(Washington, DC) With goals ranging from new launch vehicles to establishing bases on the Moon and Mars, cash-strapped NASA is resorting to selling off space hardware and historic artifacts in order to make ends meet.
"Congress and the Administration want us to do more with less money, and this is the only way we see to accomplish all of the tasks we have been given", explained newly-named NASA Associate Administrator for Space Sales, Amanda Tapping. "We have warehouses full of stuff just sitting there and collecting dust. It's time to put it to use again."
The artifacts range from satellites that were never launched, to old space suits, to hundreds of pounds of Moon rocks. It is estimated that the moon rocks alone might pay for a mission to Mars. A very small sample (0.2 grams) of Moon rock returned on a 1970 Soviet unmanned mission sold in 1993 for $442,500. "At that price, the 842 pounds of rocks we returned on six Apollo missions would be worth close to $850 billion!", exclaimed Ms. Tapping.
"We are looking at auctioning alot of our excess inventory on eBay", explained Ms. Tapping. "The value of some of this stuff could actually be alot greater that we think. We still haven't decided whether to offer 'buy it now' prices since we really aren't sure what it's worth."
In the past, some NASA space hardware has been sold off as junk, "excessed" materials that sold for little more than the value of the scrap metal that it contained. ecoEnquirer talked with one collector who has gathered a variety of space hardware in his barn, including a multi-million dollar satellite from the 1960's that he purchased for only $50. The man, who declined to be identified, said "I think it's a great idea for NASA to start selling these items as historic artifacts..the value of my holdings will skyrocket!".
It is not known how high a price the Space Shuttles will command when they are finally retired. "They are a little banged up, some wear on the seat leather", said Ms. Tapping, "but we don't think you will find a comparable buy anywhere in the solar system."
It is rumored that NASA also has some pieces of hardware that very few people know about. "If we can get congressional approval to sell some of the stuff we have in Area 51, we could see some huge earnings", explained Ms. Tapping. "Several pieces of what we believe to be alien spaceship wreckage were returned from the Moon on the Apollo 15 and 16 missions...stuff so exotic that we don't even know what it is made of. If we are given the OK, I'm going to have signs made that say 'Huge Sale: Everything Must GO!' "
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