Trending Topics's Jeff Bezos Retrieves Apollo 11's Engines from 14,000 feet Under Water

Mar 20, 2013 02:06 PM EDT
Saturn V carrying Apollo 11
The Saturn V rocket carrying the Apollo 11 spaceflight is launched from the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969 in this handout photo courtesy of NASA. Space enthusiast and entrepreneur Jeff Bezos has found the rocket motors used to send the Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon and plans to mount a recovery expedition soon, the CEO and founder reported on a blog post. The five F-1 engines were fired up on July 16, 1969, sending the massive Saturn 5 rocket on its way to the moon. The motors burned out a few minutes after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center and tumbled into the Atlantic Ocean.
(Photo : Reuters)

What Jeff Bezos wants, Jeff Bezos gets. And in this case, it's the engines used to propel Apollo 11's Saturn V launch.

"I was five years old when I watched Apollo 11 unfold on television, and without any doubt it was a big contributor to my passions for science, engineering, and exploration," the founder wrote in his March 28, 2012 blog post.

He then explains that it was a year ago that he first began to wonder as to whether the engines used to propel the spacecraft in the initial launch could be found.

Turns out, they could.

Using deep sea sonar, the team charged with the task located engines of the right size lying 14,000 feet down, 2,000 feet deeper than the Titanic. Whether or not they are in fact the engines used on Apollo 11 cannot be confirmed until serial numbers are identified.

Speaking of Titanic, Rory Golden, of the two men credited with finding the ship, oversaw the search.

"Nobody could spot faint markings and mentally map twisted, corroded, 90% concealed parts like Rory," Bezos writes.

Bezos calls the technology used to retrieve the Apollo, Remotely Operated Vehicles, as "otherworldly" and describes a ship equipped with fiber optics transmitting power at over 4,000 volts.

Engines like the ones Bezos and his team retrieved are 19 feet from top to bottom and can weigh as much as 20,000 pounds.

Plans to restore the two engines are simply designed to prevent further erosion.

"What an incredible adventure," Bezos wrote on his blog on March 20. "We found so much. We've seen an underwater wonderland - an incredible sculpture garden of twisted F-1 engines that tells the story of a fiery and violent end, one that serves testament to the Apollo program."

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