Long-time Slashdot reader Joe_NoOne quotes Ars Technica:
A pair of Apollo-era NASA computers and hundreds of mysterious tape reels have been discovered in a deceased engineer’s basement in Pittsburgh… Most of the tapes are unmarked, but the majority of the rest appear to be instrumentation reels for Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, NASA’s fly-by missions to Jupiter and Saturn… At some point in the early 1970s, an IBM engineer working for NASA at the height of the Space Race took home the computers — and the mysterious tape reels. A scrap dealer, invited to clean out the deceased’s electronics-filled basement, discovered the computers. The devices were clearly labelled “NASA PROPERTY,” so the dealer called NASA to report the find. “Please tell NASA these items were not stolen,” the engineer’s heir told the scrap dealer, according to the report. “They belonged to IBM Allegheny Center Pittsburgh, PA 15212. During the 1968-1972 timeframe, IBM was getting rid of the items so [redacted engineer] asked if he could have them and was told he could have them.”
“NASA told the family of the deceased that it was not in the junk removal business,” Ars Technica reports, adding “The two computers are so heavy that a crane was likely used to move the machines.” A NASA archivist concluded there’s no evidence the tapes contained anything of historic significance.
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