A third of the U.S. believes it is very important that
the country continue to explore the solar system and
another third deems it somewhat important to do so, according
to a telephone survey taken in March and April.
The poll, conducted by the Everett Group, a market research
firm in Crofton, Md., also found that about two-thirds of Americans have a positive image of NASA. Nine percent reported a
negative opinion of the space agency.
Only one in eight said it’s not important for the U.S. to continue exploring the solar system.
When those who think it’s important to explore space were
asked their reasons, 63 percent cited protecting Earth from
collisions with comets and asteroids, and 57 percent said
understanding climate change.
Americans are divided on the relative importance of spending to reduce the deficit or to maintain the country’s space leadership. While 45 percent favored giving priority to reducing the
deficit, 47 percent preferred increasing the space budget.
When President Obama spoke of his vision for U.S. space
exploration at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in April, his
proposals contained continued funding to explore the solar
Americans for Space
system, including a manned mission to Mars by the middle of
the 2030s, and a shift to relying on private-sector spacecraft to
carry personnel to the International Space Station.
The survey questionnaire summarized the administration’s
space plans, including a cut in funding for the Constellation
rocket for manned orbital missions, and the need to rely on
Russian spacecraft for an undetermined period of time.
Americans expressed several concerns about the plan as it was
described. The three leading concerns were loss of inspiration
for youth to study math and science, cited by 63 percent of those
polled; loss of current high-tech jobs in the space program, cited
by 54 percent, and threats to national security by leaving human
spaceflight capability to other countries, 54 percent.
According to Steve Everett, the principal in the research firm,
the study was designed, funded, and conducted in-house, and
was not funded by a government agency or other sponsor.
The “space poll” was a landline and cell phone survey of 1,200
randomly selected adults called across the country between
March 27 and April 12, just before the president’s speech. The
company said its findings have a maximum margin of sampling
error of 3. 7 percentage points. A summary of the report has
been published online at www.spacepoll.com. n
HUMAN POWER WINNERS
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology of Terre Haute, Ind., placed first in the unrestricted class of the
of Science and Technology at Rolla
placed first in the speed class.
Ragnarok, entered by the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, placed first in the unre- stricted class in the 2010 ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge West. It won an additional award for creativity and innovation.
which placed first in both the East
and West Coast HPVC competitions
in 2009, also received the Knovelty
Award for exceptional creativity
and innovation in design, a special
judges’ award given on behalf of the
competition sponsor, Knovel.
The Missouri University of Science
and Technology vehicle, Siren, took
first place in the speed class of the
competition. These teams were two
of the 29 student teams that assembled from all over the world to take
part in this competition.
Portland State University placed
second in the unrestricted class, and
Colorado State University placed
third. South Dakota School of Mines
and Technology placed second in
the speed class, and California State
University, Northridge was third.
The 2010 ASME Human Powered
Vehicle Challenge West took place
in late April at the California State
University, Northridge campus. The
East Coast competition was held in
May after this issue of ME magazine
went to press. REGINA NISITA