Re: Am I the only person...
I still hold the belief that they should just send up a bunch of tiny robots. Literally remote control cars or similar. Send them out, with cameras, let them wander off.
The big science missions really need to focus on one thing, and they need to find the best place to do that (i.e. best rock, best strata, etc.). Sending out a bunch of tiny mobile robots with cameras, controlled by some primitive lander that can talk to them on NASA's behalf. If they break? So what, there's others. If they get stuck, leave them or get the others to help them out. If they find something interesting (e.g. that "metal object" crap the other week), swarm over the site from all angles with all nearby units.
You would cover so much more ground in so much more detail, for much less cost (and, hell, piggyback on the back of a "proper" mission if you like) and it would be good for actually *exploring* the planet. You could even let a few schools sponsor / control one of their bots each, etc. And because the build quality doesn't have to be enormous, you can send a lot more than you would be able to otherwise. The rovers covered more ground and more science than they were ever intended to, and I think a cheap swarm of tiny automated things would be able to find a lot more interesting stuff out.
We literally shoot darts at a planet and hope the things that look interesting turn out to be interesting when we're close up. I'm still hoping for a piggyback-mission that basically consists of a box which, dropped on an empty bit of the planet away from anything "serious" has a dozen or more little remote control solar-powered cars with cameras on that then wander off to do whatever they want. Maybe you could even blacklist areas of special scientific interest to stop them interfering with existing missions if you want.
I think the biggest problem, though, is really contamination. It would basically be impossible after that to tell if something found was native to the planet or introduced.
The science is interesting. But there's a factor of exploration, involvement, funding, and even just keeping people interested. I find the Curiosity rover too boring and slow to bother to keep track of. Sure, I'd like to hear they found something, but I found Spirit and Opportunity much more interesting. And at some point science will have to give way to politics, engineering, habitation, etc. Somewhere in-between I think is the sweet-spot for just letting a bunch of people lose on the planet to find all those quirky little things that we can't see and won't be able to touch properly for centuries.