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IDEA is a good one
7. Is it possible that knowledgeable people might consider
the power satellites as possible military (aggression or control) weapons? Very likely 62% Unlikely
10% Only slightly 24
4 8. Ruzic proposes "abundant and ultimately cheap energy
thru U.S. leadership for all peaceful nations ... Keeping in mind the results of past efforts to keep materials, techniques, and processes in the hands of peaceful nations, and considering that the future does not have to duplicate the past, do you believe that the unpeaceful nations can/will be excluded in a successful bid for world peace? Definitely 4% Doubtful
27 Neutral 7 No opinion
10 9. Is abundant power likely to "foster the growth of demo
cratic governments"? Definitely
12% No Possible
22 No connection 22 Doubtful
2 10. Would you favor consideration of the possibility of
using power satellites?
Yes ... 75% No... 16% No opinion ...9% 11. Would you favor an International Decade for Energy
Achievement, limited to power satellites?
Yes ... 14% No... 75% No opinion ... 10% 12. Would you favor an International Decade for Energy
Achievement with no advance limits on the energy source? Yes ... 74% No... 16% No opinion ... 10%
READERS who responded to the September Opinion Poll Questionnaire gave the International Decade of Energy Achievement (IDEA) a strong vote of confidence—75% in favor-with only 16% opposed and 10% having no opinion on the subject. The more-than-2,400 respondents said a clear "No" to the suggestion that IDEA be limited to development of power satellites, however,
While 14% agreed with President Carter that energy conservation was the first line of defense, 83% opted in favor of active R&D efforts into new energy areas and 3% wanted both approaches to be taken simultaneously.
Complete results of the poll follow: 1. President Carter apparently favors solcing the energy
problem thru conservation. Do you? Agree that conservation is best?
14% Favor an active R&D effort into new areas? 83 Both
2. As an alternative to conventional petroleum and pollut
ing coal power generating plants, which one of the following do you favor for early in the next century? Low-BTU coal gasification
16% Light-water nuclear reactors
28 Ground-based solar thermal plants
29 Geosynchronous solar satellite stations
16 Low orbit solar satellites
3. Do you believe that we are at or approaching a point of
no retum on power satellite decision?
7 Probably not 23
No opinion .......
19 4. Can the U.S. afford (the price) to build the power satel
30% Don't know ... 30%
5. Can a power consortium made up of the U.S. and its
“allies in Europe, the Americas, and Asia" work together advantageously on a power satellite project? Think so 50% Think not
33% Don't know ... 17%
6. If things should develop so that they could (Question
No. 5), would the rest of the world Attempt a competing solar satellite project?
11% Attempt a competing earth-bound project?
6 Ask to be included?
15 Insist through the U.N. or by other pressures on being included?
34 Wait until the project is completed,
then vie peacefully to participate
I understand that the House Science and Technology Committee will hold hearings starting January 24 on the future of the United States space program, including House Concurrent Resolutions 447 and 451 calling for the Office of Technology Assessment to study space industrialization as a national goal.
In connection with these hearings, I urge you to
(1) Give careful thought to space colonization, including space industrialization (the implicitly assumed goals of our space program since its inception);
(2) Study in detail the sociological implication of space Industrialization and colonization. This will be more difficult than the evaluation of purely technological questions; it has been neglected so far.
Unless you are able to come to a reassuring conclusion during your hearings (an unlikely possibility) I suggest that you set up a study group whose task should be the evaluation of the sociological impact of space colonization industrialization. Questions raised should - in my opinion include those listed in the attached Appendix.
Enclosed I am sending you two copies of my article "Space Colonization Yes, But Not Now". One copy is typed (University of Oregon, Institute of Theoretical Science Preprint N.T. 060 C/76). The second is a printed copy (The Futurist, 1977, Volume 11, No. 5, October). Except for minor differences, the text of both copies is identical.
The article is popularly written, easy to read, but the questions raised should be taken seriously.
I request that this letter, as well as at least one (or both) copies of the enclosed article be made part of the permanent record of the House Science and Technology Committee hearings on the future of the U.S. space program.
Should you have any questions related to this letter or the enclosed article, please let me know. I will be happy to answer them to the best of my knowledge in writing, by phone or in person.
The Honorable 0.E. Teague
January 13, 1978
Will the presence of space installations be an important source of further conflict between nations?
What would be the most likely causes of conflict involving space installations? E.g. competition for desirable raw materials; attempts by certain installations to violate agreements; space skyjacking or full-scale invasion attampts; psychological motives (national, religious, etc., rivalries, prejudices, individual or mass psychoses).
Can we foresee what weaponry may be used by or against space installations in the immediate future? How much could these threaten conventional social units on Earth?
What types of societies would evolve in space installations? In particular, would the discipline required to maintain life in space be conducive to the establishment of authoritarian systems? If so, should we view this with concern? Would this type of system increase the likelihood of large-scale violence?
Could space installations significantly relieve population pressures on Earth, as is frequently claimed? Or, on the contrary, could they contribute to it?
Would the dominant problems of our times be solved more easily before expansion into space is undertaken (these problems include populstion limitation, waste control, "fair" resource distribution, how to resolve conflicts nonviolently but justly)?
What national, multinational or international organizations should be created to minimize the undesirable sociological effects of space colonization and industrialization?
If space colonization were to be undertaken today at the
maximum rate permitted by technology, it is likely that instead
of increasing the chances of human survival, it would drastically reduce it. Preliminary studies ought to be undertaken, but large
scale colonization should be postponed until such a time when
(and if) social and political conditions reach the prerequisite
state of sophisticatia. A moratorium on large scale space
colonization should be negotiated.