How the Public Can Inform Science and Technology Policy: The Case of Planetary Defense

Participatory Technology Assessment (pTA) is increasingly recognized as a practical and valuable democratic approach to eliciting public perspectives on profoundly important scientific and technological issues. Through pTA, public values can better inform policy and research decisions about gene editing, geoengineering, driverless vehicles, and other powerful emerging technologies. The Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes at Arizona State University used pTA to elicit informed, deliberative, and diverse citizen views to inform decisions at NASA about its Asteroid Initiative.

Event participants took part in in a mini-version of the NASA pTA forum that focused on Planetary Defense with representatives of the D.C. area science policy community from government, NGOs, media, professional society and academic organizations.

Photos by Charlie Leight/ASU Now