Jeff Bezos, billionaire founder and CEO of Amazon.com isn’t just interested in selling you stuff, he’s also interested in history, particularly NASAs history.
From December 21, 1968 to December 7, 1972 NASAs Apollo Program sent 12 men to the Moon aboard the most powerful rocket ever created, the Saturn V. Weighing 5 million pounds the Saturn V rocket could produce over seven and a half million pounds of force as it climbed through the Earth atmosphere.
Key to this massive push was the rocket’s first stage of 5 Rocketdyne F-1 engines. Although they were the most powerful liquid fueled rocket ever, the F-1 engines had a short lifespan. After consuming over 31,000 gallons of rocket fuel and another 49,000 gallons of liquid oxygen during its 2 minute burn phase, the F-1 rockets were jettisoned into the Atlantic Ocean, where they remained undiscovered.
Enter Jeff Bezos.
For the past 3 weeks Jeff Bezos and a team of explorers have been using Remote Operating Vehicles (ROVs) to explore the Atlantic depths where they believed the F-1 rocket engines from Apollo 11 are located.
According to Bezos, “The technology used for the recovery is in its own way as otherworldly as the Apollo technology itself. The Remotely Operated Vehicles worked at a depth of more than 14,000 feet, tethered to our ship with fiber optics for data and electric cables transmitting power at more than 4,000 volts. We on the team were often struck by poetic echoes of the lunar missions. The buoyancy of the ROVs looks every bit like microgravity. The blackness of the horizon. The gray and colorless ocean floor. Only the occasional deep sea fish broke the illusion.”
During their exploration the team found enough engine components to assemble two displays of flown F-1 rockets. While corrosion has masked many of the serial numbers, the team believes that further cleaning and stabilization will reveal on which mission these rockets flew.
Bezos hopes that NASA, who still owns the rockets, will place one of the rockets in the Smithsonian Museum and grant the Seattle Museum of Flight the second recovered rocket.
Watch a Video of the Mission and See More Photos Below:
Images Courtesy of Wikipedia and Bezos Expeditions