Here are a few key takeaways from the Pew Research Center survey on American attitudes toward space exploration:
- There is widespread support for the U.S. continuing to be a leader in space exploration, with 69% saying it is essential for the U.S. to have this role. This view is shared across partisan lines.
- Most Americans see an ongoing role for NASA, with 65% saying it is essential for NASA to remain involved in space exploration. Only 32% think private companies alone will ensure enough progress.
- When asked about priorities for NASA, monitoring asteroids that could hit Earth (60% top priority) and monitoring climate change (50% top priority) ranked the highest. Sending astronauts to the Moon or Mars were lower priorities.
- Over half (55%) expect routine space tourism to happen in the next 50 years. However, only 35% are interested in orbiting Earth themselves, suggesting limited desire to personally travel to space.
- Americans had mixed views on private space companies. While pluralities think they are doing a good job on some aspects like building safe spacecraft, only 21% think they are limiting space debris well.
- 47% of Americans report engaging in a space-related activity in the past year, like looking at images from the James Webb Space Telescope. Those more familiar with NASA see more of its activities as priorities.