Americans Confident Humans Will Walk on Mars Within Two Decades

Morningstar: 02/11/2013

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.

Download the preliminary report with initial survey findings at:http://www.exploremars.org/mars-generation-survey-first-results.

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.

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