The big problems Russia is now having with a space probe it launched this week to go to a moon of Mars underscores the dangers of the planned launch in coming weeks of a NASA mission involving a plutonium-fueled rover that is supposed to go to Mars.
NASA intends to launch the plutonium-powered rover on what it has named its Mars Science Laboratory Mission from Florida during a window from November 25 to December 15.
NASA, in its Final Environmental Impact Statement for the mission, addresses the possibility of an accident similar to what the Phobos-Grunt is facing—a crash back Earth from orbit of the Curiosity rover in what NASA designates as “Phase 4” of the launch.
The rover would fall to Earth in “from minutes to years,” says the EIS, with the plutonium “affecting Earth surfaces” along a wide belt around the middle of the Earth.
Opponents of the launch in Florida have created a Facebook page warning people not to visit Disney theme parks in Orlando during the launch window. “Don’t Do Disney brought to you by NASA,” the Facebook page is titled. There’s an online petition to The White House to stop the launch at: https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/cancel-launch-mars-rover-curiosity-nasa-which-powered-dangerous-plutonium-238/8HzzWHk9
For more on this story, visit: The Coming Crash of Phobos-Grunt » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.