72% Of Americans Say It’s “Essential” For US To Be World Space Exploration Leader

Seventy-two percent of U.S. adults say it is “essential” for the U.S. to lead the world in space exploration, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted from March 27 to April 9.

As The Daily Caller’s Evie Fordham reports, space exploration is on many Americans’ minds after President Donald Trump proposed creating a sixth branch of the military called the Space Force in March. Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech Thursday outlining a Pentagon report about how Space Force can become reality.

Eighty percent of U.S. adults see the International Space Station as a “good investment.” Sixty-five percent of U.S. adults see the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as “essential” in space exploration even as private companies like Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk’s SpaceX have come into existence, according to Pew.

Support for U.S. investment in space exploration and technology is roughly the same among U.S. adults “across gender, educational and political groups,” according to Pew. Seventy-one percent of Baby Boomer and older generations support “continued U.S. space leadership” compared to 70 percent of millennials.

Sixty-three percent of U.S. adults say that monitoring “key parts of the Earth’s climate system” should be a top priority for NASA. Sixty-two percent of U.S. adults say that monitoring “asteroids/objects that could hit earth” should be NASA’s top priority. Only 18 percent say that sending astronauts to Mars should be a top priority.

Democrats, including Hawaii Rep. Brian Schatz, blasted Trump’s interest in space and a potential Space Force after Pence’s speech Thursday.

“It’s dangerous to have a leader who cannot be talked out of crazy ideas,” Schatz said on Twitter Thursday.