Jul 21, 2019 | Updated: 09:46 AM EDT

AP-NORC Poll: Americans Wants NASA to Focus More on Asteroid Watch Than Mars Mission

Jun 24, 2019 11:37 AM EDT

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With all the hype that the upcoming manned mission to Mars and the Moon has been receiving, it would not be expected for potential asteroid impact, scientific research, and using robots to explore the cosmos to win in a recent poll of space missions.

The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a poll one month before the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission landing. The results have shown that asteroid and comet monitoring is the number one desired objective of Americans for the US space program.

Two-thirds of American pollsters have regarded asteroid and comet monitoring as extremely important.

John Dizard, a retired environmental studies professor living in Chico, California, has acknowledged that there was more to learn on the moon and it could be considered a miracle to send astronauts to Mars. However, he pointed out that now is not the time for such an activity. The retired professor added that they are all kinds of other things that deserve attention. Climate change tops the list for Mr. Dizard.

Ranking second in the recently conducted poll, scientific research to expand knowledge of the Earth and the rest of the solar system, extending to topics on the universe, was regarded as extremely important by six out of 10 Americans.

Coming in third was sending robotic probes to explore space rather than sending astronauts. The same four out of 10 ratings was received by the continued funding for the International Space Station.

Fifth priority for American pollsters is the search for life on other planets with a rating of 34%, which is followed by human Mars expeditions at 27%, and manned missions to the Moon at 23%.

The last of the nine listed goals were setting up permanent human residences on other planets at the ranking of 21%, and establishing a US military presence in space at the ranking of 19%. Over half of the pollsters have regarded military presence in space colonies unimportant.

Toni Dewey, a retired clerical worker in Wilmington, North Carolina, stated that space exploration should benefit life on Earth. Furthermore, the explorer should preferably be machines and not humans. She added that it would cost a lot of money to send a person to Mars. Meanwhile, there are roads and bridges that needed to be repaired here on Earth.

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