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Sun, Oct 24, 2004

Study: Americans Still Consider NASA Relevant

Nevertheless, numbers are not what they used to be...

A comprehensive, in-depth study by Dittmar Associates aimed at understanding public perceptions of NASA and particularly the Space Exploration Program reveals that Americans continue to support human space flight, with 69% supporting Space Exploration and 26% opposed. In addition, when provided information about the percentage of the U.S. budget allocated to NASA each year (less than 1%), 42% of the respondents indicated that it should be increased, 29% said it should be decreased, and 29% believed it should remain at its current level.

The researchers invited participants to offer their own ideas, thoughts, and suggestions as if they could be heard by NASA. The results of the study are therefore similar to a marketing survey, but more importantly they serve as a dialogue – one-sided though it may be – between a sample of the American public and its space agency.

Some of the results include:

  • 42% of Americans believe that NASA is either “very relevant” or “relevant” to their day-to-day lives;
  • Americans are concerned about terrorism, healthcare, and education, but the degree to which they believe NASA is relevant to their daily lives is the most important determinant of their attitudes toward funding;
  • 61% of Americans indicated that the success of the Mars Rovers has had a positive effect on attitudes toward NASA in general, but this does not necessarily carry over to human space flight;
  • 79% of respondents believe that NASA is “marketed” poorly or very poorly
  • When given the opportunity, Americans have a variety of suggestions about how to better promote the space program and make it more relevant to them personally.

An abridged summary including some of these results is available for free download at the Dittmar Associates website using the FMI link below. The complete, final report presents information analyzed by demographic variables including age, ethnic background, region of the country, marital status, political party, and dependents, and delves more deeply into the perceptions, desires, concerns and suggestions expressed by study participants in response to questions about NASA and its missions, particularly the Space Exploration program.

The final report will be available for a fee to interested parties on the Dittmar Associates website on November 10, 2004. Dittmar Associates is a Certified Small Woman-Owned Business and consulting group located 30 miles south of Houston, Texas. Specializing in market and business development, training, and R&D, the company works closely with universities, large companies in aerospace and small technology companies.



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