Recovered ceramic heat shield tiles, which are designed to keep SpaceX's massive Starship cool during reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, are selling for thousands of dollars on eBay — a lucrative secondary market for unique souvenirs that were once attached to the some of the largest humanmade objects to ever take flight.

The Elon Musk-led company has attempted to launch three fully-stacked Starship prototypes into orbit so far. The first two attempts, in April and November of last year, ended in massive explosions, sending what remained of roughly 18,000 hexagonal ceramic tiles across the nearby beaches of South Texas each time.

The third and latest orbital launch attempt last week saw the latest prototype make it into space, blast past the continent of Africa, and crash into the Indian Ocean.

However, it's still possible heat shields may have popped off during launch.

"Got mine," one lucky redditor wrote in a post last week after stumbling upon a perfectly preserved heat shield tile on a beach six miles north of SpaceX's testing facilities in Boca Chica, Texas. "I’m the latest happy owner of a fully intact Starship heat tile. Apparently mine is 'OK.'"

"I was giddy as a child when I realized what it was," the user wrote.

"The timing of it showing up on the beach is about right for it to have been dropped right offshore from the beach," the redditor suggested in a separate comment. "When the road opens at the launch site and people go down to Boca Chica beach, I imagine they will find many more."

That appears to have been the case, with at least one other user discovering their own tile.

Tiles have also been discovered after the company's first dramatic orbital launch attempt.

Some owners are opting to make a buck out of their rare find, selling them on eBay from anywhere from $30 for a broken tile to well over $2,000 for a mostly intact one. Etsy is also teeming with listings for purported pieces of heat shield debris, packaged in small glass bottles.

Sellers are optimistic for how much money they could make. One tile is being listed for a whopping $7,500 on eBay, though whether it'll sell for anywhere near that price remains unclear. A search of already sold items shows that one tile was sold for $3,395 on Monday.

One eBay seller told Futurism that they found a tile leftover from the company's latest launch attempt "floating in the water near the end of the jetties on South Padre island."

SpaceX "thanked me for the information and said I could ship the pieces to them or keep them," the user told Futurism, after notifying the company's "debris reporting hotline and email."

"I chose to keep them," they added.

"I counted five pieces recovered by three of us," they wrote. "There were some small pieces, but I could not reach them. We weren't really actively searching for the pieces, just trying to catch fish when they floated by."

"I mean who doesn’t want a tile of the biggest rocket ever to be flown," another eBay seller told us.

And did any fragments fall off that weren't heat tiles?

"Everyone wants a piece of history in the making," they said, "but to answer your question no that rocket is solid."

The surrounding area has become a hotspot for local relic hunters.

In a January interview with the San Antonio Express-News, treasure hunter Ron Parker recalled finding small pieces of heat shield tiles on the beaches near SpaceX's testing grounds. But he hit the motherlode when he traveled to La Pesca, Mexico, some 155 miles from Starbase.

"Since then, I’ve made 11 trips to Mexico and drove thousands of miles on the beaches," he told the newspaper. According to the report, he's found 120 whole tiles and hundreds of pieces.

"Where’s the rest of them?" he added. "That’s my question."

SpaceX opted to cover one side of its behemoth Starship in charcoal-black, hexagonal tiles to help it survive the blistering trip through the Earth's atmosphere while traveling at 25 times the speed of sound.

Early launch attempts saw heat shield tiles popping off prototypes.

"Headed tank vent knocked off a few tiles," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote following a September 2021 venting test.

Last week, we really saw the tiles in action. Clips uploaded by the space company on X-formerly-Twitter show the underside of the spacecraft dubbed Ship 28 being engulfed in an orange-red glow, a "hot plasma field" that grew as it reentered the atmosphere, according to Musk.

The individual hexagonal tiles have seemingly become a well-beloved artifact for staff at the space company. An image that went viral in 2022 shows SpaceX CEO Elon Musk using what appears to be a tile as a snack tray.

Employees who worked on the Starship program were also given a bronze Starship tile collectible — which, of course, are also being sold on eBay for over $1,000.

More on Starship: Elon Musk Says Future Version of Starship Will Travel Between Star Systems

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