Preaching to the converted? An analysis of the UK public for space exploration

Public Underst Sci. 2013 Apr;22(3):269-86. doi: 10.1177/0963662511411255. Epub 2011 Jul 26.


This article presents the results of a survey carried out at two space outreach events in the UK aimed at characterising "the public for space exploration" and measuring public support for space exploration. Attitude towards space exploration and policy preferences were used as measures of public support. The sample involved 744 respondents and was mainly composed of adults between 25 and 45 years old, with men slightly over-represented compared with women. Findings revealed that males appeared to be stronger supporters than females - men had a more positive attitude towards space exploration and stronger space policy preferences. Because mixed groups tend to come together to such events we argue that male respondents would be more likely to be part of the "attentive" and "interested" public who come to outreach activities and bring a less interested public with them.

Keywords: gender and science; political support for space exploration; public attitudes; public opinion; science communication; science outreach events; space exploration.