Majority in US supports human mission to Mars, first in decades

WASHINGTON (Xinhua) – A majority of Americans favour 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.

Some 53 per cent of Americans support the mission while 46 per cent of them oppose it, a sign of increasing public support for the United States (US) space programme ahead of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

When firstly asked about landing astronauts on Mars in 1969, shortly after the US achieved the same feat on the moon, a mere 39 per cent of Americans were in favour of it and 53 per cent against it.

A subsequent survey in 1999 did not see a pronounced change as 43 per cent were in favour and 54 per cent 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 per cent in favour) and least popular among the elderly aged 65 and above (46 per cent), similar to the case 20 years ago.

The poll also found that the mission to send astronauts has gained bipartisan support, with 55 per cent of both Democrats and Republicans in favour of it.

Americans’ support lines up with US 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.