SpaceViews: Cassini

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Cassini/RTG Sites

SpaceViews has collected below a set of sites that are both in favor of and against the use of RTGs on the Cassini mission. Listing of sites do not necessarily imply endorsements of these sites or their viewpoints. If you know of additional Cassini sites to be added to this list, please e-mail SpaceViews editor Jeff Foust at

Pro-Cassini Sites

NSS cyberSPACE News: Cassini
Information about Cassini, backgrounders and tips for pro-Cassini activists, links to news stories other Web sites.
Cassini Mission Controversy Escalates
by the Planetary Society. Call for pro-Cassini members of the public to call and e-mail the White house to express their support for the mission.
Cassini Nuclear Safety Issues
by JPL. Information about RTGs, including answers to many frequently asked questions about RTGs and any possible threat they pose.
Cassini RTG Information
by Atomic Energy Insights, a publication of Adams Atomic Engines, Inc.
from Uranium Information Centre Ltd, Australia. Basic information on uranium. "...plutonium is far from being 'the most toxic substance on earth' or so hazardous that 'a speck can kill'. On both counts there are substances in daily use that, per unit of mass, have equal or greater chemical toxicity (arsenic, cyanide, caffeine) and radiotoxicity (smoke detectors)."
The Myth of Plutonium Toxicity
by Dr. Bernard Cohen of the Univ. of Pittsburgh. Attacks the belief that plutonium is the "most toxic substance known to man." "I offered to eat as much plutonium as he [Ralph Nader] would eat of caffeine..."
A Perspective on the Dangers of Plutonium
A paper by 6 scientists at Lawrence Livermore which analyzes the threats airborne or waterborne plutonium could have on people
How Deadly is Plutonium?
by Atomic Energy Insights (see above.) Cites study where 26 people received "lethal" doses of plutonium during the Manhattan Project; by 1987 only four had died, and only one of cancer.
Dr. Caldicott and the truth about plutonium
by Ilya Taytslin. Article against the "factual errors, exaggerations, and high-strung emotional appeals" used by anti-Cassini activists.
Letter from Rep. Dave Weldon
a letter from a member of Congress announcing his support for the Cassini mission. Online version of the letter provided by NASA Watch.
Return of the Anti-Nuke Crowd
An editorial in the Sept. 14, 1997, edition of the New York Post. "...the alternative to launching Cassini is the effective abandonment of unmanned space exploration."
A reasonable risk in space
An editorial in the Sept. 15, 1997 edition of the Boston Globe.
Anti-nuke activists threaten Saturn mission
Editorial in the Sept. 16, 1997 edition of USA Today.
Defend Cassini!
by Avery Davis and the Atlanta chapter of the NSS. Information for pro-Cassini activists and links to pro- and anti-Cassini Web sites.
Nukes in Space: Activists Fret About Radioactive Power, But Cassini Can't Explore Saturn Without It
article from the Sept. 22, 1997 issue of Time magazine
Cassini Plutonium for the technically minded
An analysis of how dangerous (or not dangerous at all) the plutonium in Cassini's RTGs is, by Cassini scientist Jeff Cuzzi
Support the Cassini Mission to Saturn
by Walter Eric Kurtz III. Information on how activists can support the Cassini mission, including contact information for the President and members of Congress.
Information about Cassini's RTGs
by George Lewycky. Description of Cassini's RTGs and how they are safe to fly.
Rebuttal to Mass. House Anti-Cassini Resolution
a rebuttal to a resolution passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives calling for the postponment of the launch of Cassini.
How Much Radiation from Cassni?
calculations which show even the worst-case accident involving Cassini's RTGs would result in almost no radiation exposure for people.
Anti-nuke scaremongers are at it again!
Information on the misleading claims by anti-Cassini activists. By Joseph Cain.
Cassini launch endangered: Write President Clinton
Web site asking pro-Cassini supporters to contact the White House
Hot Topics: Cassini
Information about the mission and its power source, by the Planetary Society
Cassini project is work taking calculated risks
Editorial by Robert Steinback in the October 10, 1997 issue of the Miami Herald favoring the launch of Cassini

Anti-Cassini Sites

"Stop the Cassini Mission"
by the Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice. Information with their concerns about the mission, demonstration plans, etc.
Stop Cassini Home Page
Newsletters about anti-Cassini efforts, background papers, related information by Russell Hoffman and others.
German translation of some of the information in the above site
Risking the World: Nuclear Proliferation in Space
article on Cassini and its supposed link to nuclear proliferation by Karl Grossman.
Space Probe Explodes, Plutonium Missing
Article on Mars 96 and Cassini by Karl Grossman.
Information with a strong anti-Cassini, anti-NASA bent, with information for anti-Cassini activists on what they can do. (Note: this site uses many multimedia elements which may cause problems on some computer systems. An alternative site is
Plutonium Russian Roulette
Basic information and links.
Top Ten Censored Stories of 1996: Cassini
Based on Karl Grossman's articles (see above).
Stoppt Cassini (in German)
Cassini Fact Sheet
Cassini information with a decided anti-Cassini, anti-RTG slant
Stop the Cassini Probe.
by the New York Green Party. Basic info and an online petition.
Mission not worth risks
Opinion piece by Karl Grossman in the Sept. 16, 1997 issue of USA Today
CPSR Joins Call to Postponse Cassini Mission
Press release by the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, claiming the risk of a software "glitch" imperils the Cassini mission
NASA Underestimated Risks of Cassini Accident
by Michio Kaku. A scientific critique of the accident risks of the Cassini mission by the author, a professor of theoretical physics at City University of New York.
Rocket's Dread Glare
by Mark Anderson. An article for the Valley Advacate newspaper decrying the use to RTG's and NASA's "nuclear addiction."
Massachusetts House of Representatives Cassini Resolution
A resolution passed by the legislative body September 11 calling for the postponment of the launch of Cassini until a "safer power source" can be supplied. Also see the rebuttal to this prepared by some pro-Cassini activists.
Free Fax to Cancel the Cassini Mission
Offer to send a free fax to NASA Administrator Dan Goldin asking him to cancel the Cassini mission. Also includes Cassini facts and links to other sites
The Cassini Debate
by Jane Wardlow Prettyman. "Should Cassni's plutonium power source go back to the drawing board?" Articles and links.
New Frontier News Briefs
short article about purported dangers of Cassini's RTGs from New Frontier magazine, "The Magazine of Transformation"
Cassini: NASA Discovers a Cure for Life
article by Kevin J. Kalupson claiming NASA is showing "a high degree of carelessness, a lack of consciousness, and blatant disrespect" by launching Cassini
Cassini Count Down
Finnish political cartoon about Cassini. In Finnish and English.
NASA Says Not to Worry About It
Summary of claims that the RTGs on Cassini could fail and distribute plutonium
Greenpeace International opposes Cassini launch
Press release from the environmental action group announcing their opposition to the Cassini launch

Neutral Cassini Sites

Cassini: Debating the Risks
by Florida Today Space Online. Articles, images, sounds and movies related to the upcoming Cassini launch and the RTG controversy.
NASA's million to one shot
by Rob Edwards of New Scientist magazine. Unbiased look at the danger (or lack thereof) the RTGs on Cassini pose.
Yahoo! - Cassini Space Launch
links to Web sites and articles about Cassini
The Cassini RTG Debate: "Nukes in Space"
by George Herbert. A discussion of the arguments against the launch of Cassini, with links to Web sites on both sides of the issue.
As Saturn Launch Nears, Bay Area Opposition Builds
article by San Francisco Chronicle science editor David Perlman, from the Sept. 17, 1997 issue.
FAS Space Policy Project: Cassini
Information on the Cassini mission from the Federation of American Scientists.
NASA, Energy scientists explain plutonium-powered craft to mayor
article from the Sept. 24, 1997 issue of the Baltimore Sun.
Politics has major role in debate over Cassini launch
article in the Sept. 23, 1997 issue of the San Jose Mercury News by Glennda Chui
ATSDR - Public Health Statement: Plutonium
Information on plutonium from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the Centers for Disease Control
Brevard school officials finalize Cassini plan
Story from Oct. 2 issue of Florida Today about plans in the event of a Cassini launch accident.
Cassini's Plutonium Debated
Story from, dated Sept. 29, about Cassini demonstrations in Washington, D.C.
Nuclear space shot plan decried
Story on anti-Cassini demonstration in San Francisco, from the Sept. 29 issue of the San Francisco Examiner.
Both sides ready for Cassini protest
Story about plans for protests October 4 outside Cape Canaveral, from the Oct. 3 issue of Florida Today.
"5-4-3-2-1 Liftoff" transcript
Transcript from a segment of "60 Minutes" October 5 show about Cassini
New drives debate on NASA launch
Article on pro- and anti-Cassini Web sites and online information, from c|net's
Cassini Controversy
A look at the controversy surrounding Cassini from Leslie Weiss of Mother Jones magazine
What Goes Up Does Come Down
An article on the failures of RTGs and Soviet nuclear reactors by Suzanne Herel of Mother Jones magazine
Grossman addresses UMass on the dangers of Cassini; says NASA launch of space probe could sling back
article about a talk at the Univ. of Massachusetts Amberst by Karl Grossman in the October 10, 1997 issue of the The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, by Jason Eiseman
Wrangling over Cassini's risks
MSNBC article about the Cassini RTG controversy
Much ado about Cassini's plutonium
CNN Interacive article on mission by John Zarella, dated October 10, 1997
Saturn probe poised for launch article about mission, including interactive graphic (compare to older SpaceViews graphic!) dated October 10.
Cassini draws criticism article about RTG controversy, dated October 10.
The Saturn Spacecraft article on the Cassini spacecraft itself, dated October 10
Nuclear-powered craft fuels controversy
USA Today article about spacecraft and RTG controversy, dated October 9.
Rings of controversy surround Saturn trek
Article about Cassini RTG controversy by David Chandler that appeared in the October 11, 1997 issue of the Boston Globe.
Discovery Online -- Cassini: Sailing to Saturn
information about the Cassini mission provided by Discovery Channel Online
Final countdown to Cassini liftoff is on
CNN Interactive story on launch preparations dated October 12, 1997.
Toxic rocket fuel, not plutonium, has meteorologists worried
CNN Interactive story on weather concerns about dated October 12, 1997
Journey to Saturn: The Cassini Mission
CNN Interactive special section on Cassini, including background information and links
Cassini launch postponed
CNN Interactive story on Cassini launch delay, dated October 13, 1997
NASA Says Probe is Safe article on safety of Cassini, dated October 13, 1997
Snags delay Cassini launch
MSNBC news article on Cassini launch delay, dated Octoner 13, 1997
NASA forced to postpone Cassini launch
USA Today online article about Cassini launch delay, dated October 13, 1997
Going for the rings
Article about the Cassini mission by David Chandler which appeared in the October 13, 1997 issue of the Boston Globe.

Misc Cassini Sites

Cassini: Voyage to Saturn
Official JPL Web site
Cassini message board
Discussion area provided by CNN Interactive

Last Update: 1997 October 13

Articles * Science * Journey * RTG Debate

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