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An early test prototype of the Apollo lunar rovers, apparently parked in an Alabama backyard for decades, was sold for scrap and lost when the estate of its owner was liquidated.
“It has come to the attention of the Marshall Space Flight Center historian that you may be in the possession of a prototype of a Lunar Roving Vehicle,” NASA wrote to the buggy’s owner in an August 2014 letter requesting that the LRV be turned over. “Returning the vehicle to the Marshall Space Flight Center would allow MSFC to restore [it] so it might be used for historical and educational purposes.”
Unfortunately, the letter arrived too late. “Upon contacting the current owner,” NASA’s Office of the Inspector General reported in December, “we learned the LRV had been sold for scrap after [redacted] had passed away.”