Space Frontier / Pew Research: Ask the Right Questions, Change the Future

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Some of our most successful entrepreneurs in a generation are dreaming about a big future in space. 

Elon Musk (SpaceX) talks about putting a million people on Mars.  Jeff Bezos, of Amazon, has his own rocket company, Blue Origin, and predicts a future where millions of people will work and live in space.  Both are investing billions in building rockets to make it happen and a new era of low cost access to space appears to be dawning.

But there is no public vision to match the scale of these private sector aspirations.  At most, there are plans to return a few astronauts to the Moon or send a few more on to Mars.  

One reason there is no bold public vision for space is because no politician or policymaker currently believes the public will support it.  And that’s because for two generations pollsters have been asking a variation on the same questions:  Will the public support more funding for space exploration?   Does space exploration rate higher than other funding priorities?  The responses have always been lukewarm and so no significant funding has been forthcoming.  Earthly priorities have always trumped space exploration.

But what if the conventional wisdom is wrong?  What if we have been asking the wrong questions?

By signing this petition, you are asking Pew Research, one of the nation’s most prominent non-profit, non-partisan public research and polling organizations to test if Americans are supportive of making a significant investment in public funds to develop a space frontier IF those funds would be paid back and millions of high paying jobs for Americans would be created as a result. 

Background:  In the process of writing a book (The New Frontier Playbook), I tested six questions on Survey Monkey that challenge the conventional wisdom.   The questions were not about traditional space exploration (sending a few astronauts into space).  They explored the public’s willingness to invest very large sums to develop an economically sustainable presence in space IF those public funds would eventually get paid back and high paying jobs could be created in the process.  You can see the original survey analysis at Appendix A:  Space Frontier and Politics Survey and you can see the questions and data at Appendix B:  Top-line Survey Questions.

My questions tested public support with specific numbers that dramatically increased NASA’s current budget.  All were premised on the potential for a return on investment in public funds.  Support ranged from the mid-40s to the lower 70s, far higher numbers than what has traditionally been seen for space exploration.  The support was also broadly similar across Republican, Democrat, and Independent respondents, making this a potential area of political common ground (a welcome development these days).   

If Pew Research tests public opinion with similar questions and it turns out that the American public is more willing to support a bolder future in space than the current conventional wisdom suggests, you will have opened the door to a very different future than the current headlines suggest – one that is potentially more prosperous, has higher paying jobs, and creates a faster growing economy with more opportunity for all. 

That’s why your support for this petition is so important. 

Thank you in advance for your consideration and support! 

By signing this petition, you are asking Pew Research, one of the nation’s most prominent non-profit, non-partisan public research and polling organizations to test if Americans are supportive of making a significant investment in public funds to develop a space frontier IF those funds will be paid back and high paying jobs will be created.



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