Protest Planned Against NASA's Pluto Probe Launch

The GlobalNetwork Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Spaceof Brunswick, Maine has called for a demonstration at Cape Canaveral Air ForceStation in Florida on Jan. 7 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm EST (1600-1800 GMT).

The protestwill highlight opposition to NASA's planned NewHorizons launch on January 17 that will carry a cache of plutonium to powerthe Pluto-bound probe's radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG).

To belaunched by an Atlas 5 booster, New Horizons will head out on a long distancejourney to shoot past Pluto in 2015. After that flyby, the New Horizons probe-- given NASA-approved extended mission money -- is to study still-to-beselected Kuiper Belt objects, ancient, icy and rockymini-worlds that are leftovers from the formation of the solar system.

In astatement from Global Network Coordinator, Bruce Gagnon: "We might have escapedCassini, we might escape New Horizons, but with plansto put nuclear reactors on the Moon to power bases there in the coming years,NASA will be launching a host of these missions. One thing we have learnedis that sooner or later, space technology can fail."

        For Scientist and Englishwoman, PlutoMission is Precious

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Leonard David
Space Insider Columnist

Leonard David is an award-winning space journalist who has been reporting on space activities for more than 50 years. Currently writing as's Space Insider Columnist among his other projects, Leonard has authored numerous books on space exploration, Mars missions and more, with his latest being "Moon Rush: The New Space Race" published in 2019 by National Geographic. He also wrote "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet" released in 2016 by National Geographic. Leonard  has served as a correspondent for SpaceNews, Scientific American and Aerospace America for the AIAA. He has received many awards, including the first Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History in 2015 at the AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium. You can find out Leonard's latest project at his website and on Twitter.