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New Survey Poll Data: Funding the Final Frontier

Credit: NASA

Credit: YouGov

An interesting poll was taken last year focusing on space and funding the final frontier.

Done by the London-based YouGov, the fieldwork was done between Nov. 28 and Dec. 1st. YouGov is an international, full service online market research agency founded in the UK in 2000.

According to the data gathered, what’s a public response to this question: With the economy facing austerity measures in recent years and developing countries such as India joining the race to land a manned mission on Mars, is there still a place for the U.S. in space?

Americans say yes, according to the poll.

94% of adult Americans surveyed feel it is important that NASA and the U.S. space program are maintained. While any level of importance is felt equally across genders, men are more likely to have strength in the opinion with one in three (32%) stating it is extremely important for the United States to maintain NASA compared with one in four (23%) women.

Reasons why the public believe it is important to maintain the space program vary strongly with age. Younger respondents (aged 18 to 34) focus on the idea of human excellence generally or the environmental issues they may encounter in their lifetimes. Respondents who are older (55 and over) – and lived through the original space race and Cold War – are more likely to highlight defense issues such as strategy or global dominance.

Private sector

One alternative to the public funding of space missions is to encourage the private sector to stump up some of the cash.

This view is popular among America, with half (50%) of adults stating that space exploration should be funded equally from public funds and private cash through companies such as Virgin Galactic and SpaceX. A further one in seven (14%) feel space exploration should be mainly funded privately and 18% think private companies should fully fund it.

Travel to Mars?

Reaching Mars via a robotic mission is one thing, but how long until we can land people on the planet?

Two-thirds (66%) of the public believe this will happen in the next 50 years – more than two in five (44%) believe we are a maximum of 20 years off. Around on in five (22%) believe this will never happen, however, with women being more skeptical than men (29% stating this compared with 15% of men).

Public space travel

The poll also surveyed people on public space travel. That is, given the opportunity to take a space flight free of costs, would you go?

Just one in four (25%) of the public said they definitely would, a further 19% stating they probably would. The gender divide is as strong here as with other thoughts on space with one in three (33%) of men saying definitely compared with just 17% of women.

These are snapshots of the entire poll, which can be found here at:

http://research.yougov.com/news/2013/12/11/space-funding-final-frontier/

NOTE: For more survey data accumulated, go to: Find the full results link at the bottom of the survey.

By Leonard David

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