Nearly half of Americans want space travel but few would pay $100K for it: survey

Apparently, space travel is a popular desire among nearly half of American adults.

A new ValuePenguin survey conducted by Qualtrics interviewed 2,000 U.S. consumers on space tourism and found that 49% of Americans would like to space travel if money wasn’t an issue.

For most people though, the cost of commercial space travel is too high. Only one in five – 19% – of the survey’s respondents said they’d be willing to spend $100,000 or more to travel the galaxy.

Meanwhile, 21% of consumers said they’d be willing to take on debt to participate in the exclusive activity.

Twenty-three percent of the survey’s respondents said they’d choose a free space trip over being debt-free. Men and Gen Z (age 18 to 24) tied and led the charge with the highest number of respondents wanting space travel over debt wiping at 28%.

"I'm not surprised in the least that so many Americans want to travel to space. It's been a fantasy for decades for millions of Americans, myself included," LendingTree’s Chief Industry Analyst Matt Schulz told FOX Business, regarding the survey’s findings. "The truth, however, is that the crazy-high cost means that it will remain little more than a fantasy for all but the wealthiest Americans for years to come."

He went on, "I am surprised that so many high-income Americans say they'd be willing to drop $100,000 or more on space travel. Perhaps I shouldn't be, though. When it comes to spending, more and more people are prioritizing experiences over things, and traveling to space would just be the ultimate experience for those who can afford it."

Three in five survey respondents said they think space travel should be accessible for everyone and roughly two in five (41%) said they think billionaires shouldn’t be spending as much money as they are on space travel.

In May, Jeff Bezos’ space company Blue Origin auctioned off seats on its suborbital rocket New Shepard, which received a winning bid that was as high as $2.6 million. 

Three months later, Richard Branson’s space company Virgin Galactic began selling rocket plane seats starting at $450,000 per person, according to Reuters.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has also made significant strides in pushing commercial space travel forward. In September, Musk joined three space tourists on a world-circling rocket, which didn’t have a professional astronaut onboard, the Associated Press reported at the time.

Musk reportedly spent millions of dollars to make the space mission happen, but the exact amount was undisclosed.

Going back to ValuePenguin’s survey, roughly one in four (24%) respondents believe space tourism isn’t ethical and could contribute to climate change.

Fifty-one percent of the survey’s respondents said they don’t want to travel in space. Of those who said no, 54% claimed they’re just not interested, 39% claimed they think space tourism is dangerous and 29% claimed that they’re scared of space travel.

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