Minutes after the historic Apollo 11 mission launched in July 1969, its five F-1 engines were discharged and dropped safely into the Atlantic Ocean. For more than 40 years, no one knew exactly where they landed.
Until now. Until Jeff Bezos.
The Amazon CEO announced in a blog post that a team of “undersea pros” found the engines 14,000 below sea level on the floor of the Atlantic. Now, he says, “we’re making plans to raise one or more of them” back to dry land.
Bezos did not disclose how he and his team know for sure the engines are in fact from the Apollo 11 mission, nor did he say how exactly they were located. But he does hope to have the first one that gets raised made available for viewing in the Smithsonian, and a possible second placed on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, where Amazon is headquartered. The engines are still NASA property, but Bezos says no public funding will be used for the rescue mission.
Bezos is not the only incredibly rich guy to do some serious underwater exploring lately. Titanic director James Cameron recently returned from a history-making solo voyage to the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, the deepest underwater location on Earth. Cameron has been discussing the trip on his Twitter account.
The Apollo 11 engine rescue mission is not the only manifestation of Bezos’s love for space exploration. He is a principle operator of the private — and somewhat mysterious — space exploration company Blue Origin. He says his love for space began as a young child watching NASA’s Apollo 11 mission unfold on TV.
“NASA is one of the few institutions I know that can inspire five-year-olds,” Bezos wrote in his blog post. “It sure inspired me, and with this endeavor, maybe we can inspire a few more youth to invent and explore.”
Photo courtesy NASA