NASA: Launch accident poses little danger, Florida Today, Nov. 12, 2011:
[...] the Nov. 25 launch of the Mars Science Laboratory Rover, “Curiosity,” also packs an element of danger associated with its potent powering mechanism, plutonium.
NASA officials place the odds of an accident resulting in the release of radioactive plutonium at 1 in 420. [...]
But it’s a risk, nonetheless, that has warranted exhaustive analysis by scientists and prompted emergency response preparations going back years within a 63-mile radius of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. [...]
“Do you worry over a dental X-ray?” Fear not, said Bob Lay, director of the Brevard County Emergency Operations Center. [...] An explosion of the Atlas V within the first 8 seconds would pose the greatest risk. [...]
The launch is the day after Thanksgiving. School is out, so school lockdowns or other school-specific safety plans won’t have to be in effect if a launch mishap occurs. [...]
Published: November 13th, 2011 at 11:25 am ET