1980 Societal Assessment of SPS

No clear majority of either support or opposition to the SPS was evident. Those who supported the concept felt that the program should begin immediately. Many of those in favor also expected to see beneficial spin-offs from SPS technology. Those who opposed the SPS cited numerous problems related to the environment (especially microwave hazards), military applications and vulnerability, and economic considerations (e.g., opportunity costs). Several questions were raised about aspects of the Reference System (e.g., manpower and maintenance requirements, life support for the space workers, use of lunar materials for construction of the satellites). The issue of centralization/ decentralization generated many comments and questions. The implication that SPS would rely on a strong centralized system was not favored by many. An international structure for the SPS was endorsed, and although the degree of difficulty involved in an international organization was not overlooked, many nonetheless felt it vital if SPS were to succeed. There was almost unanimous support for some form of public discussion on the related issues, regardless of how respondents felt about SPS. Several suggestions were given for alternative methods to use in future projects. Most frequently cited were methods of making use of audio-visual presentations. Others included campus workshops and debates. (3) The L-5 Society Approximately 850 responses were received from members of the L-5 Society, the highest response rate of the three? groups. Ninety percent of the L-5 respondents were male; the average age was 29. The outreach experiment itself was favorably received. More than three-fourths of the respondents wanted to see a more active dialogue between the government and the public on the SPS, and almost 90 percent wanted to see the DOE more actively involved in informing the public about the SPS. Seventy-two percent of the respondents thought public acceptance of SPS would be difficult. Over 80 percent of the L-5 respondents thought the SPS had the potential to become a major energy source by the end of the century. Extra-terrestrial solar and terrestrial solar were considered to be the most desirable power systems for the long-term future. Satellite solar power is perceived to have the least environmental impact among the alternatives to conventional power plants. Regarding the cost of SPS, 30 percent thought SPS would be cheap, and