One-quarter of Americans are interested in living in a Mars colony for the rest of their lives

Linley SandersData Journalist
July 15, 2021, 1:00 PM GMT+0

Billionaire Elon Musk created the private rocket company, SpaceX, with ambitions of expanding humans’ travel to the moon and other planets. In addition to personally traveling to the moon, Musk aspires to colonize Mars and spend the later part of his life there.

Musk hopes to create a human settlement on the Red Planet that could house one million people in the next 30 years. Data from YouGov indicates that even with a safe trip guaranteed (which Musk himself has said is unlikely), Americans are not interested in going to Mars for the remainder of their days.

Three in five Americans (62%) are not interested in living on Mars long-term, a number that includes most men (57%) and two-thirds of women (67%). Four in five Americans who are 55 years and older (80%) want to stay on Earth, as do most 35-to 54-year-olds (57%). Musk may have a bit more luck recruiting younger Americans for his Mars mission: 45% of 18-to 34-year-olds would want to live on Mars in a colony, while 41% would not.

Whether Musk’s aspirations will become reality is another question. Americans are split on whether the first humans will even land on Mars in their lifetime (45% say it’s very or fairly likely, 42% don’t think it’s likely to happen). Younger Americans are a bit more optimistic that humans could land on Earth’s neighbor in their lifetime. Three in five 18-to 34-year-olds (60%) think this will happen in their lifetime, but three in 10 are doubtful (29%).

See the crosstabs from this YouGov poll.

Methodology: 1,312 US adults were surveyed in this YouGov RealTime survey between May 7-10, 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

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