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On space, poll shows most Americans support NASA's role, U.S. presence
On space, poll shows most Americans support NASA's role, U.S. presence
by Patrick Hilsman
Washington DC (UPI) Jul 20, 2023

New polling data released by the Pew Research Center indicates that Americans want the nation to maintain a continued presence in space.

A sample group of 10,329 U.S. adults was surveyed between May 30 and June 4.

About seven in 10 respondents said America's role in space was essential, while 30% said it was not.

The survey indicates that 47% of Americans have done at least one space-related activity over the past year, with 26% saying they have seen images from space telescopes.

While NASA has increasingly worked with private partners such as SpaceX, and a majority of Americans believe private companies are doing a good job, most survey respondents still believe the organization is crucial to space exploration.

Of the respondents, 65% said NASA's continued participation is essential, while 32% said they expected private companies to successfully handle space exploration without NASA's participation.

When asked if private companies were doing an adequate job of clearing space junk, 26% of respondents said they are doing a mostly bad job, compared with 21% who say they are doing a mostly good job and 53% who said they don't know.

The data indicates that 69% of Americans believe space junk will be a problem in the future, while only 30% think it is unlikely to be a problem.

On the subject of space tourism, 55% of respondents said they expected tourists to routinely visit space over the next 50 years though only 35% respondents said they would want to travel into space themselves, with 65% saying they would not.

Six in 10 respondents said monitoring asteroids and objects that could strike Earth should be a top priority for NASA, while 50% agreed that monitoring the Earth's ecosystem should be a top priority.

Only 12% of respondents said returning humans to the moon should be a top priority, while 11% said sending humans to Mars should be a top priority.

Four out of 10 respondents said they expected intelligent life to be discovered on other planets in the next 50 years while 58% say the scenario is not likely.

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