Have you seen/read The Martian?
What's so sad about the movie/book is that it is a reminder of what could have been.
Part of the premise is that after the Apollo program, the U.S. continued their plans for landing on Mars. Such plans were dropped for the less ambitious Shuttle program.
Think about it. In most science fiction the science is unbelievable. In The Martian, the science was pretty darn accurate and the unbelievable part is that U.S. politicians had the audacity to continue NASA's funding level.