Bag a bargain on NASA's virtual car boot sale


Atlantis ready for launch

You can sell most things second-hand nowadays, but NASA may be pushing its luck. It's having a virtual car boot sale of all sorts of bits and pieces which have clearly been lying around. From boxes of ring binders, to three 4,100 ton Shuttle launch platforms.

So are there any bargains? And what's the weirdest piece of NASA history for sale?

Launch platforms

By far the weirdest things on the list are the launch platforms. NASA said in a statement: "The three mobile launch platforms were used to hold Saturn rockets and space shuttles as they made their way from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the launch pads in preparation to travel into space." They were later modified for launching shuttles.

They are technically mobile but the enormous structures, built in 1967, are going to be an interesting challenge to transport, and are hardly going to fit into a collector's back garden given that they're 160 feet long and 135 feet wide.

NASA, however, is optimistic. It has suggested they could be used for: "either commercial launch activity; deconstruction; or an alternative option that benefits the public, environment or other entities not associated with the space." To be fair, though, that last category is a bit vague.

There's no starting price, so if you're keen, you need to write to NASA by the end of the month.

Space junk

If that's a bit beyond your pocket - and the realms of normality - then there may still be something that catches your eye.

On the downside, NASA has classed the rest of the items it is selling as space-related junk (anything it thinks is a real collectible - like a space suit - will get offered privately to museums).

On the positive side, this means it's selling directly to the public through the US government's version of eBay, so anyone can get their hands on a slice of space history.

For the keen-eyed bargain-hunter there are a few gems. There's a 1989 jeep in the mix - from the John Glenn research centre. Sadly you'll have no idea if it works because you're not allowed on NASA property to inspect it. However, you could snap it up and run tours of your launch platform in it. You may need deep pockets though - because the price has reached $1,133 with four and a half days left to run.

Alternatively you can buy a laboratory fridge - and hold the claim to fame as having the most unusual kitchen appliance in the country. The bidding had only reached $254 at the time of writing.

There's also a nondescript but practical workbench currently selling for $25. It may not look much, but you could install it in the office and have your own space workstation.

For the jokers, there's a job lot of lab equipment - including water baths, magnetic stirrers and a bag of probes (joke not included) - which is selling for $77.

And if you're willing to take a chance, there are 8 pallets of 'office supplies' which frankly could be anything. The pictures just show some ring binders, sellotape and whiteboard markers. The price had reached $145 at the time of writing, and who knows what could be lurking in those boxes?

But what do you think? Can you spot a bargain, or is this just a load of old space junk?

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