Science

Astronauts en route to space station after successful launch

Astronauts en route to space station after successful launch

Most of the respondents said NASA has an essential role to play in space exploration but foresee private companies making more meaningful contributions in areas like spacecraft development and scientific research.

When it comes to political parties, 70 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning Americans believe that NASA is still vital in the future of the industry, but only 59 percent of the total Republicans and Republican-leaning Americans say the same.

The full report from the Pew Research Center can be found here.

Researchers are reporting that the vast majority of Americans believe the United States should take the lead in space exploration.

The U.S. space agency will launch Expedition 56 aboard a Soyuz MS-08 rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.




Although most Americans believe NASA should spearhead space exploration, they also think private companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic can make meaningful contributions of their own. Gerst is the only astronaut of the mission that had participated in a space mission in 2014.

Americans are more skeptical that private companies will minimize human-made space debris, with only 13% saying they have a great deal of confidence; 35% saying they have a fair amount of confidence; and 51% saying they have not too much or no confidence at all.

Twenty-six percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence that private companies will be able to build safe and reliable spacecraft, and 23 percent don't have too much confidence, or have no confidence at all.

Monitoring key parts of Earth's climate system: 63% said it should be a top NASA priority; 25% said it should be an important but lower priority; and 11% said it is not too important or should not be done.


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