NASA: Odds of plutonium release over Florida is 1 in 420 for upcoming Mars Rover launch — Explosion in first 8 seconds poses greatest risk

Published: November 13th, 2011 at 11:25 am ET


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


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20 comments to NASA: Odds of plutonium release over Florida is 1 in 420 for upcoming Mars Rover launch — Explosion in first 8 seconds poses greatest risk

  • arclight arclight

    this odds of hitting deer in Utah: 1 in 400
    5700 drivers hit deer in utah.. report goes on to say that it is still statistically low 🙁

  • Sickputer

    They base those odds on the number of spaceflights and the explosions and losses of liftoff and possibly add dome figures in for re-entry since we have lost some that way most notably the shuttle Columbia February 1, 2003.

    So about once every 400 manned (no longer any more planned by America) or unmanned launches, that space craft will fail on liftoff. Far better odds than winning the Powerball, but a risk the nuclear cabal is always willing to take. They release more plutonium than that on a weekly if not daily basis from nuclear refueling (especially with MOX use rising). And with Fukushima…what can we say…it has gifted the world with 1700 pounds of pure plutonium particles that keep on giving their special effects for the next million years.

  • Jebus Jebus

    New space station crew to launch into orbit tonight
    Liftoff is first manned flight of the Soyuz rocket since booster suffered failure in August

    Three spaceflyers will launch to the International Space Station tonight (Nov. 13), to begin a months-long mission to the orbiting outpost.

    NASA astronaut Dan Burbank and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin are slated to launch aboard a Russian-built Soyuz rocket tonight at 11:14 p.m. ET (0415 GMT Nov. 14) from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

    Tonight’s liftoff will be the first manned flight of the Soyuz rocket since the Russian-built booster suffered a failure in August. It will also be the first trio of station crewmembers to launch to the complex since NASA grounded its fleet of space shuttles in July after 30 years of service.

    On Aug. 24, a Soyuz rocket carrying a robotic cargo freighter suffered a crippling malfunction minutes after launch. The booster and Progress 44 cargo ship crashed in Siberia, and the 2.9 tons of supplies onboard were lost….

  • Grampybone Grampybone

    “IAEA and NASA trying to blow up a plutonium bomb in high atmosphere?” Now that would be a headline worth reading. Considering the method of covering up the current 6 reactor crisis detonating a nuke in the high atmosphere would scientifically prove the radiation did not come from Fukushima it came from the mini plutonium bomb detonated in flight. Or they just want to leave pieces of rads on Mars.

  • sworldpeas

    1-420 sounds pretty good… but then again this IS the same NASA that said the radiation in Europe was from a space nebula.

    so I’m thinking more like 50-50

  • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

    The people, of the U.S. at the very least (least likely to do ANYTHING, yes, I know), should immediately scuttle this and all other future launches that involve Plutonium, or any other radiologic or toxic anything! What the hell are we doing a) generating Plutonium–as if humans could handle that in a routine way–we absolutely cannot and must not or b) placing Plutonium in quantities great enough to kill all humans next to a packet of very explosive rocket fuel with such a high degree of probability of accident??? Makes no sense. The odds of getting cancer for a man in their lifetime is 1 in 3 and for a women is 1 in 2 (to worsen after Fukushima); so these odds of 1:409 are better compared to that lifetime risk, not event risk (one instant in time of several minutes for the Plutonium containing Mars Rover launch rocket)… But the odds are much greater than being in a car accident (1:84 lifetime risk<<

  • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

    (1:84 lifetime risk<<

  • Pallas89juno Pallas89juno

    (1:84 lifetime risk again), which very many of us have already been in–beating the odds in that Murphy’s Law way–winning!!! I mean, it must be true as the Indian Government Atomic Energy Chief says that the danger from a nuclear power plant to humans from one built in India (or anywhere maybe he means), is only “1 in infinity”!!! Gosh, that makes me feel so much better. Remember the odds of that 10+ pounds of Plutonium carrying container of (rocket) explosives exploding inside the atmosphere is 1:408, in that one several-minutes instant. How much worse the odds if this ridiculously high risk were spread out over 20 years? or 70 years? 1:3 or 1:2 maybe? Shut her down!!!

  • They have blown here with anomalies before and the will take that chance again with us here in Florida !