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Young Adults "Largely Disinterested" in the Vision for Space Exploration

Most important concerns for young adults are jobs, the war, and relationships; space ranks near the bottom of the list of personal priorities.
by Staff Writers
Houston TX (SPX) Sep 27, 2006
In a study reported on last week at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Space 2006 meeting, Dittmar Associates reported that young American adults are "largely disinterested" in the Vision for Space Exploration announced by President Bush in January of 2004. These results came from a follow-up study to the company's groundbreaking Market Study for Space Exploration originally released in November of that year.

Some of the original 2004 results included:

+ Endorsement of the space program in general was very strong, with 69% of Americans voicing their support.

+ Interest and excitement about the Vision for Space Exploration was strong for near-term aspects of the plan (65% of Americans responded positively) and for returning to the Moon. This was not true for plans to send humans to Mars, which is seen as involving much more risk (only 18% of Americans responded positively).

+ There were large and significant differences in attitudes and enthusiasm about the space exploration program which emerged on the basis of sex, ethnic groups, age, and other variables.

Beginning in late 2005 and into 2006, Dittmar Associates developed and executed a follow-up to the Market Study which focused on Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 years. All in all, the results supported those of the original study as pertains to this age group; young Americans as a group are generally disengaged from and cynical about the human spaceflight aspects of the U.S. civil space program.

Among the findings:

+ 49% of respondents were aware of the Vision for Space Exploration to some extent. Detailed understanding of the program is lacking with "something about the Moon" characterizing the majority of responses.

+ Interest in return to the Moon is slim, with 29% interested, 45% neutral and 23% disinterested

+ Most important concerns are jobs, the war, and relationships; space ranks near the bottom of the list of personal priorities.

+ Opposition to a human mission to Mars is strong, running 3:1; however the majority (52%) support more robotic missions like the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity.

+ Interest in "New Space" (commercial) human spaceflight efforts such as the X-Prize flights of SpaceShip One is increasing, relative to the results of the previous study.

The original Market Study for Space Exploration has just been released to the general public and can be purchased directly from Amazon.com or through a link on the Dittmar Associates website at http://www.dittmar-associates.com. The AIAA Space 2006 paper which includes new information about the attitudes of young Americans is also available for free download on the website.

Dittmar Associates, Inc. is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and specializes in strategic planning, market research, training, and engineering services for government, industry and academia in the high technology, medical and aerospace sectors. Dittmar Associates also provides high technology products to law enforcement, homeland defense and related agencies through its subsidiary FARSIGHT Intelligence Systems, which specializes in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems.

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Gallup Poll Finds Americans Overall Strongly Support Space Exploration
Houston TX (SPX) Sep 27, 2006
A new Gallup Poll shows more than two-thirds of respondents support the nation's stepping-stone approach to space exploration, which includes flying the space shuttle to complete the International Space Station, building a replacement vehicle for the space shuttle, returning humans to the moon, and exploring Mars and points beyond. (Respondents support this approach if NASA's budget does not exceed 1 percent of the federal budget.)

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