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'They threw my laptop into the atmosphere'

And other wonderful lost property excuses from NASA

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Public spending watchdogs in the US have slammed NASA for having such terrible property control procedures that employees have "lost" $94m worth of kit in the last decade.

It says the agency does not have "effective control" over the $35bn of property that it reports on in its financial statements.

It cites one employee who excused himself (or herself) of losing a laptop worth $4,000 with the explanation that the machine had burned up in the atmosphere.

The lost equipment report included the following explanation: "This computer, although assigned to me, was being used on board the International Space Station. I was informed that it was tossed overboard to be burned up in the atmosphere when it failed."

Well, that sounds perfectly reasonable to us...certainly it is hard to see how the computer could be recovered.

Other excuses the beancounters were unhappy about included the classic "I borrowed it for my wife and never got a receipt when I gave it back", "I lent it to someone but forget who", and the immortal: "We looked everywhere, but couldn't find it". This last one related to 65 items worth a total of $850,000.

The full report is here (excuses on page 16), but you can read the highlights here instead. ®

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