NASA Lunar Rover Prototype Estimated to Fetch $150,000 at Auction

The right half of the featured photo shows an original 1960s lunar rover prototype. The left half depicts the current state of the lunar rover. Would you pay a far-fetched $150,000 for the opportunity of owning this rusty bucket of bolts?
NASA Lunar Rover prototype 8 photos
Photo: Edited by autoevolution
NASA Lunar Rover prototypeNASA Lunar Rover prototypeNASA Lunar Rover prototypeNASA Lunar Rover prototypeNASA Lunar Rover prototypeNASA Lunar Rover prototypeNASA Lunar Rover prototype
RR Auction believes someone will. Though it presents itself in a poor state, the Local Scientific Survey Module developed for NASA by Brown Engineering has a good chance of fetching that money. Care to guess who the gentleman driving the moon buggy in said photograph is? His name is Wernher von Braun.

Braun is credited with inventing two things that shaped the world in the 20th century: the V-2 rocket used by Nazi Germany during World War II and the Saturn V three-stage liquid-fueled rocket developed to support the Apollo program. I don’t know about you, but being a rocket scientist sure seems to be fun.

After R&D for the lunar rover came to a close in 1966, the prototype in question has been disposed of, only to end in the hands of a scrap metal dealer. Happily, however, the rover was rediscovered last year and it is an authentic example of the breed. At least that’s what Otha Vaughan, a member of Wernher von Braun’s team, has declared after examining the vehicle. The prototype didn’t go into space, though.

The closest this thing got to the moon was aboard NASA’s KC-135 Zero G reduced-gravity aircraft, “to get some idea of how she would bounce with rubber tires and things like that.” In other words, the boffins at NASA evaluated how the prototype would behave in zero gravity. The question is, would you choose this jalopy over Gus Grissom’s Corvette? I'm scared of flying, which is why I'll choose the Corvette and its thumping great 7-liter big-block V8.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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