NASA Ars Technica: Pew research indicates other NASA priorities

jim mcnamara

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https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/06/nasas-priorities-appear-to-be-out-of-whack-with-what-the-public-wants/

Title:
NASA’s priorities appear to be out of whack with what the public wants
"The public thinks that we should have a space program that saves Earth."

In the list presented in the article top 2 priorities:
Monitor key parts of Earth's climate system Top priority 65% Less important 25% *Not important 11%
Monitor asteroids/objects that could hit Earth Top priority 62% Less important 29% Not important 9%

Lowest priorities:
Send astronauts to Mars Top priority 18% Less important 45% Not important 37%
Send astronauts to moon Top priority 13% Less important 42% Not important 44%

* I truncated "Not too Important/should not be done -> "Not important" So I could fit the editor window....
@Greg Bernhardt HTML table tags would sure be nice.... Top priority 97%?:woot:

Anyway the point I wanted to mention was that this seems to be sort of a surprise, but since polling on this topic apparently was not done before this one, nobody knows. An assumption.
 

russ_watters

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Anyway the point I wanted to mention was that this seems to be sort of a surprise, but since polling on this topic apparently was not done before this one, nobody knows. An assumption.
I was surprised by the results as well and I've been even more surprised that such polling hasn't been done before.

Travel back to the Moon and on to Mars has been official policy even though it has never been funded as if it were. Perhaps after seeing the results of such a poll, our leaders will re-calibrate to something more realistic.
 

Vanadium 50

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I'm sure it has been. This is a Pew poll, not a NASA poll. I don't think NASA is legally allowed to poll.

I'm also surprised by the survey. Pew usually does a better job. For example, they ask a question about climate, but not about weather. How does one interpret the results? If someone thinks, e.g. hurricane track forecasting is important, what box do they check? Pew makes a big deal of a partisan split in the responses, but their sample leans Democratic by 21 points: 3 points more than the most Democratic-leaning state in the union, Hawaii. That means that if they would reweight their samples to match the country as a whole, the results would be different.
 

russ_watters

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@Vanadium 50
Fifty-three percent of people polled called climate change “extremely or very important .... accept that global warming is occurring, including 56% of Republicans.
Sounds somewhat reasonable to me. Your thoughts? got a reference? Or does party affiliation not affect this? I would disagree.
Jim, the assembled quote is talking about two different poll questions (obviously the percentage of Republicans who feel climate change is an important issue could not be more than the overall average). Could you please correct/redo your analysis.

When I first read the article and saw the results, I saw "climate" as a surprising question and the result surprising....but then I didn't put much thought into it (now I have). The result is that the provided interpretation and reports it is spawning are giving a highly misleading picture of the publuc's view.

To put a finer point on it; I'm a moderate Republican, and I would give different answers to the NASA poll if asked about "weather" vs "climate". Providing only "climate" creates a situation where - if I notice - I must choose. The result is likely an inflated importance score for "climate", but preserving the known political disparity.
 
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jim mcnamara

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