Cassini No-Fly-By Action Invitation, New York, June 24, 1998
NGO COMMITTEES ON DISARMAMENT SPONSOR PRESS CONFERENCE AT THE U.N. IN
SUPPORT OF THE 1967 (PEACEFUL USE OF) OUTER SPACE TREATY
NEW YORK CITY - You are invited to attend a Press Conference at the United Nations from 11:00 A.M. to noon Wednesday, June 24, 1998. This Conference
is in support of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and is being held one year
before the Cassini space probe is scheduled to swingby Venus for a final
gravity-assist maneuver to accelerate toward Earth. The Cassini Earth flyby
is scheduled for August 18, 1999. A record-speed Earth flyby is expected to
accelerate the probe to reach Saturn in 2004. Cassini is controversial due
to its carrying a record-load of dangerous plutonium on board, 72.3 pounds.
According to NASA's Environmental Impact Statement, "..approximately 5
billion of the estimated 7 to 8 billion world population at the time of the
swingbys could receive 99 percent or more of the radiation exposure," in the
event of an accident during the flyby.
The Press Conference is being organized by The Women's International
League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) NY Metro, NoFlyby Action Site, Florida
Coalition for Peace and Justice, Nonviolent Web, Proposition One - Peace
Through Reason, Grandmothers for Peace International. Hundreds of other
organizations and individuals have endorsed the following Statement for the
6/24 UN Press Conference. Many of these groups have also endorsed the
Abolition 2000 Statement, which calls for International Negotiations in the
year 2000 to abolish nuclear weapons. A rally is scheduled after the UN
Press Conference at the Isaiah Wall, which is opposite the UN.
Speakers of the 6/24 UN "NoFlyby" Press Conference include Karl
Grossman and Michio Kaku. Karl Grossman is an award-winning video
documentary producer and author of the WRONG STUFF: The Space Program's
Nuclear Threat to Life. Michio Kaku is a Professor of Theoretical Physics,
City University of New York, Co-author of "To Win a Nuclear War," a leading
authority on Einstein's Unified Field Theory and is the co-founder of string
field theory. Tina Bell of WILPF NY Metro will moderate the Conference.
Tina Bell -- Tel: 212-533-2125 Fax: 212-228-6193
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (NY Metro)
339 Lafayette St, New York, NY 11215
Jonathan Haber - Tel: 978-544-7862 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
NoFlyby Action Site http://www.nonviolence.org/noflyby
"Sign-on for 6/24/98 UN Cassini NoFlyby Press Conference"
We, the undersigned, support the objectives of abolishing
technologies and weapons that threaten the mass destruction of life. In
WE BELIEVE that the scheduled August 18, 1999 Cassini space probe's
record-speed and record-plutonium flyby of Earth poses unnecessary risk to
life and should be abandoned.
WE BELIEVE that NASA and the nuclear industry underplay the harmful
impact of radiation exposure.
Space programs have already released destructive amounts of plutonium
radiation into our atmosphere by nine documented accidents. The Cassini
space probe is carrying Plutonium-238 on board. Even if it had merely been
upgraded to today's plutonium powerpack yield rates, it could have used 5
times less plutonium. This shows how little NASA is concerned with the
amount of plutonium they use.
On June 23, 1997, Dr. Gerhard Strobl stated on German national
television that his company, Angewandte Solarenergie, has developed new
high-efficiency solar cells for the European Space Agency (ESA) which could
be ready within a few years to power deep space missions such as the Cassini
mission. Other solar options have been identified by NASA's own scientists
and engineers, as long ago as 1985, well before the Cassini mission was
designed. Why doesn't NASA devote the time and effort to develop solar
technologies for the mission?
WE BELIEVE NASA is motivated not by beneficial science for humanity, but
by a desire for military funding. Using nuclear power on scientific missions
where alternative technologies exist can only be explained by a desire to
get the public used to using nuclear power in space, which is a critical
step in their plans toward the militarization of space. This policy
jeopardizes the health of everybody on Earth.
The June 1995 NASA Environmental Impact Statement reports, "In the
unlikely event that a VVEJA or VEEGA inadvertent reentry occurred,
approximately 5 billion of the estimated 7 to 8 billion world population at
the time of the swingbys could receive 99 percent or more of the radiation
A Cassini flyby accident could DOUBLE the current man-made radiation
activity in our atmosphere. There is a debate among scientists about how
much damage this would cause. NASA claims that only "2,300 health effects
could occur over a 50-year period." Dr. Ernest Sternglass, professor
emeritus of radiological physics at the University of Pittsburgh School of
Medicine said that they underestimated the cancer alone by thousands of
times and there are new studies showing low-levels of radioactivity are
disproportionately more damaging than high levels. In light of reason such
a dangerous and uncertain mission is ludicrously irresponsible. NASA
recently disclosed that 13 additional plutonium-fueled space shots are
possible in coming years. So even if Cassini avoids an accident, NASA plans
to continue to put humanity and life at risk.
We BELIEVE that it is time to change the destructive path of the Nuclear
Military Complex, which continues to poison our Earth in the pursuit of its
hellish profits. We believe it is wrong, in every aspect, to tax people to
fund their projects, which are a total disregard for the sacredness and
health of all life, and for science, the scientific method and our
democratic free choice and right not to be threatened.
NASA plans to direct the Cassini space probe around Venus toward
Earth on June 24, 1999. We have time and the responsibility to question
the safety of flybys and launches carrying dangerous amounts of plutonium on
board. It is time to say NO! to the heralding of another destructive atomic
age before we enter a new millennium. We call upon our national officials,
religious leaders, and each individual to question NASA's "right" to
Make August 18 an International Day of Awareness to stop the
advancement of all Plutonium technologies and weapons.
We call for Congressional Hearings to review the risks of the
Cassini Earth flyby.
". . . While we have much to learn through the exploration of space, in
this instance the grave potential danger posed by the plutonium on the probe
would seem to outweigh the potential benefit from this mission. It is too
important to squander the public's trust on such a risky mission. A NASA
that all Americans can support instills hope for the future, not fear of
tragedy..." (This quote is from a letter to President Clinton before the
Cassini launch by 15 members of Congress, dated September 26, 1997.)
Signees: (original signees and group drafting the statement):
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (Metro, NY)
Martin Kelly - The Nonviolent Web
Ellen Thomas - Proposition One Committee
Bruce Gagnon - Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space (Globenet)
Brian Keaney - Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice
Regina Hagen - "Stoppt Cassini" Campaign
Grandmothers for Peace International
Joe McIntire - Action Site to Stop Cassini Earth Flyby
A Complete List of Endorsers are posted at: http://www.nonviolence.org/noflyby/ref/sign624.htm
PLEASE sign-on by writing to email@example.com
or NoFlyby, P.O. Box 1999, Wendell Depot, MA 01380
For more information check out the NoFlyby Action Site
Report on Conference -- 1997 Cassini launch