Letter: Worry about plutonium on Earth before you worry about it in space

Plutonium is the most toxic substance known to man. It has few uses other than for nuclear weapons and satellite power units. It has a half-life in the millions of years. That means it must be stored securely for some multiple of that time without leaking or falling into dangerous hands. Recent events at Sellafield have shown that there is no consensus on the safe Earth-bound disposal of highly toxic and fissile substances. Blasting Plutonium into space, beyond harm, with the benefit of expanding our knowledge and sense of wonder at the universe seems, therefore, a positively sound proposition.

Julian Gold