The total savings of canceling the Apollo missions was a paltry $42 million - all the rockets and spacecraft had been built for the ambitious expeditions. Today, they are now rusting away as some of the most expensive museum pieces ever constructed.
What's more, the moon rock samples were derided by late night TV comedians because of the expense of fetching them and bringing them down to Earth. In reality, they are 4.4 billion year-old time capsules immeasurably more valuable than gold, ounce for ounce.
But in the early 1970s, there was no popular scientist with the communication skills of Carl Sagan (who didn't become a TV persona until later) or Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who could articulate the value of lunar science. The American public was tone deaf to what was self-evident to space geologists.
What is especially sad is that most potentially scientifically rewarding, dramatic, and risk-taking sites were planned for Apollo 18-20 missions.
Possible landing sites were the young and large impact craters Copernicus, Gassendi and Tycho. Their craggy central peaks were thrust upward at the time of impacts, bringing material from deep within the lunar crust to the surface (Tycho's central peaks are shown in the leading image).