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In the beginning of Avengers movie, Tesseract was seen at a NASA research lab (where Loki appeared).

In-universe, it can be seen that S.H.I.E.L.D. is resourceful when it comes to research. It has top-notch scientists, big funds and secret expertise in alien things. Plus, Tesseract was a sensitive subject which should be more secure in secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities. What was the point of giving Tesseract to NASA?

Out-of-universe, has it been officially confirmed that they chose NASA because it's popular targeting those who aren't too much into Marvel Universe to know about S.H.I.E.L.D.? Or, is there any other reason why they chose to involve NASA? If you replace NASA with a S.H.I.E.L.D. research facility, nothing in the movie would change. Why did they chose NASA?

  • In-universe: Maybe NASA wanted a peek at SHIELD's top-secret stuff, in order to study/examine it themselves. – PartyKingThrandeezy May 19 '14 at 18:52
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    Why do you think SHIELD “gave” the Tesseract to NASA? Much more likely they were pooling their expertise. SHIELD may be powerful, but they aren’t omnipotent. – alexwlchan May 19 '14 at 18:54
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    I'll have to rewatch it, but I thought that was a SHIELD base, which is why they also had Phase II on site. Why would they have a top secret project at a semi-unsecure site? – Monty129 May 19 '14 at 19:04
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S.H.I.E.L.D didn't "give" the Tesseract to NASA. They were researching it together in a joint operation.

The Script makes multiple mentions that the base is a S.H.I.E.L.D project facility.

EXT. S.H.I.E.L.D. PROJECT P.E.G.A.S.U.S FACILITY - NIGHT

The specific work on the Tesseract is being done in a NASA chamber

INT. NASA SPACE RADIATION FACILITY, VACUUM CHAMBER – CONTINUOUS Fury enters the lab facility where the Tesseract is being held by a COMPACT MUON SOLENOID COIL CHAMBER.

It is my understanding that the NASA Chamber is within the facility owned and controlled by S.H.I.E.L.D. Following the scenes in the script, where we go further into the facility, eventually to the test chamber - and then back out through Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S tunnels supports this idea.

Marvel Movie Wikia explains

Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. was a joint venture between S.H.I.E.L.D. and N.A.S.A., formed to investigate phenomena beyond the range of conventional scientific understanding.

This can be seen in the screencap below. Notice the word Joint meaning that the facility was shared between NASA Space radiation dept and the SHIELD accelerator.

enter image description here

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