MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – Landing on the moon appears to be lost in space.

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, only a small percentage of the American populace continues to view the moon landing as a crowning achievement for the nation.

The findings were released by Pew ahead of the 44th anniversary of the landmark moment in the mission, which took place July 20, 1969.

The study, conducted by the center in 2009, found that just 12 percent of all Americans list the “one giant leap for mankind” as the country’s finest moment in the past 50 years. A majority of the votes – 27 percent – went toward advancements in science, medicine and technology, instead.

“These figures represented a decrease in public opinion about the importance of space exploration since 1999, when we polled about the greatest achievement of the 20th century,” a release on the survey noted. “At that time, almost half of Americans (47 percent) mentioned accomplishments in science, medicine or technology as America’s greatest achievement and 18 percent specifically mentioned space exploration and putting a man on the moon.”

Landmark decisions regarding equal and civil rights garnered more votes in 2009 than they did when the survey was first taken at the turn of the century, as did events that took place after the first poll, such as electing the nation’s first black president.

Those polled in 1999 were asked to list the biggest achievement in the previous century, rather than of the previous 50 years.

The biggest percentage of respondents felt that the United States didn’t have a greatest achievement to speak of, however, or did not have a response to offer, according to the release.


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