In 1969, five engines from the Saturn V rocket that propelled Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon separated from the rocket and splashed down into the Atlantic Ocean. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos now claims he’s found F-1 engines similar to those from the Apollo mission.
The engines are resting 14,000 feet below the surface of the Atlantic, and Bezos wants to raise at least one of them to the surface.
“We don't know yet what condition these engines might be in,” Bezos wrote after the expedition. “They hit the ocean at high velocity and have been in salt water for more than 40 years. On the other hand, they're made of tough stuff, so we'll see.”
Bezos is just one of a series of celebrities who traded in vacations in the Hamptons and yacht trips to Saint Bart’s for undersea exploration. James Cameron recently rode a submarine to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot on Earth.
“James Cameron achieved 8,000 meters [deep], a huge accomplishment,” Chris Welsh posted on the Virgin Oceanic (News - Alert) website. “A dozen people have visited the moon. It happens that the 8,000 meter mark is now a club of 12 people, just like those who have landed on the moon.”
Cameron’s trip sought to bring attention to the condition of the world’s oceans. According to Sylvia Earle of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ocean exploration is far behind the curve of where it needs to be.
“Those of us with decades of exploration [experience know that] the ocean is in trouble, and therefore so are we,” she said.
Bezos’s expedition, on the other hand, seeks to draw attention to space exploration and its ability to inspire. “With this endeavor,” Bezos wrote, “maybe we can inspire a few more youth to invent and explore.”
Bezos was quiet about how his team had ascertained that the engines found on the ocean floor were from Apollo 11. He also said nothing about funding for the effort to raise the engines to the surface except that it would be done with “private funds.”
While Bezos acknowledges that the engines are the property of NASA, he expressed hope they will be soon display in a museum. NASA has not been contacted by Bezos, but a spokesman expressed excitement about the discovery and about Bezos’s attempt to raise the Apollo 11 engines.
Bezos also owns a company called Blue Origin, which is developing a rocket that can take passengers to suborbital space. The project has NASA funding, although a test flight last year ended when the vehicle destabilized and crashed from 45,000 feet.
Edited by Braden Becker