This article was published on June 7, 2018

Poll: Americans believe space exploration is ‘essential’ (but don’t actually want to go to space)

Poll: Americans believe space exploration is ‘essential’ (but don’t actually want to go to space)
Bryan Clark
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Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

A majority of Americans believe the United States should remain the global leader in space exploration, according to new Pew Research. Unfortunately, few of them actually want to explore space.

In a poll released today, more than 70 percent of Americans believe it’s “essential” to be a world leader in space exploration. And while nearly three-fourths of those polled feel strongly about the issue, fewer than 20 percent believe it’s worth prioritizing missions to Mars or the Moon.

According to the respondents, NASA’s top priorities should be monitoring the Earth’s climate (63 percent), remaining on the lookout for asteroids and objects that could strike Earth (62 percent), and conducting general scientific research (47 percent). (Respondents could select more than once answer.)

Based on the findings in another recent poll, you wouldn’t expect the top answer to be monitoring the Earth’s climate. After all, fewer than 21 percent of respondents in that survey claimed to place “a great deal” of trust in scientists to act in the best interest of the public in regards to climate change.

If you’re following along at home, that means American’s want to explore space; but don’t want to leave Earth. And while we’re here, they’d like to use NASA resources to better monitor climate change even though they don’t trust the findings.

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