Page F30 reader poll results on humanity's progress in space

Monday, April 04, 2011

The poll on the right on how people feel about our progress in space has now closed, and it's time to take a look at the results. This poll allowed people to choose as many responses as possible, and it's nice to see how many agree on the same statements. I'll sort them by frequency, and the ones I agree with I'll put in bold.


  • We spend far too little on space. 42 (55%)
  • I fear that at this rate I won't make it into space before I die. 32 (42%)
  • Private companies are going to completely change the way we do things in space. 31 (40%)
  • We need to bite the bullet and set up permanent colonies on the Moon / Mars / an asteroid / etc. 31 (40%)
  • With extrasolar earths and possible brown dwarfs nearby, we're on the verge of a breakthrough in the way we view space. 28 (36%)
  • Smaller / medium-sized countries don't do nearly as much as they should in space. 16 (21%)
  • We spend too much on space and should concentrate more on fixing things here on Earth first. 15 (19%)
  • Sending people into space is a waste of money and we should be only sending robotic probes / building telescopes. 7 (9%)
  • Things are going at just about the right pace. 5 (6%)
  • We spend too much on probes and telescopes and should focus on sending humans. 2 (2%)
  • Other 8 (10%)

Votes so far: 76
Poll closed

I'm not quite at the point where I fear I won't make it into space before I die (31 years old at the moment), but I chose agree for that one as I empathize with those that do feel that way, especially those that grew up during the era of the Apollo missions when it seemed like the ability for average citizens to go to space and back was just around the corner.

On the "sending people into space is a waste of money..." question: I do agree with this to a certain extent, but only in that I would like to see a 5 to 10-year freeze on funds spent on sending people to space. With the ISS already assembled and in orbit it isn't possible, of course, but smaller countries can do this, if they realize that constructing telescopes and finding extrasolar planets of their own is just as if not more glamorous than simply sending a person or two into space thanks to Russia.

And let's finish this off with an obligatory reminder for Canadians: the election will be held in a month and if the Liberals win Canada's first astronaut and former head of the CSA will most certainly be the Minister of Science. I don't believe in deciding one's vote upon a single issue, but when the choice is between two fairly unextreme parties (one slightly right of centre, one slightly left) it's okay to pick a few less than mainstream issues to decide one's vote. High speed rail is another one I prefer the Liberals on.


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