Monday, August 6, 2012
By Karl Grossman
The first Mars rover fueled with plutonium landed on the red planet Monday—and there was much cheerleading by mainstream media but no mention of the huge danger the device, which NASA calls Curiosity, has posed to people and other life on Earth before getting to Mars.
Indeed, NASA in its Environmental Impact Statement for Curiosity, said that the chances had been but one-in-220 of deadly plutonium being released “overall” on the mission. If the rocket that had lofted it from Florida last year blew up on launch—and one in 100 rockets destruct on launch—that could have sent plutonium 62 miles away, as far as Orlando, said the EIS. If the rocket failed to break out of Earth’s gravity and take Curiosity on to Mars but, instead, fell back into the Earth’s atmosphere and, with Curiosity, disintegrated as it fell, a broad area of the Earth could have been impacted by plutonium.
Meanwhile, nuclear promoters have been heralding the Curiosity mission saying it points to more use of nuclear power in space. World Nuclear News, the information arm of the World Nuclear Association which seeks to boost the use of atomic energy, last month said:
“A new era of space exploration is dawning through the application of nuclear energy for rovers on Mars and the Moon, power generation at future bases on the surfaces of both and soon for rockets that enable interplanetary travel.” The article was headed: “Nuclear ‘a stepping stone’ to space exploration.”
Posted by Michele Kearney at 10:16 AM