Here are more discussions of that survey of public views about human missions to Mars that I mentioned here earlier:
- Poll Challenges Some Assumptions About Human Mars Missions – Aviation Week
- Polls raise new questions about interest in Mars exploration—and the polls themselves – Space Politics
Trying to judge what such a poll means is problematic because the US public has always expressed conflicting views on space. A majority have a good feeling about it and support it in a general manner but they don’t think about space often and don’t see it, especially human spaceflight, has having any direct impact on them. When asked to rank space spending vs other priorities it is always at the bottom of the list for most people.
I prefer to focus on the 10-15% of the public who always express very strong interest and support for spaceflight in such polls. Those 30-45 million people are more than enough to build a spacefaring community and industry. They just need to see that human spaceflight is affordable and in the coming years I expect that the burgeoning commercial spaceflight industry will prove that to be true.
An update on the membership of two Senate committees with big influence on NASA and US space policies: Senate committees get organized; Nelson and Cruz control space subcommittee – Space Politics