Should space priorities be closer to home?

Moon and Earth
The moon passes right across Earth’s disk in an image captured on July 16, 2015, by the DSCOVR satellite from its observation point, a million miles out in space. DSCOVR’s Earth-observing mission had been threatened with cancellation, but NASA’s chief has signaled that it will continue. (NASA / NOAA Photo)

newly released survey from Pew Research Center suggests that Americans still strongly support the space program, 60 years after NASA’s founding, but that they’re more interested in Earth science than exploration beyond Earth orbit.

That’s a turnabout from the broad strokes of White House policy, which has tried to downplay Earth observation and talk up the idea of sending Americans to the moon and Mars.

Despite that dissonance, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine welcomed the findings from Pew Research Center’s survey. When reporters told him that 63 percent said monitoring key parts of Earth’s climate system should be a top priority for NASA, Bridenstine reportedly answered, “Good.”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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