58% of Voters Believe Earth Should Take Priority Over Space, Tellwut Poll Finds
Voter Survey Results 09/07/2012
With the recent Mars landing and death of Neil Armstrong, space exploration has been a hot topic in the news, as people question how needed NASA really is. A recent online survey from Tellwut discovered that over half (58%) of North American voters believe we should stop exploring space in order to work on our own planet. With a space exploration budget of around $17 billion per year, it’s not a stretch to think that this money could be given to better resources; social services, homeless shelters or other programs. One voter states “All that money could do so much down here” while another comments “Why should we mess up space like we have messed up Earth?” In another online survey by Tellwut, 45% of voters believed that the $2.6 billion used to send Curiosity to Mars should be used towards job creation programs or the deficit. Many people most likely feel this way because space exploration including trips to Mars or the Moon does not provide a clear benefit to the general population. In this sense, it’s understandable why some people are opposed to NASA’s seemingly large budget. 38% of those polled believe that the money going towards space exploration is not a waste, mainly because they think Mars could have the potential to be our new home. With threats like global warming and overpopulation looming, finding somewhere other than Earth to live could be an upcoming issue in the future. Although it’s a widely reported fact that the annual budget from the government given to NASA hovers around $17 billion, the general public isn’t aware of how this relates to the United States budget as a whole. $17 billion is actually only about 0.58% of the almost $3 trillion budget that the USA has. Even though in our minds $17 billion is a lot to spend on space exploration, it’s actually less than 1% of the entire budget. Research points out that for every $1 spent on NASA, the government spends $98 on social services, with the annual spending for social services being approximately $1.581 trillion dollars. Whether you agree that space exploration should or shouldn’t be taking place, one thing that seems clear is that NASA’s budget takes only a sliver of the trillions of dollars that the US spends annually. While some would say that using this $17 billion elsewhere makes sense, shutting down NASA’s budget means being unable to explore new options for humans and the loss of thousands of jobs; new jobs being the primary concern people feel should be the government’s focus.