Or maybe the right metaphor is a used car salesman on late-night TV: “Come on down to Crazy Bolden’s! [Flings money in air] We’re givin’ em away!”

Because, in point of fact, they are. Not counting tax, title, and license, of course, which in the Space Shuttle’s case amount to some $28 million. When Discovery returns from its final mission today, some 21 museums will be waiting in the wings to see which will become the lucky custodian of Orbital Vehicle 103, artifact. Atlantis and Endeavour (OVs 4 and 5, respectively) are also up for grabs. Contending institutions include the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in Manhattan, Seattle’s Museum of Flight, Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, and the Smithsonian. More details and used-car metaphors at The New York Times.

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