE.

Write them, call them, pester them:
(703) 697-5131 (703) 428-0711

I forget which number Pamela said is for which agency. NASA has tried several times to "unsubscribe" from THIS newsletter in the past decade; but I still send it to:

"Steve Garber" <steve.garber@hq.nasa.gov>
<whill@hq.nasa.gov>
<Cassini@jpl.nasa.gov>
"David F. Doody" <david.f.doody@jpl.nasa.gov>
"Leslie J. Deutsch" <leslie.j.deutsch@jpl.nasa.gov>
"Editor, Universe Today" <info@universetoday.com>
"Office of Public Affairs/NRC" <opa@nrc.gov>
"Europa Orbiter comments" <osseuropa@hq.nasa.gov>
"New Horizons Public Comments" <osspluto@hq.nasa.gov>
"NASA comments" <comments@www.hq.nasa.gov>
"Mr. David Lavery" <marsnepa@hq.nasa.gov>
"Dr. George Schmidt NASA HQ OSS, Code S" <rpseis@nasa.gov>
"Mars Nuke Rover Mission Comments" <mep.nepa@hq.nasa.gov>

I don't know how many of these newsletters ever get read by anyone at NASA. I ASSUME ZERO. Please forward this email to your own contacts, AND to any of the above email addresses at NASA. Don't spam them: Add your own commentary, and ask your readers to add THEIR own commentaries. Also, "cc" the NRC:

"NRC" <the.secretary@hq.doe.gov>

Sincerely,

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

===============================================================
From Gordon Sturrock:
===============================================================

At 09:31 AM 2/17/2008 -0800, "Gordon Sturrock" <gs@VeteransAgainstTorture.com> wrote:
>
>Russell, just released this. Feel free to foward or quote.
>Gordon
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Gordon Sturrock
>To: vfp-chaptercontacts
>Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2008 9:28 AM
>Subject: [vfp-chaptercontacts] falling spy satellites and Russian Roulette with humanity
>
>The spy sat that is expected to fall to Earth in March likely has nuke material on board. That's why they want to shoot it down now; spread the radioactivity over a wide area so it is much harder to detect instead of risking a hit on land, or in a city. Ouch, how embarrassing! A low orbit explosion will cause a deadly cloud of debris that will pose a serious risk to other valuable low orbit activities. The "window of opportunity" to shoot it down will either minimize the explosion risk to "friendly" satellites and/or maximize the damage inflicted on "non-friendly" sats. Just a matter of mathematics and sinister intent. Radioactive debris will be thrown high into the wind to spread far and wide, incrementally adding to long term suffering in the way of radiation caused Cancers to all animal life on Earth, probably forever. Unless Murphy's Law kicks in and they fail to destroy the satellite. Gosh, now that would be embarrassing too, wouldn't it?
>That they are "testing" anti-satellite missles is just red herring. When satellites start blowing up in space, space becomes less usable to everyone.
>Gordon
>
>*************************************************************************
>Squadron13 Aviation Museum
>& Flights of Thought on War and Politics - http://www.squadron13.com

>
>founder- Veterans Against Torture
>http://www.VeteransAgainstTorture.com

>
>member: Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace
>
>"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies,
>but the silence of our friends" - Martin Luther King, Jr.
>__._,_.___
>
><*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
>

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vfp-chaptercontacts/

=================================================================
From Conrad Miller:
=================================================================

At 05:53 PM 2/19/2008 -0800, FC Farkle <deeperinthetube@yahoo.com> wrote:

Subject: Re: Another view of why US shooting at the satellite, and think of our horrors w China 4 same

>Yes, will the falling satellite land on our head? Or is it falling into the ocean? Is there something toxic aboard? Or do we want an excuse to test our space weapons when WMD space weapons were outlawed by the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 = a treaty WE originated after the world was horrified by the Soviet Sputnik, the first satellite launched into space in 1957, and the spectre of the Russians/Soviets ruling the world via assistance from space weapons.
>
>Think about it: here is the view [554 words] from Mr. Bruce Gagnon, who knows a lot about weapons in space; I added on an article about how we gawed and quacked re China doing their recent reprehensible anti-satellite blow up....Love, Conrad Miller M.D.
>
>You might want to print this out and read in your easy chair....
>
>***********************************************************************************
>
>SATELLITE SHOOT DOWN NOTHING MORE
>THAN ANTI-SATELLITE TEST
>
>
>For Immediate Release
>
>Contact: Bruce Gagnon 207-443-9502
>
>
>The planned Pentagon shoot down of the wayward U.S. military satellite is nothing more than an opportunity to test new Star Wars anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) technology says the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.
>
>"The Bush administration is magnifying the risk to justify the testing of new dangerous and provocative offensive space warfare technologies," says Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network, which is based in Maine.
>
>"At the time when we need to be constraining space debris-creating ASAT testing, this test will throw open the door to a new arms race in space."
>
>The Strategic Command's (StratCom) high-tech Global Operations Center, buried beneath Offutt AFB in Omaha, Nebraska, will play the lead role in coordinating the ASAT test. StratCom now heads all military space operations since merging with the U.S. Space Command in 2002.
>
>"The decision to destroy the American satellite does not look harmless as they try to claim, especially at a time when the U.S. has been evading negotiations on the limitation of an arms race in outer space," a Russian Defense Ministry statement has concluded.
>
>For many years Russia and China have gone to the United Nations General Assembly with a resolution calling for a treaty to ban all weapons in space. The U.S. and Israel have annually voted against the treaty while every other nation in the world supports such a new legal ban on space weapons. The U.S. aerospace industry says that Star Wars will be the largest industrial project in the history of the planet Earth.
>
>Global Network board member Stacey Fritz, Coordinator of No Nukes North in Alaska where so-called missile defense interceptors have been deployed says, "A culmination of events this month reveals the true direction of space weapons technology. China and Russia have formally proposed a new ban on space weapons on the heels of polls showing widespread public support for such a treaty in both the U.S. and Russia. Not only does the U.S. refuse to consider the ban, but also after denying for years that these systems have offensive capabilities, the rogue Bush administration proposes to demonstrate missile defense's anti-satellite technology. The doors of the Trojan horse are spilling open and the new arms race is on."
>
>Three U.S. Navy Aegis destroyers, outfitted with missile interceptors, will fire at the satellite as it falls back to Earth from positions just off Hawaii. These same Aegis ships are now being home ported by the Navy throughout the Asian-Pacific region giving the U.S. the ability to encircle China's coast. These Aegis ships could give the U.S. the ability to intercept China's twenty nuclear missiles that today are capable of reaching the west coast of the continental U.S. The Pentagon has been war-gaming a U.S. first-strike attack on China, set in 2016, for the past several years. In that attack the Aegis ships would negate China's nuclear retaliatory force by intercepting their missiles in the boost phase.
>
>The Global Network is made up of more than 140-affiliated peace groups around the world working to halt the nuclearization and weaponization of space.
>
>For more information see www.space4peace.org

>
>Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
>PO Box 652
>Brunswick, ME 04011
>(207) 443-9502
>http://www.space4peace.org
>globalnet@mindspring.com
>http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)
>
>*********************************************************************
>
>this article is about 1055 words, re china
>
>January 18, 2007 NYTimes
>China Tests Anti-Satellite Weapon, Unnerving U.S.
>By WILLIAM J. BROAD and DAVID E. SANGER
>
>China successfully carried out its first test of an anti-satellite weapon last week, signaling Beijing's resolve to play a major role in military space activities and bringing expressions of concern from Washington and other capitals, the Bush administration said today.
>
>Only two nations — Russia and the United States — have previously destroyed spacecraft in anti-satellite tests, most recently when Washington did so in the mid 1980s.
>
>"This is the first real escalation in the weaponization of space that we've seen in 20 years," said Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astronomer who tracks rocket launchings and space activity. "It ends a long period of restraint."
>
>The White House said the United States and other nations had "expressed our concern regarding this action to the Chinese." Despite its protest, the Bush administration has long resisted a global treaty banning such tests because it says it needs freedom of action in space.
>
>At a moment that China is modernizing its nuclear weapons, expanding the reach of its navy and sending astronauts into orbit for the first time, the test appears to mark a new sphere of technical and military competition. American officials complained today that China made no public or private announcements about its test, despite repeated requests by American officials for more openness about their actions.
>
>In theory, the test means Beijing can now target American spy satellites, which orbit below an altitude of 500 miles. In its test, China launched a missile that destroyed an aging weather satellite at roughly that altitude. Experts said remnants of the destroyed Chinese satellite could threaten to damage or destroy other satellites for years or even decades to come.
>
>Arms control experts called the test a troubling development that could foreshadow either an anti-satellite arms race or, alternatively, a diplomatic push by Beijing to force the Bush administration into negotiations on a weapons ban.
>
>"It could be a shot across the bow," said Theresa Hitchens, director of the Center for Defense Information, a private group in Washington that tracks military programs. "For several years, the Russians and Chinese have been trying to push a treaty to ban space weapons. The concept of exhibiting a hard-power capability to bring somebody to the negotiating table is a classic cold war technique."
>
>In late August, President Bush authorized a new national space policy that ignored calls for a global prohibition on such tests and asserted the need for American "freedom of action in space." Ms. Hitchens and other critics have accused the Bush administration of conducting secret research on advanced anti-satellite weapons using lasers, which are considered a far speedier and more destructive way of destroying satellites than the cruder weapons of two decades ago.
>
>The White House statement, issued by the National Security Council , said China's "development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area."
>
>An administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of intelligence information, said the Chinese missile launch was detected by the United States in the early evening of Jan. 11, which would have been early morning on Jan. 12 in China. American satellites tracked the launch of the medium-range ballistic missile, and later space radars saw the debris and noted that the old weather satellite had vanished.
>
>The anti-satellite test was first reported late Wednesday on the Web site of Aviation Week and Space Technology, an industry magazine. It said intelligence agencies had yet to "complete confirmation of the test."
>
>The Chinese test, the magazine said, appeared to employ a ground-based interceptor that used the sheer force of impact rather than an exploding warhead to shatter the satellite into a cloud of debris.
>
>Dr. McDowell of Harvard said the satellite is known as Feng Yun, or "wind and cloud." Launched in 1999, it was the third in a series. He said that the satellite was a cube measuring 4.6 feet on a side, and that its solar panels extended some 28 feet. He added that it was due for retirement sometime soon but still appeared to be electronically alive — making it an ideal target.
>
>"If it stops working," he said, "you know you have a successful hit."
>
>David C. Wright, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists , a private group in Cambridge, Mass., said he calculated that the Chinese satellite shattered into 800 fragments 4 inches wide or larger, and millions of smaller pieces.
>
>Jianhua Li, a spokesman at the Chinese embassy in Washington, said he had heard about the anti-satellite report but had no statement or information.
>
>The Soviet Union conducted roughly a dozen anti-satellite tests from 1968 to 1982, Dr. McDowell of Harvard said, adding that the Reagan administration did its experiments in 1985 and 1986.
>
>The Bush administration has conducted laser research that critics say could produce a powerful ground-based laser weapon that would use beams of concentrated light to destroy enemy satellites in orbit.
>
>The largely secret project, parts of which have been made public through Air Force budget documents submitted to Congress last year, appears to be part of a wide-ranging administration effort to develop space weapons, both defensive and offensive. No treaty or law forbids such work.
>
>The administration's laser research is far more ambitious than a previous effort by the Clinton administration nearly a decade ago to develop an anti-satellite laser. It would take advantage of an optical technique that uses sensors, computers and flexible mirrors to counteract the atmospheric turbulence that seems to make stars twinkle. The weapon would essentially reverse that process, shooting focused beams of light upward with great clarity and force.
>
>Michael Krepon, cofounder of the Washington-based Henry L. Stimson Center, a private group that studies national security, called the Chinese test very un-Chinese.
>
>"There's nothing subtle about this," he said. "They've created a huge debris cloud that will last a quarter century or more. It's at a higher elevation than the test we did in 1985, and for that one the last trackable debris took 17 years to clear out."
>
>Mr. Krepon added that the administration has long argued that the world needs no space-weapons treaty because no such arms exist. "It seems," he said, "that argument is no longer operative."
>
>Mark Mazzetti contributed reporting.
>
>http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/18/world/asia/18cnd-china.html?ei=5094&en=1cccc5a239b55188&hp=&ex=1169182800&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print
>


=================================================================
From / To Karl Grossman / Bruce Gagnon / Janette Sherman:
=================================================================


To: "kgrossman" <kgrossman@hamptons.com>
Subject: Re: Urgent (spy satellite)

February 19th, 2008

Hi Karl,

Thanks -- and Bruce is in Mexico, too! What a time to catch the activists for this thing! (I haven't heard from Michio.)

As far as I'm concerned, I live in Paradise, so we don't go anywhere much anymore...

Anyway, you two have fun in the BVI. Going to Jamaica with Sharon was still the best vacation we ever had, and I imagine the BVI feel fairly similarly. The people that live in Jamaica love their paradise island, and like being known as good hosts to visitors. And the "jerk" food there still makes my mouth water. (I hear it's even hotter with plutonium.)

Warmest (stable) regards,

Ace

At 02:12 PM 2/19/2008 -0500, Karl Grossman wrote:
>Dear Russell, Just saw your email. Janet and I are on vacation in the
>idyllic British Virgin Islands -- while this crazy thing apparently
>will happen. We will be back Friday. Best, Karl
>
>---- Original Message ----
>From: rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com
>To: globalnet@mindspring.com
>Subject: Re: Urgent (spy satellite)
>Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2008 10:26:01 -0800

"Global Network" <globalnet@mindspring.com>,
"Dr. Michio Kaku" <mkaku@aol.com>, "Karl Grossman" <kgrossman@hamptons.com>, "Janette Sherman" <toxdoc.js@verizon.net>

-------------------------------------------------------


February 16th, 2008

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for the response (shown below).

I completely agree that it makes sense from their point of view to use this "opportunity" to test their weapons technology, use up a few toys, and, as you say, try to convince the public that they can shoot down enemy missiles (which will come unexpectedly, from unknown directions, and "the war" will be over in 20 minutes or less).

They assume that so-called "low-level" Plutonium-238 dust is virtually harmless (even though Karl Z. Morgan and others explained to them that it isn't, which is why they built the RTG system in the first place). But making that assumption lets them assume that any damaged GPHSs inside the RTGs would just be "destroyed" meaning "rendered harmless." In fact the contents of any RTGs would be spread globally in the most lethal format -- microscopic dust of the ideal size for permanently lodging in humans' lungs!

By exploding the hydrazine and the satellite over the ocean, any RTG dust will be scattered away from most people, out of view. It would be hard to detect without sophisticated monitoring equipment and the where-with-all to fly open-cockpit airplanes at very high altitudes near, and downwind of, the impact zone. For weeks, maybe months. Not easy. But the RTG debris would still have an effect on humans (and other living things) for many generations to come.

It's true that we don't know what's in the satellite or why they're shooting it down, but it smells like cold-blooded murder to me. When they simply pretend that distant deaths don't happen when they pollute, and all the scientific evidence anyone seems to be able to find points the other way, it's murder, plain and simple!

Thanks again for your response, and if anyone learns anything definitive, I hope they will inform me, so that I can inform my readers.

Warmest regards,

Ace


At 10:24 AM 2/16/2008 -0500, "Global Network" <globalnet@mindspring.com> wrote:
>That is the problem, none of us seem to have much certain information.
>
>But in the end I believe they are shooting this down because they want to test ASAT technology and put it in the public's minds that they are developing the space technology to "protect" us from any kind of danger.
>
>Bruce
>
>
>----- Original Message ----- From: "Russell 'Ace' Hoffman" <rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com>
>To: "Janette Sherman" <toxdoc.js@verizon.net>
>Cc: "Dr. Michio Kaku" <mkaku@aol.com>; "Karl Grossman" <kgrossman@hamptons.com>; "Bruce Gagnon" <globalnet@mindspring.com>
>Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2008 1:37 AM
>Subject: Re: Urgent (spy satellite)
>
>
>>February 15th, 2008
>>
>>Hi Janette,
>>
>>It makes very little sense to me, either, this idea about shooting it down over the hydrazine, which they say would survive reentry otherwise.
>>
>>I sent out a newsletter last week but it seems that a lot of people never got it. Unfortunately, I don't have anything much to go on, it's just speculation.
>>
>>Perhaps Kaku or Gagnon or Grossman have something to add -- I'll "cc" them. Pamela Blockey-O'Brien was hoping they'd have something to say about it, too.
>>
>>Yours,
>>
>>Russell "Ace" Hoffman
>>Aiming for the stars in
>>Carlsbad, CA
>>
>>At 08:03 PM 2/15/2008 -0500, Janette Sherman <toxdoc.js@verizon.net> wrote:
>>
>>>This satellite that is to be shot down...
>>>It certainly cannot be because of hydrazine - toxic though it is...
>>>Isn't it more likely becasue of a Plutonium power source?
>>>The press is ignoring the whole thing.
>>>Do you have any data on it?
>>>Thanks,
>>>J
>>>
>>>Janette D. Sherman, M. D.
>>>PO Box 4605
>>>Alexandria, VA 22303
>>><mailto:toxdoc.js@verizon.net>toxdoc.js@verizon.net
>>>www.janettesherman.com
>>
>>
>>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>>
>>Subject: If a million people are killed but nobody knows who to blame, is it still murder?
>>
>>
>>February 8th, 2008
>>
>>Dear Readers,
>>
>>The following essay was sent to Space News last week. In the mid 1990s, Space News published several letters of mine and one Op-Ed regarding Cassini, a "deep" space probe with 72.3 pounds of plutonium on board. Kofi Annan took the opposing, pro-Cassini view on the same page, in a meandering mistake he is surely not proud of. This essay seemed a natural fit, but I haven't heard back.
>>
>>The only change I've made (besides the publication date) from the version I sent Lon Rains (the editor of Space News) is in the first paragraph, which now says "more than a week" instead of "days." I'm shocked --
>>shocked, I tell you! -- that Space News apparently has chosen not to publish it.
>>
>>Sincerely,
>>
>>Ace Hoffman
>>Carlsbad, CA
>>
>>----------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>>If a million people are killed but nobody knows who to blame, is it still murder?
>>
>>By Ace Hoffman February, 2008
>>
>>Before the Ides of March, a bus-sized CIA spy satellite will fall to earth. It's been tumbling uncontrollably for more than a week.
>>
>>The CIA has no idea where it will come down and may not tell us anyway. But they are already cautioning people that the satellite contains hazardous materials.
>>
>>It might contain one or more plutonium RTGs (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators), which are sometimes called RPSs, or Radioactive Power Sources (sometimes the letters stand for slightly different things).
>>
>>NASA uses RTGs for "deep space probes," but this author and others have argued that the focus on deep-space is a fraud -- a COVER for earth-orbiting spy satellites which ALSO use RTGs.
>>
>>Solar panels can be used at least as far out as Saturn. Fuel cell technology could be used even for probes to Pluto. So WHY does NASA have such an overwhelming desire to use an incredibly deadly substance despite widespread public protests, when safe alternatives are available? Is it because, for spy satellites, RTGs offer several advantages?
>>
>>This particular spy satellite was in low earth orbit (which is why it's coming down so soon after they realized it's tumbling uncontrollably, and falling). It only operated for a few years, and was supposed to spend significant amounts of time in earth's shadow, where solar power could not be used directly. Batteries? Fine, for a while. But then they start to weaken from repeated cycles of charging / discharging. This bird was supposed to stay aloft for more than 30 years -- which could add up to nearly 200,000 charge / discharge cycles! If you can get 1,000 cycles out of your phone or computer battery, congratulations.
>>
>>This spy satellite probably had an enormous umbrella-shaped listening antenna (or several) which could be aimed at particular points of interest on the surface of the earth.
>>
>>Since the satellite was NOT 22,600 miles above the equator in stationary ("geosynchronous") orbit, the listening antenna would have to be maneuvered constantly. The antenna, once deployed in space, typically covers an area the size of three football fields. Another, much smaller antenna must be aimed at a ground station (or another satellite) so that the transmissions can be downloaded.
>>
>>Would they really want a bunch of solar panels getting in the way, and only working part of the time, plus the batteries to worry about? Using thermocouples, one RTG produces a constant 750 watts of power.
>>
>>But RTGs contain Pu-238, and the half-life of Pu-238 -- 87.75 years -- is about 275 times SHORTER than the half-life of Pu-239 ("weapons-grade plutonium") -- 24,131 years. This means that for the next few generations, the Pu-238 is about 275 times more carcinogenic than the Pu-239.
>>
>>When people say "plutonium" without specifying the isotope, they almost always mean Pu-239.
>>
>>Pu-239 is often called the "deadliest stuff on earth." It's been calculated that a single pound (some argue that the correct figure is actually "a couple of pounds") of Pu-239, if evenly distributed and deposited in the lungs of every human on earth, would be enough to guarantee that each person would get lung cancer.
>>
>>For those who will be around in 24,000 years, an RTG's nearly 13% (by weight) Pu-239 content is much worse than its Pu-238 content, since half of the Pu-239 would still be around and NONE of the Pu-238 would exist (although some of its radioactive daughter products would probably still exist).
>>
>>But, for the immediate future, dropping ONE RTG (less than 25 pounds of Pu-238) on our heads is the carcinogenic equivalent of dropping more than 6,000 pounds of Pu-239 on our heads.
>>
>>6,000 pounds's worth of Pu-239 would be a very serious health concern! (A typical thermonuclear weapons contains around 10 to 20 pounds of Pu-239, plus several other radioactive materials such as uranium, tritium, etc..)
>>
>>The RTGs are designed to break away from a tumbling space probe (or spy satellite) in the event of an unplanned reentry.
>>
>>Next, the RTG's fins melt. Then the RTG's outer shell melts.
>>
>>By the way, the technical term is "ablation," not "melting." And the technical term for cancer (and other dreadful diseases) is "health effect."
>>
>>Within each RTG there are 18 smaller containers called GPHSs (General Purpose Heat Sources), which each hold two containers the size of your thumb called GISs (Graphite Impact Shells, inside of CDCF (Carbon Bonded Carbon Fiber) sleeves). The GIS holds the plutonium.
>>
>>After the RTG melts away, the GPHS units are released. THEY start to melt. In the IDEAL situation, they slow down enough so the melting stops before all the cladding is stripped away. Then the GPHSs tumble to earth in freefall and hopefully don't smash on a rock or pavement. Even if only the GIS remains, it's not a global disaster (although it can still be a significant local problem).
>>
>>However, according to NASA's own studies, in a typical reentry accident, some of the GPHS units may fail, and ALL OF THEM will fail if the RTG gets hung up in the tumbling satellite for even a SECOND OR TWO longer than "expected."
>>
>>What if a hydrazine explosion during reentry sends debris crashing into the RTG, destroying it and at least some of the GPHSs inside? What if the GPHSs tumble into each other and break apart? Each GPHS contains more than a pound of plutonium.
>>
>>All these scenarios -- and many others -- are mathematically calculated, and then coldly discounted. NASA's engineers guess the odds for thousands of different possibilities, and if they don't like the results of their calculations, they change the basic assumptions and rerun the simulations.
>>
>>But in real life, things don't always go ideally. The plutonium, once dispersed, will be in nano-particle sizes that are PERFECT for lodging PERMANENTLY in your lungs.
>>
>>The vaporized plutonium represents a significant global hazard, and will take weeks and even YEARS to descend to earth -- the first time. Much of it will be resuspended over and over.
>>
>>If the satellite's debris scatters over water, the CIA can say that they are "reasonably certain" that no plutonium escaped. But they won't know, because the way those RTGs and GPHSs and GISs and so forth all work is that IF they disperse their plutonium, it will be at very high altitude and very high speed. A streak of deadly dust will burn across the sky.
>>
>>If the CIA is somehow forced to admit that an accidental release of plutonium MIGHT have occurred, then the CIA would say that ANY Pu-238 which was released will inevitably "fade into background."
>>
>>But ALL radiation is harmful.
>>
>>In 1964, another satellite (SNAP-9A) released 2.1 pounds of Pu-238, and caused strong public outcry. In response, NASA invented the RTG containment system, to fool the public (and many scientists) into believing the problem had been solved, and plutonium was once again safe to use in space. But the RTG "containment system" is seriously flawed, in devious ways.
>>
>>The 1964 SNAP-9A "accident" caused a measurable increase in the amount of plutonium in the northern hemisphere, where most of the debris fell (and where most people live).

[[[ Correction: The SNAP-9A actually fell over the southern hemisphere. -- Ace ]]]

>>Adult males in the northern hemisphere reputedly urinate out about one million atoms of Pu-238 every day because of that ONE accident!
>>
>>That "one million atoms per day" figure has been provided to this author by several different PRO-nukers, and has also been seen in several different public sources over the years. Each pro-nuclear source further claimed this "obviously" was a safe amount since we are not all dead from it!
>>
>>But as a bladder cancer survivor, I wonder if that plutonium was what poisoned my bladder? Will this latest "accident" cause a recurrence?
>>
>>A hundredth of a microgram of Pu-238, or thereabouts, is a deadly dose. It will suffice to give you a horrible experience of hospitals, starving for air, pain, and death. But even a 10,000th of a microgram STILL has a 1% chance of being a deadly dose.
>>
>>Ten or 20 years from now, no one will know if their lung cancer or other ailment, or their deformed child, is because of this satellite, or some other radioactive assault, or something else. For the perpetrator, that's the beauty of this form of murder. They are GUARANTEED to get away with it again and again.
>>
>>This satellite, when it was launched, was premeditated MURDER, and now that it is coming down to earth, those MURDERS are about to be committed, no matter if the perpetrator or the SPECIFIC victims are identifiable or not.
>>
>>Ace Hoffman
>>Carlsbad, CA
>>
>>The author, an award-winning educational software developer, is also webmaster of the STOP CASSINI web site and blogs regularly on nuclear issues. After the Columbia accident on February 1, 2003, the author created an informative animation about RTGs and other radioactive materials in space:
>>http://www.animatedsoftware.com/mx/nasa/columbia/index.swf
>>
>>For more information about the militarization of space, please visit our friends at Global Network:
>>http://www.space4peace.org/
>>
>>Visit the author's STOP CASSINI web site where much of the backup data for this essay is posted (and where this essay will be posted soon):
>>http://www.animatedsoftware.com/cassini/index.htm

=======================================================
From / To: Shannon Rudolph:
=======================================================

February 17th, 2008

Hi Shannon,

Thanks for sending this!!!!

It sure is strange, and I think it's murder (see my letter to Bruce Gagnon, Michio Kaku, Karl Grossman, and Janette Sherman, shown [above]).

Yours,

Ace

-----------------------------------------------------------------


At 09:28 PM 2/16/2008 -1000, "shannon rudolph" <shannonkona@gmail.com> wrote:
>...and still not a word about onboard plutonium?
>
>Experts Scoff at Sat Shoot-Down Rationale (Updated) | Danger Room from Wired.com
>« Rogue Spy Sat, Sketched | Main | Operation Rogue Satellite: The Latest »
>
>
>
>
>Experts Scoff at Sat Shoot-Down Rationale (Updated)
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>By Noah Shachtman February 15, 2008 | 4:34:00 PMCategories: Missiles, Space
>
>The Pentagon says it has to shoot down a malfunctioning spy satellite because of the threat of a toxic gas cloud. Space security experts are calling the rationale highly unlikely. "Having the US government spend millions of dollars to destroy a billion-dollar failure to save zero lives is comedic gold," one tells DANGER ROOM.
>
>Yesterday, Deputy National Security Advisor James Jeffrey said the satellite's tank full of hydrazine rocket propellant was the main reason the military was planning to blast the orbiter. There's a small but real risk that the hydrazine tank could rupture, releasing a "toxic gas" over a "populated area," causing a "risk to human life."
>
>But, as we noted yesterday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright cast the threat from the satellite in much less dire terms. Even if the hydrazine were released, he noted, the effects would likely be mild -- akin to chlorine gas poisoning, which can cause burning in the lungs, and elsewhere. The area affected would be "roughly the size of two football fields [where you might] incur something that would make you go to the doctor."
>
>And that doesn't sound like much of a risk at all.
>
>Especially when you consider that several other hydrazine-filled object have come crashing down to Earth. Not only did the space shuttle Columbia have a similar tank, which survived re-entry, with no toxic gas cloud. Several other hydrazine-laced objects have also crashed into the atmosphere, with no ill effects. Space researcher Ed Kyle notes that there were 42 major reentry objects for 2007, including 9 satellites -- at least one of which contained a form of hydrazine, UMDH (unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine).
>In addition, roughly 8-12 upper stages that originally contained UDMH reentered during 2007. Some of these could very well have contained some residual propellant. [One particular] upper stage probably contained several hundred [kilgograms] of residual propellant, for example.
>Which leads one military satellite observer to tell DANGER ROOM, "Everything they said made sense except for the reason for doing the intercept in the first place."
>
>"The hydrazine tank is a 1-meter sphere containing about 400 liters of hydrazine. The stated hazard area is about 2 hectares, something like 1/10,000,000,000 of the area under the orbit," he adds. The potential for actual harm in unbelievably small. Which means the hydrazine rationale just doesn't hold up, literally not within orders of magnitude."
>
>"The cynic in me says that the idea that this is being done to protect the lives of humans is simply a feel-good cover story tossed to the media," another veteran space security specialist adds. "It is true that hydrazine is very toxic and could result injury or death, but the odds of this happening are minuscule. The average person in American is many thousands of times more likely to be killed in a car accident than by any falling debris. In fact, no one has ever been killed by space debris (I have heard of one or two being struck but only minor injuries). So pretty much everything else you can think of (including getting hit by an asteroid/comet) is many times more likely than dying from this. Having the US government spend millions of dollars to destroy a billion-dollar failure to save zero lives is comedic gold."
>
>"There has to be another reason behind this," said Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center, tells the Washington Post. "In the history of the space age, there has not been a single human being who has been harmed by man-made objects falling from space."
>
>So what could that other reason be?
>
>Our veteran space security specialist believes there are several. To him, the satellite shot is a chance for the military to try out its missile defense capabilities; a way to keep secret material out of the wrong hands; and a warning to the Chinese, after they destroyed a satellite about a year ago. He shared some educated guesses:
>
>My first thought is that MDA [Missile Defense Agency] is always looking for ways to pimp their systems and provide further justification that they work. The upcoming change in Administration is almost guaranteed to result in missile defense losing the top-level advocacy that it has enjoyed for the last several years. Any additional missions and justifications that the missile defense community can provide would increase the likelihood of their systems (and budgetary power) surviving.
>
>An additional reason could be that destroying the satellite would prevent any chance of another nation getting access to any of the potentially sensitive technology on board. However, I have heard from other sources that supposedly the NRO [National Reconnaissance Office - the country's spy satellite shop] is actually against the "shootdown" (and I hate that term - the satellite is not flying and is coming down regardless of whether or not it gets hit by a missile). Their absence at the press briefing could lend some weight to this rumor, although it could also be explained by the nature of the satellite and its still classified link to the NRO.
>
>My real concern is that this is simply a knee-jerk reaction made by the Administration in response to the purported threat by the Chinese. Since the April 2007 ASAT [anti-satellite] test, there have been rumors and whispers going around that the Administration and like-minded individuals are looking for more sticks (instead of carrots) to use against China. While this "shoot down" is not a direct action against China, it would be a clear signal that the US can possess an active ASAT capability at any time if it so desires. That is a serious development as the previous US ASAT system using F-15s was mothballed in the 1980's.
>
>There are many significant political ramifications that would happen as a result of this. The US has been berating the Chinese on their ASAT test but now demonstrate that it is okay as long as it occurs at a low enough altitude to prevent long-lasting debris and can "save lives". This is close to an implied "ok" for the US and other nations to conduct more ASAT tests, which could open another arms race. I am also certain that Russian and China would also see this as a slap in the face as they are trying to revive the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space treaty discussion and ban on space weapons. It would further negatively affect the relations between them and the US. Which could lead to increased tensions, arms buildup, etc etc etc. Nothing good for anyone outside of arms manufacturers and politicians that need a bogeyman to scare people into voting for them.
>
>Oh, and [NASA Adminsitrator Mike] Griffin's presence at the briefing was also an indicator to me that they are trying to spin this as a safety issue and not a missile defense / ASAT test. NASA has absolutely nothing to do with US Strategic Command using a Navy missile to blow up a broken NRO satellite. This is a military/national security op from the start and the only reason you trot the NASA Administrator out is to try and convince people otherwise.
>
>UPDATE: Regardless of the central rationale for the anticipated intercept of a dying satellite, the action almost certainly would offer the Pentagon useful data on conducting antisatellite missions, our own Jeffrey Lewis tells Global Security Newswire.
>The dead U.S. satellite is to be struck at a significantly lower altitude than other space assets. However, that could prove even more of a challenge to the Navy than any future antisatellite operation because spacecraft on lower orbits typically travel at higher speeds, Lewis said.
>The upcoming shot ­ using a sea-based Standard Missile 3 developed for regional and tactical missile defense ­ could thus prove to be a useful test for less demanding intercepts that might someday follow, he said.
>"The higher a satellite is [in space], the slower it moves, more or less," Lewis said. "This is a perfectly good ASAT test."
>...Asked if it would be fair for other nations to regard the Standard Missile 3 as an antisatellite-capable weapon if the upcoming mission is successful, Cartwright said it was "a fair question and a good question."
>However, he said, the Navy has implemented for this action a "one-time" modification to the three ships and missiles, which "would not be transferable to a fleet configuration."
>For their part, "the Chinese are going to use this to excuse their otherwise inexcusable test," Lewis said. "And those other countries who we count on to create a norm against debris-creating ASATs will be less willing to help us" in that effort, he said.
>That said, Lewis added, "maybe they'll buy the hydrazine story."
>
>ALSO:
>Inside America's Satellite-Killing Missile
>Skeptical About the Rogue Spy Sat 'Shot'
>Pentagon Unveils Rogue Spy Sat Shoot-Down Plan
>Pentagon to Shoot Down Rogue Satellite
>U.S. May Shoot Down Errant Satellite
>Falling Spy Sat: Don't Panic
>Spy Satellite Will Plummet to Earth
>How China Loses the Coming Space War (Pt. 1)
>How China Loses the Coming Space War (Pt. 2)
>How China Loses the Coming Space War (Pt. 3)
>Ukraine Big: We Can Spot Your Sats, Control Space
>How to Blow Up a Satellite
>"Autonomous" Mini-Spacecraft Team up to Replace Big Sats
>Video: Double Hit for Missile Interceptors
>Missile Defense's Tight Fit
>Missile Defense: Ready Now, or Ready Never?
>
>
>
>
>
>The issue behind this is the Russian/Chinese UN offer for a treaty against weaponizing space and forbidding ASAT weapons.
>
>That offer was announced on January 25 and officially indroduced on February 12.
>
>Cheney wants to forestall that treaty by this action.
>
>Posted by: b | Feb 15, 2008 10:34:23 AM
>
>"In the history of the space age, there has not been a single human being who has been harmed by man-made objects falling from space."
>
>I see you're trying to make me out as a liar, it may not have killed the person but a satellite or a metoer hit someones car while they were in it. Minor injuries, maybe, but still it shows that it could hit a house, a neighborhood. They most likely have a calculation computer to test where the debris could land, but still. Even then it isn't the fact that you're blowing it up and betting on the odds while endangering lives, it is also the fact that you are doing this for a show show to china that we can do what they can, like back when the russians made it to space first and we decided, "well we can one up them we will go to the moon!".
>
>So it really depends, I guess it just adds fuel to my fire, they would rather bet on our lives and continue on with their little meaningless projects for national propoganda, then be rational. You could put a rocket on a clumb of steel and smash it into it for all I care, the fact that we wasted money on it at all angers me.
>
>Hindsight: You could have repaired a bridge before it fell down, instead you launched a purposely built failure of a satellite to blow it up for national propoganda, Good for you, heres a pickle.
>
>Posted by: SJ | Feb 15, 2008 10:55:00 AM
>
>How would a cloud of hydrazine propellent interact with the ozone layer? Wouldn't it be ironic if the 'safest' thing to do would be to allow the intact fuel tank to penetrate the atmosphere all the way to the ground.
>
>Posted by: Tom | Feb 15, 2008 10:59:33 AM
>
>Its nuclear fueled.
>or,
>Its really some type of advanced system we will never admit to having up there.
>also,
>It could just be that with china shooting down a sat, we just cant be comfortable not being sure we do the job well our selves...
>
>I personally lean towards the first and second scenario ;)
>
>Posted by: John Freeman | Feb 15, 2008 11:04:36 AM
>
>It's covered with that black sh*t that made Peter Parker go nuts in SPIDERMAN 3.
>
>I mean, we don't want to see that happen again.
>
>Hasn't Petey been through enough?
>
>Posted by: demophilus | Feb 15, 2008 11:16:59 AM
>
>Michael Griffin was there to talk about the risk of orbital debris to the ISS and other satellites on orbit.
>
>Any other rants worth posting today?
>
>Posted by: Me | Feb 15, 2008 11:27:11 AM
>
>@SJ: Yes let's not explore space in
>the fear we may one-up someone. Ranting on blogs in some vain attempt at superiority of course is completely acceptable. Get lost troll...
>
>Posted by: Philopoemen | Feb 15, 2008 11:37:27 AM
>
>There is a more important message here,
>Iran, get it into orbit and USA can still shoot it down,
>with what USA has on hand now,
>from a ship at sea,
>any where in the world.
> From over the horizon to space to over the horizon.
>
>Gerald
>
>Posted by: Gerald anthro | Feb 15, 2008 12:22:35 PM
>
>I think the reason to do it is to send a message to the Chinese that we can do it. They downed a satellite in recent memory and sent the world and the US a message.
>
>Posted by: kevin | Feb 15, 2008 12:27:27 PM
>
>They want a *really easy* test for their missile defense system, one that it can actually pass (satellites are much more predictable than real missiles).
>
>BTW, this one is solar-powered. They use nukes to power the ones that will be going way far out.
>
>Posted by: P J Evans | Feb 15, 2008 12:51:07 PM
>
>Send up Gordon Freeman! He'll take care of it!
>
>Posted by: Clavis | Feb 15, 2008 1:06:01 PM
>
>What are the odds that a botched "shoot- down" will wind up *causing* casualties?
>
>Posted by: synykyl | Feb 15, 2008 1:06:30 PM
>
>probably zero
>
>Posted by: www.actionforspace.com | Feb 15, 2008 1:13:12 PM
>
>I think the real issue here is that it is an American "Spy" satellite. I'm not sure they know exactly where it is going to crash as of yet, but once it does, they want to make sure it's in such small pieces as no one with intelligence can gain from it.
>
>Posted by: Larry Anderson | Feb 15, 2008 1:18:11 PM
>
>I have two theories.
>
>The first is to prove that the US is capable of destroying orbiting satellites (in response to China's successful attempt, and the recent space weapons treaty).
>
>The second is a little far-fetched, but all things considered... very likely.
>
>The satellite could potentially be a weapons platform itself. We have seen many different experimental weapons (after they have been selected for declassification, of course) which were ahead of their time. If there is one thing the US is capable of, it is developing lavish ways to kill their enemies.
>
>Posted by: anklemite | Feb 15, 2008 1:26:10 PM
>
>Punctuation is, something that you can, put anywhere. If you aren't, sure if it should go somewhere. Just put it anyway and, people will figure it out.
>
>I couldn't make it past the paragraph about the Columbia before I gave up; if felt like the article was transcribed from someone who had just run up 8 flights of stairs.
>
>Posted by: Sitten | Feb 15, 2008 1:30:01 PM
>
>There is no way this is a chance to show off.
>
>This action is much harder than anything SM-3 has done before and I bet the people who work on it are scrambling to try and make sure it works. Note the lack of confidence DOD has in whether the shot will even succeed. If they were trying to demonstrate the sweetness of the system, why would they do it by having SM-3 redesigned to do something it has never done before -- in such a short timeframe? You wouldn't.
>
>Posted by: Horowitzm | Feb 15, 2008 1:36:28 PM
>
>anyone else get the feeling that this is going to go really wrongly and GEORGE BUSH is going to use it as an excuse to use the NATIONAL SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE NO. 51 to CANCEL OUR 2008 ELECTIONS?
>
>read it, you fools.
>
>Posted by: attention-payer | Feb 15, 2008 2:07:52 PM
>
>He said pimp. Billary should be calling soon.
>
>Posted by: | Feb 15, 2008 2:16:58 PM
>
>I think that Pentagon spokesman greatly underestimated the toxicity of hydrazine. The probability of it hitting anywhere it could cause harm is still low but the harm if it occurred would be high.
>
>Besides being a contact poison hydrazine is also mutagenic and tetragenic.
>
>Cranky
>
>Posted by: Cranky Observer | Feb 15, 2008 2:24:59 PM
>
>What would Al Gore do?
>
>Posted by: Cranky Ovary | Feb 15, 2008 2:41:13 PM
>
>You know what would be sweet?
>
>If they missed.
>
>THAT would be comedic gold!
>
>Posted by: Hemlock for Gadflies | Feb 15, 2008 2:45:08 PM
>
>Ill agree that its more likly then not that its something the Gov't dosent want someone else to see how it works. As well that this is a good time to see if are SDI I mean missle systems work.. CAUSE yea they just stoped working on SDI.. As for this is BUSH taking over the US person is funny.. DUDE go out sometime and get in the real world. What ever your little voices in your head tell you its Prolly 10times worse just get over it. Im betting water boarding (and comon thats not tourture thats a frat stunt) is the least offensive tourture we have.. MMMMM Give me a drill and an auger bit and they will talk.
>
>Posted by: m3kt3k | Feb 15, 2008 2:47:13 PM
>
>ok ok,hydrazine is not the true reason. The sat has some sensitive device wich is not know where could fall; millions of dollars to destroy a billion-dollar failure to save zero lives. Does it matter? How many millions have been spent in very less real situations and nobody had nothing to argue.
>
>Posted by: ramjet | Feb 15, 2008 3:00:25 PM
>
>I'm not sure what Al Gore would do, but imagine what Brian Boitano?
>
>"...When Brian Boitano travelled through time
>To the year 3010,
>He fought the evil robot king
>And saved the human race again..."
>
>Seriously there must be a chance of missing, or hitting on a bad angle, or the missile malfunctioning, weather at lower altitudes plays a part too.
>
>Personally the amount of hydrazine is insignificant, the impact would be minimal, none if they broke during the hotter portions of re-entry. In lower levels hydrazines according to CDC break up in normal atmospheric conditions quickly.
>
>"-Hydrazines easily evaporate to the air, where they are broken down by reactions within minutes or hours.
>
>- Hydrazines can also dissolve in water, where they usually break down into less toxic compounds within a few weeks."
>
>These aren't chemicals you want to breathe however as they are carcigens you can find more info at this link
>http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts100.html
>
>No its a smoke screen, Dubya must just either want to protect some of the technology or perhaps not look stupid for criticizing the Chinese earlier.
>
>Posted by: sundance | Feb 15, 2008 3:13:56 PM
>
>"China would also see this as a slap in the face as they are trying to revive the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space treaty discussion and ban on space weapons. It would further negatively affect the relations between them and the US." That quote was comedic gold right there. China would see it as a slap in the face? They did the same thing, except that their debris will be up there for thousands of years. What right do they have to get offended?
>
>Posted by: random | Feb 15, 2008 3:14:07 PM
>
>How many of you same jackasses would scream bloody murder if the Government OK'd "a tiny bit" of this gas to land within 10 miles of you? Wake up fools, sometimes the conspiracies you fear, you created yourselves.
>
>Posted by: VRWC | Feb 15, 2008 3:16:56 PM
>
>That satellite was launched in 2006 with top secret imaging equipment. Anyone consider the fact that we don't want the technology contained in that satellite to be exposed to foreign governments?
>
>Posted by: Casey | Feb 15, 2008 3:21:30 PM
>
>Why don't we let the Chinese shoot it down? We outsource everything else to them since they can do it cheaper.
>
>Posted by: lcs | Feb 15, 2008 3:36:04 PM
>
>Still think we should have collected the important stuff from this thing in a space walk...
>
>Once the space walk was complete we could have shot it, and anything else we wanted, down...
>
>Posted by: silly me | Feb 15, 2008 3:38:49 PM
>
>The Chinese have shot one of their own satellites out of orbit proving they could also take out any of ours.
>I think it would be wise for us to show the rest of the world that we are capable of doing the same, considering the dependence on satellites that all countries have.
>
>Posted by: OxyCon | Feb 15, 2008 3:46:12 PM
>
>If that kind of tech was available to me, I would have been shootin s...t out of the sky a long time ago - just for the hell of it! Woohoo, skeeter, git er' done! Kaboom!
>
>Posted by: Puke breath | Feb 15, 2008 3:49:17 PM
>
>"probably zero"
>
>I don't know about that. I worked for a defense contractor for 7 years. Shit happens, and it's not always reported accurately. Just ask an Israeli about the "success" of the Patriot anti-missiles in the first Gulf War.
>
>Posted by: synykyl | Feb 15, 2008 5:49:21 PM
>
>noah, cartwright actually said exposure means a hospital visit at best and worse if you stay in the area.
>still for all the critics, the proof will be in the pudding after the satellite is targetted.
>http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=4145
>
>
>Q As far as the actual dangers of hydrazine, can you help us understand, if you were to inhale it, how quickly would damage begin to happen, such that you needed hospitalization? And how quickly would damage happen such that you could be at risk of dying?
>
>GEN. CARTWRIGHT: Very difficult in that it implies that you know what the concentration is, but you could find yourself very close. In a high-concentration area, as an example, you're still talking about minutes that you'd have to recognize a situation, remove yourself and have enough time to move away from the situation, if you really knew what you were dealing with. The worst scenario is that you have a person who either is not mobile or does not, for whatever reason, sense that they're in danger, and therefore doesn't take any action. But those variables are very difficult to put minutes or time to.
>
>But we do believe that if you're in this area, and we're talking roughly two football fields, on a standard day with a certain amount of wind -- I mean, all of these are calculations that will change with every place on the earth -- that you're at risk to an extent that you'll have recognized that you're in trouble. You'll start to walk to where you feel like you're better off, and you'll still need to see a doctor. And that's as close, and if you stay and you're not ambulatory for whatever reason, and you stay in a concentrated area, you could eventually get yourself to a point where death would follow.
>
>Q Short of death, what would be the other health risks you could have that could happen with short exposure?
>
>GEN. CARTWRIGHT: Burning sensations, damage to tissue in the lungs.
>
>Posted by: randy | Feb 15, 2008 6:50:19 PM
>
>Funny, for orbits I thought slower meant lower. To move to a higher orbit, a body has to increase it's speed.
>
>Was Mr. Lewis referring to degrees of arc rather than mph?
>
>Posted by: Brillig | Feb 15, 2008 6:59:43 PM
>
>One of the big complaints by NASA and others after the Chinese destroyed that satellite was that the Chinese had created a huge space hazard - turning a one piece satellite into a cloud of over 5000 tiny pieces hurtling around the earth at hypersonic speeds. It seems that a US strike on a satellite, if successful (and like others above I'm aware that it might not be) would lead to a similar problem - endangering existing satellites and future astronauts. Is anyone hearing about this as a potential issue? I wonder what NASA has to say about this course of action.
>
>Posted by: Tyrone Slothrop | Feb 15, 2008 7:34:37 PM
>
>Responses to comments above:
>
>1) Decision is attributed to Bush, not Cheney. Cartwright and military not necessarily enthusiastic; Jeffrey for NSC steely determined.
>
>2) The hydrazine is not a threat to the ozone layer.
>
>3) No nukes on board.
>
>4) This does send a message that the US can shoot something down in space, although Gen. Cartwright claimed there was "no need to revisit that data point" which we regularly revisit anyway (US leads world in disguised antisatellite weapons tests).
>
>5) The satellite is not a weapons platform. It was an experimental reconnaissance bird. This is not controversial.
>
>6) Reentry will so fry and scramble the innards of the bird that Cartwright can plausibly claim the remains will be of no significant intelligence value with or without the intercept. This isn't being done to protect exotic technology or hide secrets.
>
>7) It is a chance to show off, although I'm not sure MDA or the military sought the chance to show off. They think they have a good chance of hitting the thing, based on how well they "understand the missile, understand how it works and its chances of performance."
>
>8) For orbits, slower means faster, although Jeffrey Lewis's comment on this was silly. The speed of the intercept in this test is not significantly faster due to the low altitude. Rather, the low altitude is a limitation of the SM-3 missile as an ASAT weapon in its current configuration as a TMD interceptor. If the missile were outfitted with a somewhat larger booster, it could become a general-purpose LEO ASAT once proved in this role, as well as an ABM.
>
>9) The intercept will not generate significant persistent orbital debris.
>
>Posted by: Mark Gubrud | Feb 15, 2008 8:52:26 PM
>
>@ mark gubdrud
>
>"8) For orbits, slower means faster..."
>
>Wow, this orbital mechanics really messes with my head.
>
>Posted by: luke | Feb 15, 2008 11:50:55 PM
>
>We could outsource the bid to China. Isn't that the status memorendai of Us ingenuity. Since the chinese spy recently convicted days ago is accused of stealing the Mark IV missle technology, we know China has the technology to outsurce the bid. Or we could allways call Halliburton back...
>
>Posted by: Max Anderson | Feb 16, 2008 12:27:02 AM
>
>"They want a *really easy* test for their missile defense system, one that it can actually pass (satellites are much more predictable than real missiles)."
>
>The USN has alreay had two successful tests of the SM3. I read that they will have three ships available for the shoot down.
>
>They will be attacjing the satellite after it starts reentry.
>
>Posted by: davod | Feb 16, 2008 2:10:41 AM
>
>Shooting "down" the satellite for 400 literes of hydrazine sounds a bit as an overreaction to me.
>
>As far as I'm informed an F-16 Fighting Falcon carries 150 litres og hydrazine as fuel for the emergency power unit.
>
>With the above rationale we should shoot down all F-16's immediately.
>
>Posted by: Kim | Feb 16, 2008 5:03:04 AM
>
>"8) For orbits, slower means faster..."
>
>Right. If you slow a satellite down, its altitude drops, which speeds it up. And vice versa. If you speed a satellite up, its alitude rises, which slows it down.
>
>Lewis is right that lower means faster, but it's not significantly faster. All low earth orbits are about the same speed (90 minutes per revolution) since the differences in altitude are small compared with the radius of the earth.
>
>Posted by: treetop | Feb 16, 2008 5:37:25 AM
>
>attention-payer wrote:"anyone else get the feeling that this is going to go really wrongly and GEORGE BUSH is going to use it as an excuse to use the NATIONAL SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE NO. 51 to CANCEL OUR 2008 ELECTIONS?
>
>read it, you fools.:
>.
>.
>You should really consider a visit to your local psychiatric facility... Because, y'know, bugs might *not* actually be crawling all over you.
>-Kle.
>
>Posted by: Klebert L. Hall | Feb 16, 2008 9:13:18 AM
>
>USA Spy satelite--it sure didn't do FK-all good in the 911 attacks. Israel had India send their Satelite into space last week. What fink rats. We give them $billions each year and can't repay us.I guess they know better--our rockets are mostly duds.
>By the way--why does these two crazy nations need spy stuff ? They liad about Saddam's WMD and the photos were crap.
>
>Posted by: Jingles | Feb 16, 2008 9:18:29 AM
>
>I bet there is a nuclear warhead (or more) on board. Those Military Morons never thought anything could go wrong with a NASA project. ROTFLOL
>
>Posted by: William | Feb 16, 2008 9:45:48 AM
>
>The reason given is a fraud.
>
>The true reason is that the Chinese have already demonstrated their ability to destroy a satellite in orbit last year. Since their success, none of the Neocons nor their loyal lapdogs in miltary leadership positions have been able to maintain erections. Their mistresses have been leaving them in droves.
>
>Posted by: Shared Humanity | Feb 16, 2008 9:53:37 AM
>
>I don't buy the "for political reasons" crap. Our president and his advisors aren't on the ball enough to come up with a plan like that. They probably just ignored it when they got the briefing about the satellite, just like they ignored a bunch of other briefings.
>
>I think this was a DoD decision based on something on the actual satellite that they don't want to risk surviving the crash.
>
>Posted by: DR | Feb 16, 2008 10:16:43 AM
>
>THEY ARE GOING TO MISS.
>PURPOSELY.
>thats my prediction.
>
>The actual war is a psywar on us, the American People. I think theyll miss and use the failure to further undermine our confidence in our govt and military.
>
>We are being unhinged from the things we rely on purposely. We are being prepped.
>
>The enemy is INSIDE THE GATES.
>
>Posted by: ralphie | Feb 16, 2008 10:18:08 AM
>
>Im an American,and would never think about living anywhere else. However,actions like these make hate this country. I guess it's a love hate relationship.
>
>Posted by: Luis | Feb 16, 2008 10:26:22 AM
>
>There is likely an RTG on board, or maybe more. I hope shooting it doesn't release even more hazardous materials. This sounds a lot like Polyus, the Soviet item that inspired the movie Space Cowboys.
>
>Posted by: abc def | Feb 16, 2008 10:33:38 AM
>
>My pet theory is that by timing the missle's closing on the satellite with the satellite's high friction reentry they will make it *appear* as if they shot the thing down, thus enhancing the perception that a missle defense shield is viable and therefore fundable.
>
>Posted by: hoi polloi | Feb 16, 2008 10:43:24 AM
>
>The entire "War on Terra" has been a psyops against the American people. He turned his satellites inward toward our homes and started fussing about "domestic terrists" the second he was able to get away with it. These things were well planned months before 9/11.
>
>We've had the Red Scare, the Cold War, the Yellow Menace, Killer Bees, the War on Terror. All manufactured. Now it's the Global Warming hoax to freak us into turning our sovereignty over to the government. Something tells me THAT won't work either as scientists finally grow the balls to scream "it's the SUN, stupid!"
>
>So what's next on their agenda to give us somthing to be "askeered" of? UFOs and aliens. Now stop laughing, I'm serious! Have you paid attention to the news and cable TV programming lately? We're being prepped for that too. Kissinger always said an outside threat, real or manufactured such as an alien attack, would scare us into turning over or freedoms to the "elites" (and beg for nuclear space weapons, I presume). And Reagan wanted an alien attack happen so baaaaaaad . . . Of course they're crazy, but we already knew that.
>
>The satellite: NUKES. "SDI" never ended, and according to a retired NASA scientist on the project its purpose was ALWAYS offensive, i.e., for asymmetrical first-strikes.My prediction is that someday we will thank the Chinese for what they did.
>
>Posted by: HPS | Feb 16, 2008 10:50:20 AM
>
>Why don't you just send Nancy Pelosi up there by shuttle. If she can fit all of congress into her whitherd' old cunt hole, she can easily stuff a little satellite in there and bring it back down safe and sound.
>
>Posted by: Mike Hunt | Feb 16, 2008 10:52:59 AM
>
>This is in response to the Chinese provocation. Nothing more, nothing less.
>All the other hype is to quell public reaction and provide plausible alternative explanations.
>The Chinese will get the message and so will all the other countries of this world. This act says If you can do it we can do it better. We still rule the skies. No one is better than us at this game.
>The possible threat of chemical or nuclear fall out from this satellite is so small it is not worth the expense of shooting it down.
>The consideration of secret weapons or tech which could survive a reentry is also highly unlikely.
>Anything reentering from orbit will reach temperatures witch will vaporize even the hardest metals we have and we can't expect delicate optical and electronic devices to fare any better. Still the components may maintain some mass integrity and core components may survive well enough to be recovered.
>So I say take the shot we can't go wrong by doing so.
>
>Posted by: Vern Gambino | Feb 16, 2008 11:43:14 AM
>
>America wants to believe it rules things. China can appear anywhere in the ocean in it's subs and sink your f...... a.... f....rs into the bottom of the sea's. Iraqi citizens have more guts and honor fighting your low life , lying dirt bags, than you could ever think possible.
>Soon America will be put on trial for crimes of war and grand theft.
>
>
>What's so funny about it, is that it's Actually Jewish lawyers who are climbing over one another making the calls to Iraqi victims. F... you American's are stupid m..........f..........!! F....... u.
>
>Posted by: Iron Fist | Feb 16, 2008 11:57:16 AM
>
>Uh, how about Plutonium? As in, one atom causes cancer.
>
>Can't say for sure, but the Hydrazine story is obviously bogus.
>
>Posted by: anon | Feb 16, 2008 12:04:26 PM
>
>This sure takes my mind off of us (USA) getting our collective a$$es handed to us in Iraq and Afghanistan! NOT!
>
>Posted by: Ho Chi MiniMe | Feb 16, 2008 12:11:52 PM
>
>Of course its the hydrazine!
>
>Posted by: Steve Selverston | Feb 16, 2008 1:31:17 PM
>
>Ain't it gonna be kinda embarrassing when they miss?
>
>Posted by: Bill from Dover | Feb 16, 2008 1:50:13 PM
>
>Seems the only thing America is good at now is shooting down things. Killing it's own in schools and slaughtering children in the Mid-East, [the ones who aren't Christian or Jews or making them money selling opium]. Watch-out, China..word to the wise. When America is done and it's mwrket is shut down, the only thing it's gonna have left to buy and sell is war, when the whore has no more use for you.. keep your eye's open for that knife coming down on your back.
>
>Posted by: Radar Rider | Feb 16, 2008 2:08:00 PM
>
>By the way, any thinking person's already figured out america is using the satellite shootdown as a way to test it's equipment and scare people. She is getting angrwy and stamping her feets 'cause when it comes to wars she always gets her ass kicked. Only thing she's got is nukes. Korea / Vietnam / and the rest and even Canada fought her -off six times.
>
>Posted by: Radar Rider | Feb 16, 2008 2:26:39 PM
>
>Mostly likely the reason is to prevent recovery of technology--especially if it IS a spy satelite. Examination of the debris could reveal capabilities and limitations of any number of onboard systems. The U.S. has gathered a considerable amount of information from recovered soviet-satelite debris. And is there anyone who does not remember the poignant video of the recovery of one astronauts' helmet--nearly intact, though certainly not designed to survive such torment--following the Columbia disaster?
>
>The hydrazine thing is just plain silly.
>
>Posted by: Talion | Feb 16, 2008 4:28:20 PM
>
>the truth is that a modern day prophet saw the future and it came down and struck a power plant and many
>people died...........
>
>Posted by: rick hansen | Feb 16, 2008 5:19:24 PM
>
>About the only plausable explanation for wanting to destroy the satellite is it contains hardcopy of the White House tapes, along with compromising photos of officials in various acts with sheep and llamas.
>I hear they are scared, and to make darn sure they get the job done, they are using a Chinese missle.
>
>Posted by: Deek Chainy | Feb 16, 2008 5:39:20 PM
>
>God, this is so simple.
>Forget Hydrazine. It this thing landed in downtown Manhattan, and killed 3,000 people, everyone in the NSA would be doing high fives. I mean, come on, look at the cost vs. the risk. You can not justify it on that basis.
>The truth is that this sat was launched in 2006. Any technological intelligence an adversarial country could develop from the debris would be priceless. It has the potential to turn an entire future generation of spysats into junk. Imagine this thing coming down in China, and letting them read the EPROMS. Good God. Of course they are going to try to shred it into pieces that would not survive reentry.
>Why is this not obvious to all of you?
>
>Posted by: speedy | Feb 16, 2008 6:59:19 PM
>
>
>The shoot down is to destroy the plutonium that's powering the thing. The "toxic gas" is just a cover story.
>
>Posted by: Ted R. | Feb 16, 2008 8:45:07 PM
>
>Conspiracy theory #666 :
>On board is an interstellar beam-me-up-scotty drive, finally reverse engineered from the 1947 Roswell crash remains. It didn't work but they still need to prevent it getting into non-US hands. If it had worked, and beamed lotsa biblebelt religious fundamentalists up into orbit, it would have been propagandised as Dubyas Ru/apture ;-)
>
>Posted by: Fu Kyu | Feb 16, 2008 10:08:29 PM
>
>Should we really be worried about the Chinese response or the potential harm to the already deflated Peaceful Uses of Outer Space diplomacy? Did the Chinese worry about either of these issues when they created a huge orbital debris cloud following the impact from firing their offensive land based weapon at a satellite, just for target practice?
>
>The "Space Security Expert" sited in the blog obviously would not find too much humor if a partially intact Hydrazine tank found it's mark in a populated area. There were a couple of 'hot' spots during the Columbia recovery, where hydrazine had pooled in low lying areas (due to its high density). In addition, some recovered hardware was 'positive' when tested, thus prompting the issuance of a warning to the locals in E. Texas to avoid any contact with debris.
>
>I am sure the "expert" is familiar with a risk assessment, and the hydrazine issue would likely be scored as 'unlikely' for probability of occurrence, but 'severe' in consequence. Would the "expert" then be willing to take a stand in a briefing room, and hand wave the potential risk as good comedy?
>
>As for the compromise of potential classified material, this NRO bird is probably not that sensitive. But, let's say (for the sake of good comedy) that it has some really cool Zeiss optics that cannot be compromised. If the potential exists for safe upper stratospheric removal of the satellite by seaborne missile launch, why not exercise that option? Oh, wait. I forgot. We cannot upset the Chinese.
>
>Mr. Griffin's presence was absolutely necessary in that briefing. We have a Shuttle on orbit, and this missile launch is being postponed until the Orbiter has landed back at KSC. Mr Griffin is a stakeholder in this entire matter.
>
>For perspective: The only time that China or Russia are interested in treaties are when they need believe we have an advantage that they want to remove. They are not rushing to the table to re-engage the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space discussion. That is somewhat telling.
>
>I am sure they are aware of our seaborne, space borne and land based space defense capabilities and progress. Especially since the Clinton administration mothballed SDI while Russia and China accelerated their research during our period of inactivity.
>
>Perhaps a successful missile shot downing of this satellite is a milestone that will bring about some form of trilateral diplomatic discussion. And if it is initiated by China, then we have a good idea were we stand.
>
>Posted by: Dan | Feb 16, 2008 10:52:41 PM
>© 2008 CondéNet, Inc. All rights reserved.
>Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy


*************************************************
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** Russell "Ace" Hoffman, Owner & Chief Programmer
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Friday, February 8, 2008

If a million people are killed but nobody knows who to blame, is it still murder?

February 8th, 2008

Dear Readers,

The following essay was sent to Space News last week. In the mid 1990s, Space News published several letters of mine and one Op-Ed regarding Cassini, a "deep" space probe with 72.3 pounds of plutonium on board. Kofi Annan took the opposing, pro-Cassini view on the same page, in a meandering mistake he is surely not proud of. This essay seemed a natural fit, but I haven't heard back.

The only change I've made (besides the publication date) from the version I sent Lon Rains (the editor of Space News) is in the first paragraph, which now says "more than a week" instead of "days." I'm shocked -- shocked, I tell you! -- that Space News apparently has chosen not to publish it.

Sincerely,

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

----------------------------------------------------------------------

If a million people are killed but nobody knows who to blame, is it still murder?

By Ace Hoffman February, 2008

Before the Ides of March, a bus-sized CIA spy satellite will fall to earth. It's been tumbling uncontrollably for more than a week.

The CIA has no idea where it will come down and may not tell us anyway. But they are already cautioning people that the satellite contains hazardous materials.

It might contain one or more plutonium RTGs (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators), which are sometimes called RPSs, or Radioactive Power Sources (sometimes the letters stand for slightly different things).

NASA uses RTGs for "deep space probes," but this author and others have argued that the focus on deep-space is a fraud -- a COVER for earth-orbiting spy satellites which ALSO use RTGs.

Solar panels can be used at least as far out as Saturn. Fuel cell technology could be used even for probes to Pluto. So WHY does NASA have such an overwhelming desire to use an incredibly deadly substance despite widespread public protests, when safe alternatives are available? Is it because, for spy satellites, RTGs offer several advantages?

This particular spy satellite was in low earth orbit (which is why it's coming down so soon after they realized it's tumbling uncontrollably, and falling). It only operated for a few years, and was supposed to spend significant amounts of time in earth's shadow, where solar power could not be used directly. Batteries? Fine, for a while. But then they start to weaken from repeated cycles of charging / discharging. This bird was supposed to stay aloft for more than 30 years -- which could add up to nearly 200,000 charge / discharge cycles! If you can get 1,000 cycles out of your phone or computer battery, congratulations.

This spy satellite probably had an enormous umbrella-shaped listening antenna (or several) which could be aimed at particular points of interest on the surface of the earth.

Since the satellite was NOT 22,600 miles above the equator in stationary ("geosynchronous") orbit, the listening antenna would have to be maneuvered constantly. The antenna, once deployed in space, typically covers an area the size of three football fields. Another, much smaller antenna must be aimed at a ground station (or another satellite) so that the transmissions can be downloaded.

Would they really want a bunch of solar panels getting in the way, and only working part of the time, plus the batteries to worry about? Using thermocouples, one RTG produces a constant 750 watts of power.

But RTGs contain Pu-238, and the half-life of Pu-238 -- 87.75 years -- is about 275 times SHORTER than the half-life of Pu-239 ("weapons-grade plutonium") -- 24,131 years. This means that for the next few generations, the Pu-238 is about 275 times more carcinogenic than the Pu-239.

When people say "plutonium" without specifying the isotope, they almost always mean Pu-239.

Pu-239 is often called the "deadliest stuff on earth." It's been calculated that a single pound (some argue that the correct figure is actually "a couple of pounds") of Pu-239, if evenly distributed and deposited in the lungs of every human on earth, would be enough to guarantee that each person would get lung cancer.

For those who will be around in 24,000 years, an RTG's nearly 13% (by weight) Pu-239 content is much worse than its Pu-238 content, since half of the Pu-239 would still be around and NONE of the Pu-238 would exist (although some of its radioactive daughter products would probably still exist).

But, for the immediate future, dropping ONE RTG (less than 25 pounds of Pu-238) on our heads is the carcinogenic equivalent of dropping more than 6,000 pounds of Pu-239 on our heads.

6,000 pounds's worth of Pu-239 would be a very serious health concern! (A typical thermonuclear weapons contains around 10 to 20 pounds of Pu-239, plus several other radioactive materials such as uranium, tritium, etc..)

The RTGs are designed to break away from a tumbling space probe (or spy satellite) in the event of an unplanned reentry.

Next, the RTG's fins melt. Then the RTG's outer shell melts.

By the way, the technical term is "ablation," not "melting." And the technical term for cancer (and other dreadful diseases) is "health effect."

Within each RTG there are 18 smaller containers called GPHSs (General Purpose Heat Sources), which each hold two containers the size of your thumb called GISs (Graphite Impact Shells, inside of CDCF (Carbon Bonded Carbon Fiber) sleeves). The GIS holds the plutonium.

After the RTG melts away, the GPHS units are released. THEY start to melt. In the IDEAL situation, they slow down enough so the melting stops before all the cladding is stripped away. Then the GPHSs tumble to earth in freefall and hopefully don't smash on a rock or pavement. Even if only the GIS remains, it's not a global disaster (although it can still be a significant local problem).

However, according to NASA's own studies, in a typical reentry accident, some of the GPHS units may fail, and ALL OF THEM will fail if the RTG gets hung up in the tumbling satellite for even a SECOND OR TWO longer than "expected."

What if a hydrazine explosion during reentry sends debris crashing into the RTG, destroying it and at least some of the GPHSs inside? What if the GPHSs tumble into each other and break apart? Each GPHS contains more than a pound of plutonium.

All these scenarios -- and many others -- are mathematically calculated, and then coldly discounted. NASA's engineers guess the odds for thousands of different possibilities, and if they don't like the results of their calculations, they change the basic assumptions and rerun the simulations.

But in real life, things don't always go ideally. The plutonium, once dispersed, will be in nano-particle sizes that are PERFECT for lodging PERMANENTLY in your lungs.

The vaporized plutonium represents a significant global hazard, and will take weeks and even YEARS to descend to earth -- the first time. Much of it will be resuspended over and over.

If the satellite's debris scatters over water, the CIA can say that they are "reasonably certain" that no plutonium escaped. But they won't know, because the way those RTGs and GPHSs and GISs and so forth all work is that IF they disperse their plutonium, it will be at very high altitude and very high speed. A streak of deadly dust will burn across the sky.

If the CIA is somehow forced to admit that an accidental release of plutonium MIGHT have occurred, then the CIA would say that ANY Pu-238 which was released will inevitably "fade into background."

But ALL radiation is harmful.

In 1964, another satellite (SNAP-9A) released 2.1 pounds of Pu-238, and caused strong public outcry. In response, NASA invented the RTG containment system, to fool the public (and many scientists) into believing the problem had been solved, and plutonium was once again safe to use in space. But the RTG "containment system" is seriously flawed, in devious ways.

The 1964 SNAP-9A "accident" caused a measurable increase in the amount of plutonium in the northern hemisphere, where most of the debris fell (and where most people live). Adult males in the northern hemisphere reputedly urinate out about one million atoms of Pu-238 every day because of that ONE accident!

That "one million atoms per day" figure has been provided to this author by several different PRO-nukers, and has also been seen in several different public sources over the years. Each pro-nuclear source further claimed this "obviously" was a safe amount since we are not all dead from it!

But as a bladder cancer survivor, I wonder if that plutonium was what poisoned my bladder? Will this latest "accident" cause a recurrence?

A hundredth of a microgram of Pu-238, or thereabouts, is a deadly dose. It will suffice to give you a horrible experience of hospitals, starving for air, pain, and death. But even a 10,000th of a microgram STILL has a 1% chance of being a deadly dose.

Ten or 20 years from now, no one will know if their lung cancer or other ailment, or their deformed child, is because of this satellite, or some other radioactive assault, or something else. For the perpetrator, that's the beauty of this form of murder. They are GUARANTEED to get away with it again and again.

This satellite, when it was launched, was premeditated MURDER, and now that it is coming down to earth, those MURDERS are about to be committed, no matter if the perpetrator or the SPECIFIC victims are identifiable or not.

Ace Hoffman
Carlsbad, CA

The author, an award-winning educational software developer, is also webmaster of the STOP CASSINI web site and blogs regularly on nuclear issues. After the Columbia accident on February 1, 2003, the author created an informative animation about RTGs and other radioactive materials in space:
http://www.animatedsoftware.com/mx/nasa/columbia/index.swf

For more information about the militarization of space, please visit our friends at Global Network:
http://www.space4peace.org/

Visit the author's STOP CASSINI web site where much of the backup data for this essay is posted (and where this essay will be posted soon):
http://www.animatedsoftware.com/cassini/index.htm

*************************************************
** THE ANIMATED SOFTWARE COMPANY
** Russell "Ace" Hoffman, Owner & Chief Programmer
** P.O. Box 1936, Carlsbad CA 92018-1936
** (800) 551-2726 (U.S. & Canada)
** (760) 720-7261 (elsewhere)
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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Re: Please Help Save San Mateo Creek and Trestles

February 6th, 2008

Dear Readers,

Right now there is a rally going on locally to "Save San Mateo Creek and Trestles." A new highway is being proposed and the California Coastal Commission is about to make a crucial decision.

But there's no chance to stop CA Route 241 -- it can't be done. I've written about it a couple of times before, but now that it's just about a sure thing, the surfers are finally getting involved! But it's too late!

Below is a short essay I wrote more than two years ago on the subject. Look at a map and see where it goes (Yucca Mountain) and what it avoids (HOLLYWOOD!!) The entire nuclear industry doesn't want that waste going anywhere near Hollywood, lest the actors get involved in stopping it. That wouldn't just stop 241, it would have ramifications around the world. So 241 is an absolute, unquestionable, sure thing -- nothing can stop it!

Yours,

Ace

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Could California's proposed Route 241 be a nuke-waste highway?

January 22nd, 2006

by Russell "Ace" Hoffman

The real purpose of California's proposed Route 241 is to provide a way to move nuclear "spent fuel" from San Onofre to Yucca Mountain in Nevada, without bringing the waste too near Los Angeles. The city's vast population has undoubtedly been coldly analyzed by government-operated computer programs, which would indicate a grave danger from transporting the waste so near such a large number of people.

And Hollywood activists must not be agitated into action -- that is another reason to keep the waste route away from Los Angeles.

Over 2,000 tons of highly radioactive "spent fuel" sits precariously at San Onofre. The fuel is so deadly it must be isolated from humanity for millions of years. If you stand next to it for a fraction of a second it will kill you, except for the thick steel and concrete around it, which lowers the dosage levels near the massive containers to the range of a chest x-ray every so-many minutes -- still a significant dose.

Moving the backlog of radioactive waste is a nightmare requiring hundreds of individual shipments. Each shipment will need armed guard vehicles front and back, and enormous special transporters with nearly a hundred wheels and a dozen axles. There will be significant radiation exposure risks to the public all along the route even without an accident. And of course, all this needs to be done without any public announcements as to when it will happen or what is being transported.

Presumably, if all goes according to plan, most of the extremely deadly nuclear waste currently stored at San Onofre will be moved during the first few years after the road is completed. Making Route 241 a "toll road" is truly audacious, but it might be done just to keep traffic as light as possible for as long as possible, and to keep housing construction along the route to a minimum while they transfer the current nuke-waste inventory, built-up from more than 35 years of storing used reactor cores on-site near the ocean.

Would they really build an entire highway just to move that waste?

You bet they would -- they are doing it all over the country, not just here. But the ultimate kick in the pants for Southern California is that they are building Route 241 through some of our few remaining parks and farm areas, at private contractor's expense, and then having users of the road (other than government) pay for it all, at very profitable rates for everybody involved in the building. Ingenious!

Citizens should know that by supporting Route 241, they are choosing, once again, to support San Onofre Nuclear WASTE Generating Station. As usual, support for the old atomic power plant is hidden in some other agenda, but that's still the real choice that is being made here.

It's long past time to shut San Onofre and get realistic about renewable energy.

Russell "Ace" Hoffman
Concerned Citizen
Carlsbad, CA

At 01:45 PM 1/30/2008 -0800, Brian S. wrote:
>Haven't they paved over enough of our natural lands in the name of $...?
>Don't we have enough concrete structures?
>Can we get back this land after it's gone?
>Which view below do you want your grandchildren to enjoy?
>Please forward this to all your friends to help stop this travesty. Thank you.
>
>San Mateo Creek area prior to HWY 241:
>
>[sorry, picture not available]
>
>…and after the devastation:
>
> [sorry, picture not available]
>
>Please help stop the destructionà http://www.savetrestles.com/ ß visit and let your view be known
>

--------------------------------------------------------------------


*************************************************
** THE ANIMATED SOFTWARE COMPANY
** Russell "Ace" Hoffman, Owner & Chief Programmer
** P.O. Box 1936, Carlsbad CA 92018-1936
** (800) 551-2726 (U.S. & Canada)
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