1 July 2011
Next Plutonium Space Launch Set
By Bruce Gagnon
plutonium enabled space mission, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), is
scheduled to be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida between November 25 and
December 18 of this year. The MSL rover, known as "Curiosity," will be fueled
with 4.8 kilograms (10.56 pounds) of plutonium dioxide. It will be, NASA says,
"the largest, most capable rover ever sent to another planet."
Fifty years ago this week, on June 29, 1961, an electrical generator driven by
nuclear energy was launched into space for the first time.
NASA sadly appears committed to maintaining their dangerous alliance with the
nuclear industry. Both entities view space as a new market for the deadly
Back in 1997 we organized an international campaign against NASA and the
Department of Energy's launch of 72 pounds of plutonium on the Cassini
mission. A man by the name of Alan Kohn volunteered to help us with that
campaign. Alan had been the Emergency Preparedness Officer at NASA during the
Galileo (1989) and Ulysses (1990) plutonium launches at the space center in
By the time Cassini was to be launched Alan had retired from NASA and felt
free to speak out. He told the New York Times, just prior to the
launch, that NASA had no plan to contain and clean-up after an accident on or
near the launch pad that released plutonium into the environment. He said the
operating plan he had worked with during the two previous nuclear launches was
a joke and was only intended to serve as a reassurance to the public. Alan
told us that a long-time family friend, working in the White House, had
informed him that more people contacted Washington opposing Cassini than any
other issue in U.S. history.
While NASA maintains that they are "searching for the origins of life" on
Mars, in reality they are mapping the red planet and doing soil sampling which
is all intended to serve the ultimate goal of establishing a nuclear powered
mining colony there in the future. The Haliburton Corporation, known for their
connections to the Bush-Cheney administration and fraud in Iraq, has been
working on a drilling mechanism for Mars exploration for some time.
The taxpayers are being asked once again to pay for nuclear missions that
could endanger the life of all the people on the planet. As we saw in
Louisianhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifa, following the Hurricane Katrina
debacle, the federal government is not prepared to do disaster relief and
clean-up. A plutonium release over Florida could devastate a 60-mile radius -
from the space center to Disney World.
It would only take one pound of plutonium-238 released as dust in the
atmosphere to give everyone on the Earth a lethal dose of the toxic fuel. Have
we not learned anything from Chernobyl and Fukushima? We don't need to be
launching nukes into space. It's not a gamble we can afford to take.
You can send NASA a message opposing the plutonium Mars rover mission using