1980 Societal Assessment of SPS

balance input from individual citizens who are unlikely to participate, with input from organized interest groups, who are likely to participate. In many cases, outreach programs have been successful in obtaining public input to supplement other investigative efforts in the development of government programs and projects. The Participatory Technology Process, augmented by the outreach experiment described below, has incorporated all these elements of public involvement. The PTP has facilitated the solicitation of information from a broad spectrum of people, diverse in their level of expertise and occupational background. . . 2 2 b. SPS Public Outreach Experiment The outreach experiment was an effort to acquire feedback about the SPS concept from the constituents of three public interest groups. The objectives of the outreach were: (1) to identify public concerns and questions about the SPS and (2) to gain experience in an outreach process for use in the development of future SPS public involvement activities. The three participating groups were the Citizen’s Energy Project (CEP), Forum for the Advancement of Students in Science and Technology (FASST) and the L-5 Society (L-5). CEP is a tax-exempt research and advocacy organization whose primary interests are decentralized energy policy and environmental issues. FASST is a national network of individuals and organizations supporting active student participation in science, policy development, research, and new applications in science. L-5 is an international organization with approximately 3,200 members who advocate space colonization. Prior to the outreach, both L-5 and CEP had demonstrated a position on SPS. L-5 was in favor of the continued development of SPS; CEP was opposed to any development of SPS. With the selection of these two groups for participation, it was felt that public concerns, from both a pro and con perspective, could be identified. FASST had not taken a position on SPS prior to the outreach. The respective positions of each group did not change during the experiment; L-5 remains in favor of SPS; CEP remains opposed and FASST is relatively neutral. The steps in the outreach program are outlined in Exhibit 7. Each group summarized 20 SPS papers and distributed them to 3,000 of their constituents, with a request for feedback in the form of open-ended comments or answers to