In your latest lunar analogy, I see major flaw. You ignore the "what if" factor completely.
The amount of tax-payer dollars spent on scientific pursuits is VERY LIMITED! Searching for platinum is best left for privately funded business interests. The idea of the moon as a __rich source__of any natural resources is laughable.
We (the U.S.) went to the moon for POLITICAL reasons, not scientific ones.
When the Russians appeared to have a major lead in science, space exploration and technology (*appeared, I said*) it became
an enormous propaganda weapon against the west. Kennedy challenged America with fanciful rhetoric to rally to the cause, but, suffice it to say his motives were not the gain of platinum from the moon's surface! (The idea of using the moon as a military base and satellites as spy technology comes to mind.)
Our Federal Government squanders the money it receives from its citizens on every lunatic idea that it can. A limited number of its expenditures is more than a sop thrown to its constituency at a local level. Neither science nor the taxpayer is well-served by WHAT IF scenarios requiring billions and billions of dollars.
So, to be perfectly lucid about what I am saying I'll sum up. Science should not stop exploring, but, it should have priorities about how it applies whatever limited assets (i.e. money) are available. My comment about the moon in my previous post explained that we went TOO MANY TIMES. We went because we could. It was an excuse to keep NASA funding alive.
Our Federal Government, the military and science itself often squanders its time and assets on foolhardy nonsensical investigations without proper controls. There have been projects on E.S.P., remote viewing, UFO's, and a whole host of other quackery. That isn't really what science does best. The lone individual scientific mind is worth any three thinktank collectives.
Einstein's entire theoretical output (of any consequence) happened early in his life. His latter days he was a kind of philsopher-king and celebrity rockstar. When he was alone in the Patent Office in Switzerland he created his legacy in science; not in that silly thinktank he joined in the 50's.