Expensive NASA equipment found in North Texas

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by MONIKA DIAZ and STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on May 31, 2012 at 9:26 AM

DALLAS -- It was a mystery worth millions, but now it has been solved.

News 8 has learned that science equipment heading from Minneapolis to Palestine, Texas, that was missing for days was found Wednesday evening.  

Sources tell News 8, the load worth millions was discovered in its trailer in Dallas. The location of the trailer has not yet been released, but we've been told all of the equipment should be inside, because a protective seal in the back of trailer remains intact.

The equipment is part of a NASA-funded experiment. The truck carrying it left the University of Minnesota's School of Physics and Astronomy Friday, but never made it to Palestine.

The school of physics and astronomy is a key player in the $8-million experiment to launch a balloon telescope to study the origins of the universe. The university hired Copeland Trucking to haul their experiment to NASA's balloon operations headquarters in East Texas.

"It can't fly without this,” said one of the researchers. “These are the detectors. This is the telescope that's taking pictures of the sky. You don't have a telescope, you're not taking pictures of the sky."

The company sent a team to find a driver this week. His GPS showed his last known location at the Flying J truck stop on Interstate 20 in Dallas.

Wednesday his cab was found at another truck stop just a few miles away. The driver was inside, but the trailer was not attached to the cab.

Dallas police are investigating.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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