Shortly after NASA shared the first stunning images from the agency’s new powerful James Webb Space Telescope, a new online poll asks Americans: Is a nearly $10 billion observatory a good investment ? The resounding answer is: yes.
Today, marketing and data analytics firm YouGov released an online poll of 1,000 Americans asking them about their overall opinion of NASA and whether various space programs are good investments. About 70 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of NASA, and 60 percent thought the James Webb Space Telescope or JWST was worthy.
YouGov noted that the poll was conducted between July 14 and July 18, after NASA released the first dazzling JWST images of blazing galaxies and nebulae on July 12.These images seem to be good enough to outperform some JWST past dramas. The telescope may be in space and operational now, but getting to that point is a long and painful journey. Before its launch, the development of JWST was marked by severe delays and budget overruns. Initially, NASA and mission planners hoped to launch the telescope sometime between 2007 and 2011 at a relatively low cost of $1 to $3.5 billion. But the telescope has endured a dizzying series of scheduling blunders and accidents.Total life-cycle cost of JWST by the time it finally launches in Christmas 2021 standing $9.7 billion.
NEW: As the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope are released, three in five Americans say the telescope is a good investment. A quarter (26%) were unsure, and 13% said it was a poor investment. https://t.co/gcL65FIjLE pic.twitter.com/AwJxbSkZVF
— YouGov America (@YouGovAmerica) July 19, 2022
To be fair, JWST’s nearly $10 billion price tag is NASA’s life-cycle cost, so that includes most of its development since the early 2000s, as well as its first five years of operation, according to The Planetary Society. The Planetary Society also noted that the total cost of JWST represents 0.0095% of all U.S. spending between 2003 and 2026.
Of course, most people When they looked at the intricate Carina Nebula captured in incredible detail by JWST, the polls probably weren’t thinking about the price tag. People become poetic when showing already iconic images. “Amazed at the incredible beauty of the face,” said one person who responded to a YouGov poll. “I’m overwhelmed by this,” another wrote. “It’s amazing to be able to see so much detail in such a tiny universe.”
These first images are just a small preview of what’s to come. Stunning photos and revelations will only continue to emerge the longer the telescope travels in space. Respondents to the poll said they were hungry for more. “Some praised NASA’s ongoing space exploration for its broader contribution to scientific knowledge, others said they were looking forward to seeing what else the telescope revealed,” YouGov wrote in its press release.
YouGov also surveyed respondents about other space investments, including the Hubble Space Telescope currently in Earth orbit, the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle program. All received generally favorable reviews.