Old Lunar Rover Sold For Scrap Was Saved From Junkyard Grave

Yesterday, a report surfaced about a prototype lunar rover that had been sold for scrap, having first gone from a NASA auction to someone's barn, where it sat until the owner passed away and someone in charge of the estate took the rover to a junkyard. It was a sad story about a piece of history being lost forever, but one with an unexpected plot twist. The rover, it turns out, is doing just fine.

After news about the rover's junkyard grave went viral, a scrap dealer contacted Motherboard, which first reported on the matter, to say that he or she had kept the rover. A photo of the lunar rover in its current condition was provided (shown above), which matches images preserved of the rover from its early days (below).

That individual said:

The man who originally bought it, from my understanding, he bought it at an auction. He was a road conditioner [in Alabama]. I can't confirm this is true, but he bought it at a NASA auction many years ago. NASA just discarded a lot of that stuff back then. When it was brought to my scrap facility, I set it aside because I knew what it was. The unit does exist today. It is not scrapped. I have that unit in storage. I've done quite a lot of research on the unit and it's an artifact that needs to be saved

According to the owner, NASA reps visited the junkyard in 2014 and tried to get the rover back. Why the agency stopped trying to get the rover isn't known, however. Says the junkyard owner about that:

NASA knew it was still available. In my mind, they tried to play a trickery game. They wanted me to loan it to them, but I think they just wanted to get it into their possession. They offered me [perks], they offered me everything but cash. NASA told me when they came out to inspect it that they had looked for it for 25 years. It is the von Braun, the first and last they made. I was told it is the rarest of all the units.

What will its ultimate fate be? The unnamed owner, who is staying anonymous at this time, plans to sell the rover.

SOURCE: Motherboard