NEW YORK, 16 Dec. 2013. A large majority (94 percent) of adult Americans surveyed by YouGov Omnibus researchers consider it important to maintain NASA and the U.S. space program.
Men are more likely to have strength in the opinion with one in three (32 percent) stating it is extremely important for the United States to maintain NASA compared with one in four (23 percent) women, according to the latest research.
Reasons why the public believe it is important to maintain the space program vary with age. Younger respondents (aged 18 to 34) focus on the idea of human excellence generally or the environmental issues they may encounter in their lifetimes. Respondents who are older (55 and over) and lived through the original Space Race and Cold War, are more likely to highlight defense issues, such as strategy or global dominance.
NASA’s 2014 budget has been set at $16 billion, the lowest since 2007. Overall, four in 10 (39 percent) Americans think this is sufficient, while almost the same proportion (38 percent) consider the amount to be too low. Roughly one in four (23 percent) feel the budget is too high. Gender plays an interesting part, with almost half (47 percent) of men stating this is too low compared with 29 percent of women.
One alternative to the public funding of space missions is to encourage the private sector to contribute some of the cash. This view is popular among Americans, with half (50 percent) of adults stating that space exploration should be funded equally from public and private sources through companies such as Virgin Galactic and SpaceX. One in seven (14 percnet) feel space exploration should be mainly funded privately; 18 percent think private companies should solely fund it.