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Public Views Of Using Nuclear Energy Sources In Space Missions

Michael Maharik, B. Fischhoff
Published 1993 · Political Science

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Abstract Space policy has always been Sensitive to public opinion. Recently there has been an increase in public concern over the risks posed by space flight, not just to astronauts, but to the public itself. In order to forestall problems, the US National Research Council has recommended continously monitoring and addressing public preceptions of space risks. The present study demonstrates a methodology for eliciting public concerns regarding the design of space missions, with a specific focus on the use of nuclear energy sources in space. Applied to a sample of citizens drawn from an environmentalist group, the survey found their opinions to be fairly pointed, consistent and reasonable. The possibilities of incorporating such views in setting space policy are discussed.
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