So you may think about traveling to the moon after hearing the fate of one of the lunar rovers from NASA. Recently an Alabama resident scrapped one of the NASA lunar rovers at a local scrap yard.
Reported by Vice, the rover was discovered in February 2014 by a US Air Force Historian that spotted it in a backyard while passing through the small town of Blountsville, Alabama. The story broke out through the Freedom of Information Act which was reported by NASA’s Office of the Inspector General, the agency responsible for investigating and recovering lost and stolen NASA property.
Allegedly when NASA was made aware of the lunar rover, they dragged their feet and didn’t contact the owner quickly enough and the fate of the lunar rover was met at the scrap yard and was destroyed. The owner of the rover had passed away by the time NASA contacted him and it had been destroyed by December 2014.
Some History About The Lunar Rover
According to NASA the rover was designed, built, and tested at the Marshall Space Flight Center in 1965 and 1966. It weighed more than 8,000 pounds, was 21-feet long, 15-feet wide, and had 6 wheels with 5-foot diameters. It had the capacity to carry up to 60 pounds of equipment for five miles and a second astronaut could ride in the cargo space if necessary.
Worth A Lot More Than Scrap
No matter how much it was sold for scrap, it would never equal how much it could have been worth if it was resold as a historical artifact. Similar items have been sold for upwards $43,000. No single rover has been sold as a whole unit, but rather the parts have been sold within the United States. The historical value to NASA for items such as a lunar rover is the reason why they have an investigative division but seems to have missed the moon on this one.
*UPDATE* – The Rover Has Been Saved
According to an update by Vice, the scrap yard owner was able to save the rover from being destroyed. He also confirmed that the rover he has in possession is in the one that Saturn V rocket scientist Wernher von Braun was riding in the picture at the top of this article.