PARIS – A poll released on Wednesday by a market research agency on behalf of the European Space Agency surveying citizens from Europe’s five most populous countries to gain a better understanding about how issues related to space are perceived found that Spaniards were the most convinced of the sector’s benefits to everyday life.
According to the survey by Harris Interactive, over 90 percent of Spain’s population agrees that space activities provide a better understanding of both the Universe and the Solar System, make life on Earth easier by facilitating transportation and contribute towards the development of telecommunication systems, like 5G.
“The good perception of space activities in general may be due to the many indirect benefits that Europeans credit to space activities developed in Europe, in particular the ability to stimulate scientific research and progress (91%), make people dream (85%) and, more precisely, to inspire younger generations (84%),” the poll said.
The biggest poll ever carried out and measuring Europeans’ perception of space activities took place between Dec. 20-21 among 5,227 individuals from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.
Spaniards considered that space activities were capable of protecting infrastructure from asteroids and solar flares.
Spain’s population also top those agreeing the space industry encourages research and scientific progress (94 percent), enables international cooperation (87 percent) provides employment (86 percent) and economic wealth (69 percent).
Italians share a similar level of enthusiasm regarding the space sector, while even the most subdued response, the UK population, showed an 86 percent positive response.
Among all polled, the three main shared concerns and priorities were identifying climate change effects (91 percent), better understanding Earth sciences (90 percent) and expanding knowledge of the Universe (87 percent).
Although 88 percent of the citizens polled believed data theft was a threat, three out of four respondents considered space junk, asteroids and solar flares a threat.
Germans were the most convinced of their country’s importance in the spatial sector, while Spaniards were the most modest (52 percent).
Europeans significantly overestimated the cost of space activities for public finances, although nine out of 10 respondents believed European nations should increase their space expenditure.
Only a third knew what the acronym ESA stood for or that Europe’s space activities annually cost every European 10 euros, with the average respondent having suggested 245 euros per citizen.