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Atlantis nears lift off on final NASA shuttle mission. Photo Credit/NASA photoSeventy four percent of adult Americans believe it is at least somewhat important for the United States to have a human space exploration program, and 77 percent of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of NASA, according to a new public opinion survey from Rasmussen Reports.Seventy three percent also believe its important for the United States to excel at robotic exploration, according to findings released on July 12.Those who share a favorable view of NASA are up from 64 percent in January 2010, and nearly match the 80 percent from October.The telephone survey of 1,000 adults conducted on July 9-10 found that 50 percent of Americans believe NASA's 30-year-old space shuttle program has been worth the investment.The poll, taken within two days of the launching of shuttle Atlantis on NASA's STS-135 final shuttle program mission, shows little change in support for the shuttle from October. But support for the shuttle is up from the 40 percent revealed by a similar survey in January 2010.When asked about the future, 38 percent of Americans said the federal government should continue to invest in the space program, and 33 percent believed the private sector should finance the endeavor. The results show little change from an October survey.Eighteen percent of those polled favor greater government spending on space exploration, while 30 pecent say less. Forty percent said the amount should stay the same.The poll reflects a sampling error of plus or minus three percent, Rasmussen reports.
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