Reasons why the public believe it is important to maintain the space program vary strongly 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 defence issues such as strategy or global dominance.
So how much should we be funding
Gender plays an interesting part again here, with almost half (47%) of men stating this is too low compared with 29% of women.
One alternative to the public funding of space missions is to encourage the private sector to stump up some of the cash. This view is popular among Americans, with half (50%) of adults stating that space exploration should be funded equally from public funds and private cash through companies such as
Reaching Mars in an unmanned mission is one thing, but how long until we can land people on the planet? Two-thirds (66%) of the public believe this will happen in the next 50 years -- more than two in five (44%) believe we are a maximum of 20 years off. Around one in five (22%) believe this will never happen, however, with women being more sceptical than men (29% stating this compared with 15% of men).
Finally -- given the opportunity to take a space flight free of costs, would you go? Just one in four (25%) of the public said they definitely would, a further 19% stating they probably would. The gender divide is as strong here as with other thoughts on space with one in three (33%) of men saying definitely compared with just 17% of women.
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