Informing NASA’s Asteroid Initiative: A Citizen Forum
In its history, the Earth has been repeatedly struck by asteroids, large chunks of rock from space that can cause considerable damage in a collision. Can we—or should we—try to protect Earth from potentially hazardous impacts?
How about harvesting asteroids for potential economic benefits? Could asteroid exploration be used to boost our capabilities and help clear a pathway to Mars? How should we balance costs, risks, and benefits of human exploration in space?
Sounds like stuff just for rocket scientists. But how would you like to be part of this discussion?
An innovative project between NASA, the US government’s space agency, and a group led by Arizona State University called ECAST—Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology—is planning to do just that: allow ordinary citizens a say in decisions about the future of space exploration.
ECAST will hold forums this fall to engage ordinary citizens in active dialogue about NASA’s Asteroid Initiative. Discussion will cover topics from how to detect threatening asteroids and how to defend against them to strategies for human exploration of asteroids and the space beyond the moon.
The citizen forums will engage diverse publics in respectful, reflective and informed conversations, both face-to-face and online. The goal is to enable participants to learn about such issues, develop their own questions, and make recommendations based on their own values and interests.
How you can participate
“Informing NASA’s Asteroid Initiative: A Citizen Forum” will be held in Phoenix on Saturday, November 8, 2014, from 9am until 5pm, and in Boston on Saturday, November 15, 2014, from 9am until 5pm. ECAST will select a pool of diverse participants aged 18 and above. Individuals selected for the forum who complete the deliberation will receive $100 stipend.
Apply to participate in:
(You’ll be redirected to Survey Monkey for the application. If you prefer, you can download a PDF of the application and mail it to the address on the application.)
Download application for:
Don’t live in Boston or Phoenix?
Anyone age 18 or above can register to participate online. You will get access to the same background information, and will be asked to respond to the same questions about NASA’s Asteroid Initiative as will the participants in Boston and Phoenix. There is no stipend for online participants, but your opinion is greatly valued, and will be fully included in the report to NASA. Learn more here…
“Public engagement is crucial to the effective development of science and technology policy,” said David Guston, Co-director of the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (CSPO), one of the founding members of ECAST. “It is essential to consider input from diverse constituents, and nowhere are citizens’ values, hopes and dreams more important than in the future of the planet and the future of humans in space.”