Space: The Payoff Was Perfection

The ungainly gadget carried no human passengers. But as it eased its complex cargo to a soft landing on the moon's Ocean of Storms last week, the U.S. spacecraft, Surveyor I, moved man himself closer than ever to a landing on his nearest planetary neighbor. In an exercise of textbook perfection, Surveyor settled down only a few miles from its planned target; its TV camera panned across the lunar landscape and high-quality pictures streamed back to earth. For a program that had languished for years in exasperating delay, expanding expenses and mounting...