Following the example of car-pooling commuters, the United States should cooperate with the Soviet Union and other nations in exploring space to save money, according to many of those who will have to foot the bill.
Seventy-one percent of about 15,000 sixth- to 12th-graders nationwide, responding to a questionnaire, said they oppose raising taxes so the United States could "go it alone" on a mammoth and costly manned expedition to Mars that could span several decades.
Ninety percent of the respondents supported the U.S. space program overall, and 74 percent supported the idea of a manned outpost on Mars.
Rep. Bill Green (N.Y.), ranking Republican on the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, had the questionnaire published in Science World, a nationally distributed school newspaper.
"Twelve-year-olds cannot make policy, but the views of future worker-taxpayers should be part of the mix of information used in deciding the future of such a project," Green said.
He said their vote is "sophisticated" and "shows a sense of adventure combined with concern for people and an appreciation of finances."
While many respondents expressed the belief that international cooperation would increase the chance of peace and make available more money for the poor, some viewed it more personally.
One youngster said he fears that increased taxes would lead to a cut in his allowance.