Re: Ranger etc. missions
I remember Surveyor. I though it was pretty cool that Apollo XII went to visit the thing, see how it had been doing all of those years. A relative of mine designed one of the sensors on the thing, and I was really interested in space stuff at the time. EVERYONE was. It was a good time in that regard, being interested in ACCOMPLISHMENT. Compare that to now. Yeah.
NASA did great things in many ways because it had support. In part that requires leadership that believes in such things (like JFK). "OK we did that... but NOW what?" The 'now what' wasn't clear enough, or thought to be important enough, and the implications are now obvious.