A recent survey, carried out on behalf of The Space Review, has revealed that the average American believes a quarter of the country's public purse goes towards funding NASA.
The survey found that most people reported the belief that NASA is almost as well funded as the military. The Department of Defense does receive roughly 21 per cent of the nation's wonga, but most people overestimated this by a further 12 per cent.
In reality, NASA gets something like 0.6 per cent of the natonal budget, a fact which researchers report came as a surprise to those being surveyed. According to The Space Review, one participant replied "No wonder we haven’t gone anywhere!".
The survey formed part of a larger analysis of the costs and benefits of having a publicly funded space agency. The writers argue that people have scant knowledge of what NASA actually does. Combined with the huge overestimates of the cost of running NASA, it is not surprising that people often regard it as being poor value for money. ®
We'd like to add, before the anti-American/pro-American flame wars begin, that we're pretty sure similar levels of daftness pervade our own population. Have you ever watched Big Brother? Probably best not to mock too loudly. ®