activity - Thu, 08/03/2018 - 19:40

Gathering opinions and ideas to help develop and nurture the future strategy for space in Europe

The European Space Agency organised the first citizens’ consultation about space. On 10 September 2016 about 2000 citizens from 22 European countries participated in the first Citizens’ Debate on Space for Europe. In the course of the day, citizens had the opportunity to learn, debate, have their say and participate by suggesting priorities on all aspects of current and future space programmes. This consultation on an unprecedented scale took place simultaneously in all 22 Member States of the European Space Agency (ESA). Missions Publiques, the company that was brought in by ESA to organise this consultation and conduct the debate, gathered approximately 100 citizens per Member State at various locations. Those selected were as representative as possible of the population of their country according to socio-demographic criteria. The results of the consultation were collated – as early as 48 hours after the debate took place – and communicated to ESA. Referring to this initiative, ESA Director General Jan Woerner, emphasised his commitment to ESA being more open to society and to further engaging in a dialogue with European citizens, and said, “Spaceflight, space science, exploration, Earth observation, telecommunication, satellite navigation, space technology and innovation can all help respond to societal challenges and be a source of inspiration to future generations. European citizens can help us better assess our priorities”. The Citizens’ Debate on Space for Europe is a major first – never before has the future of space activities been addressed in such an event held across so many countries.