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Survey: 9 Out of 10 Americans Think Space Exploration Still Important

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  • Survey: 9 Out of 10 Americans Think Space Exploration Still Important

    Survey: 9 Out of 10 Americans Think Space Exploration Still Important

    Americans still have faith in the U.S. space program, despite several setbacks

    At a time when NASA faces several major issues that could put it further behind competing space programs, a recently released survey indicates Americans still see a value in the U.S. space program.

    “We are pleased to see that the public clearly backs a well-rounded U.S. space exploration program. When combined with President Obama’s space policy that calls for the establishment of a robust and balanced civilian space program, it is vital that Washington leaders allow for and support appropriate funding for NASA,” said Dean Acosta, chairman of the Coalition for Space Exploration's Public Affairs Team.

    The coalition conducted the survey in mid-January, and measured perceived value of NASA without facts, then re-measured NASA's value by giving participants basic facts regarding NASA.

    Before the facts were presented, 77 percent of those surveyed believed the space program was a source of technological innovation and advancement; 73 percent thought there was consumer product development based on technology used for space exploration; and 69 percent believed NASA helped inspire students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering or math.

    But after facts were presented, space program support increased from 88 percent up to 96 percent, according to the Coalition.

    Around 30 representatives from the U.S. military, commercial and space intelligence work forces are now meeting with President Obama, in an effort to try and fix several problems facing NASA. The Committee for U.S. Space Leadership believes a bit of presidential involvement will be able to resolve most problems, and hope Obama will live up to his earlier speeches of fixing NASA.

    The U.S. space agency currently receives less than 1 percent of the total federal budget, which some supporters say needs to be drastically increased if NASA wants to remain relevant. Despite the struggling economy, it's possible NASA will militarize its space program, which would open up additional money for research and development.

    Aside from money, NASA must finish construction on the multi-billion International Space Station (ISS) before next year, when the current fleet of shuttles will be retired. The U.S. will then rely on Russian spacecraft to ferry astronauts and supplies to and from the ISS for at least five years until NASA's next-generation rocket and shuttle system is finished.

    In the short term, NASA must fix a valve problem on shuttle Discovery so it is able to launch its first manned mission of 2009.


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  • #2
    Cool stuff, Joe. Related, we might not be alone as well. I thought this was pretty cool, too:

    As NASA prepares to hunt for Earth-like planets in our corner of the Milky Way galaxy, there's new buzz that "Star Trek's" vision of a universe full of life may not be that far-fetched.