Majority in U.S. supports human mission to Mars, first in decades
A majority of Americans favor landing an astronaut on Mars for the first time in decades, a stark contrast to the views of 1969 and 1999, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at "Namib Dune, " where the rover's activities included scuffing into the dune with a wheel and scooping samples of sand for laboratory analysis. The scene combines 57 images taken on Jan. 19, 2016.[Photo: NASA/Cover Images via IC]
Some 53 percent of Americans support the mission while 46 percent of them oppose it, a sign of increasing public support for the U.S. space program ahead of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
When firstly asked about landing astronauts on Mars in 1969, shortly after the United States achieved the same feat on the moon, a mere 39 percent of Americans were in favor of it and 53 percent against it.
A subsequent survey in 1999 did not see a pronounced change as 43 percent were in favor and 54 percent opposed.
A further breakdown of the latest survey suggested that a manned Mars mission is most popular among young adults aged 18 to 29 (65 percent in favor) and least popular among the elderly aged 65 and above (46 percent), similar to the case 20 years ago.
The poll also found that the mission to send astronauts has gained bipartisan support, with 55 percent of both Democrats and Republicans in favor of it.
Americans' support lines up with U.S. President Donald Trump's commitment to accomplish a manned Mars mission, exemplified in his Fourth of July speech.
"We are going to be back on the moon...and, someday soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars," said Trump.