Americans Confident Humans Will Walk on Mars Within Two Decades

“Mars Generation” National Opinion Poll Reveals Strong Support for NASA Funding of Human Mission to Mars

AUSTIN, Texas (Feb. 11, 2013) – Phillips & Company, a global communications firm, and Explore Mars, a non-profit corporation committed to advancing the cause for human exploration of Mars, announced today preliminary findings of a nationwide survey of U.S. citizens that focused on understanding opinions about the exploration of Mars. With the success of the Mars Curiosity rover landing, this poll was conducted to measure attitudes and levels of support toward human and robotic exploration of Mars.

The poll found that 71 percent of Americans are confident that humans will go to Mars by 2033. When told that there are currently two operational NASA rovers on Mars, 67 percent of respondents agreed the U.S. should send both humans and robots to Mars.

Americans, on average, believe that NASA spending represents 2.4 percent of the federal budget, with a standard deviation of 1.68 percent. In reality, the Administration’s request for NASA for FY2013 was $17.7 billion representing approximately 0.5 percent of the federal budget.

After being presented with this percentage, 75 percent of Americans said they “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” that it is worthwhile to increase NASA’s percentage of the federal budget to 1 percent to fund a mission to Mars.

“Despite difficult economic times, the American people are still inspired by space exploration and are committed to human exploration of Mars,” said Chris Carberry, Executive Director of Explore Mars. “This is a wakeup call to our leaders that Americans are still explorers.”

According to the majority of Americans, the top three reasons for human exploration of Mars are 1) to achieve a greater understanding of Mars, 2) to search for signs of life, and 3) to maintain U.S. leadership in commercial, scientific and national defense applications.

When asked to rank potential barriers to Mars exploration, 73 percent of Americans believe that the greatest barrier is affordability and 67 percent believe politics to be a limiting barrier. Technological capabilities and motivation are not seen as significant barriers by the majority of Americans.

The survey was conducted between Feb. 4, 2013, and Feb. 6, 2013, targeting a stratified random sample of 1,101 respondents representing a 95% confidence level and margin of error of +/-3%. The survey was conducted by email and targeted a nationwide sample. All efforts were made to ensure a representative sample of the U.S. population 18 years and older given normal standards of statistical sampling.

The “Mars Generation” survey was conducted by the independent market research team at Phillips & Company and sponsored by Explore Mars, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and The Boeing Corporation.

A full report containing the survey findings is scheduled to be released on March 4. The full report will include additional findings by region, education-level, income-level and ethnicity.

Explore Mars and the George Washington University Space Policy Institute will host the Humans to Mars (H2M) Summit on May 6-8, 2013, at the Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC, to address the major technical, scientific, and policy related challenges of landing men and women on Mars within twenty years. Featured speakers include Buzz Aldrin, Charlie Bolden, Vint Cerf, Rebecca Keiser, Miles O’Brien and Steve Squyres.
To register and learn more, visit http://h2m.exploremars.org/.

About Explore Mars

Explore Mars was created to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars within the next two decades. To further that goal, Explore Mars conducts programs and technical challenges to stimulate the development and/or improvement of technologies that will make human Mars missions more efficient and feasible. In addition, to embed the idea of Mars as a habitable planet, Explore Mars challenges educators to use Mars in the classroom as a tool to teach standard STEM curricula.

Explore Mars, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Donations to Explore Mars are tax-deductible. Learn more at www.exploremars.org or email info@ExploreMars.org.

About Phillips & Company

Phillips & Company is a global communications firm that helps companies, government agencies and non-profits create, defend and sustain leadership positions through public relations and business development. With a focus on space technology, homeland security, mobile computing, telecommunications, healthcare, education and energy, Phillips & Company helps organizations focus on the opportunities and strategies that accelerate market victories. Ultimately, Phillips helps organizations create demand for their products, services and ideas by broadening and reinforcing the trust customers, partners and investors have in their vision and mission. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Phillips & Company has operations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, London and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit www.phillipscompany.com.

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