For more than four decades,the powerful engines that helped boost the Apollo 11 mission to the moon have rested in the Atlantic. Now Internet billionaire and space enthusiast Jeff Bezos wants to raise at least one of them to the surface.
An undersea expedition spearheaded by Bezos used sonar to find what he said were the F-1 engines located 4,270 metres deep. In an online announcement Wednesday,the Amazon.com founder and CEO said he is planning to recover the sunken engines,part of the mighty Saturn V rocket that launched Neil Armstrong,Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their moon mission.
The five engines,which produced nearly 3.5 million kilograms of thrust,dropped into the sea as planned minutes after liftoff in 1969. Four days later,Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon.
We dont know yet what condition these engines might be in, Bezos wrote. They hit the ocean at high velocity and have been in salt water for more than 40 years. On the other hand,theyre made of tough stuff,so well see.
Bezos acknowledged the engines were the property of NASA,but said he hoped they will be displayed in museums. NASA expressed excitement about the find but said it has not been contacted by Bezos.
There has always been great interest in artifacts from the early days of space exploration and his announcement only adds to the enthusiasm of those interested in NASAs history, NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs said in a statement.
No timetable has been set yet to hoist the 5.8-metre engines off the sea floor.
The sea floor is littered with spent rockets and flight parts from missions dating back to the dawn of the Space Age and its unknown what survived decades later after crashing into the ocean.
In 2009,a private company salvaged Gus Grissoms Mercury capsule that accidentally sank in the Atlantic after splashdown in 1961. It was restored and displayed at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.