Poll: Americans Want NASA To Focus More On Asteroid Impacts, Less On Getting To Mars

An anonymous reader writes: Americans are less interested in NASA sending humans to the moon or Mars than they are in the U.S. space agency focusing on potential asteroid impacts and using robots for space exploration. That’s according to a poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released Thursday, one month before the 50th anniversary of the first walk on the moon. Two-thirds of respondents said monitoring asteroids, comets and “other events in space that could impact Earth” was “very or extremely important.” According to NASA, which watches for objects falling from space, about once a year an “automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth’s atmosphere,” but it usually burns up before it hits the surface. And the instances of larger objects actually making it past Earth’s atmosphere and causing any damage happen thousands of years apart, NASA says. The poll also found that Americans want NASA to focus on conducting space research to expand knowledge of the Earth, solar system and universe and they want “robots without astronauts” to do it. If you want to build capabilities for dealing with dangerous asteroids, asteroid mining should be the technology we prioritize, because there’s a lot of crossover there.

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