Prototype 'moon buggy' rediscovered in North Alabama garage

Prototype 'moon buggy' rediscovered in North Alabama garage

ARAB, AL (WAFF) - If you're of a certain age, you remember the lunar rovers, or "moon buggies," as they were called, making journeys to the moon.

But there's one moon buggy that never made it to the moon, but it's had a pretty interesting journey back here on Earth.

"Well, that's it. Wow!"

That was Otha Vaughan's first reaction upon seeing this moon buggy.

Vaughan, a retired NASA engineer who worked on the lunar rover program, says he believes this is one of the first prototypes.

"I'm pretty positive this is it. Pretty confident," he said. "It amazes me they found this one."

"I think it's a needle in a haystack," said Johnny Worley, the owner of the rover, before editing himself: "I think it's a needle in the ocean."

Worley is a scrapyard owner who found it sitting in an old garage in a rural North Alabama town.

He was told it had been purchased at a NASA auction.

"I knew what it was, but anybody else would have scrapped it," said Worley.

That explains how it wound up here. But perhaps a more relevant question is why NASA relinquished it in the first place?

"If it's flight hardware, you want to take care of it. If it's test hardware, you don't necessarily want to keep it," said Vaughan.

The rover is weathered and worn and missing a few parts. But Johnny Worley's hope is that he'll find a special buyer when he auctions it off later this month.

"I would really love to see someone take this and put it back the way it was," Worley said.

NASA has reached out to Worley saying they wouldn't mind having it back.

One thing's for sure, even though it'll never make it to the moon, this little artifact's journey here on planet Earth appears to be far from over.

Copyright 2015 WAFF. All rights reserved.