Inside the Crazy Museum Battle to Own Discovery

21 places are clamoring for it ... but the quietest spot might get it
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Suggested by anothernewsjunkie
Posted Mar 9, 2011 11:26 AM CST
Inside the Crazy Museum Battle to Own Discovery
In this image provided by NASA the space shuttle Discovery is seen from the International Space Station as the two orbital spacecraft accomplish their relative separation on March 7, 2011.   (AP Photo/NASA)

Discovery returns to Earth today then will continue on to its final resting place ... location TBD. The 27-year-old shuttle (along with sister orbiters Endeavour and Atlantis) is one hot property these days, with 21 museums angling for the right to house it—and pay the $28.8 million it will cost to prepare and transport it. And they're really going to town in their efforts to woo NASA. The visitor center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston has set up the website NYC's the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum has gotten 150,000 people to sign a petition requesting one of the three.

And the Museum of Flight in Seattle went so far as to this week erect the first wall of a new $12 million wing that will house ... the shuttle it hasn't yet gotten. Funny enough, the place many expect Discovery to go has been all but silent: the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. NASA offered it Discovery three years ago, reports the New York Times, and Congress included a clause in a budget bill passed in December that exempts the museum from the $28.8 million fee. A rep will only say that the museum is "involved in discussions with NASA." NASA will announce the final destination for the three shuttles—which will be flown to their respective locales on the backs of 747 airplanes—on April 12. (Click to read what Captain Kirk has to do with Discovery's final flight.)

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