Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced today that an underwater sea expedition he financed has discovered artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission to the moon at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, nearly 43 years after they landed there.
Bezos says that F-1 rocket engines were found 14,000 feet below the surface using deep sea sonar, and he intends to raise at least one, maybe more, above sea level.
The first-stage Apollo 11 engines that Bezos claims have been found helped lift Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins toward the moon in 1969, Scientific American reports. Bezos does not say how the team was able to prove their authenticity.
The efforts to find the engines were privately funded by Bezos, and he says that the plan to bring them up would also be privately funded. He isn't the only tech founder interested in space, as Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has his own endeavors, including plans for a commercial spaceship. And this isn't the only deep-sea news of the week either, as film director James Cameron successfully emerged from his Mariana Trench dive.
Bezos notes that the F-1 engines remain property of NASA, MSNBC reports, but he hopes at least one of the engines could be put into the Smithsonian and perhaps an additional one at the Museum of Flight in Amazon's hometown of Seattle.
Here's how Bezos announced the news today:
I'm excited to report that, using state-of-the-art deep sea sonar, the team has found the Apollo 11 engines lying 14,000 feet below the surface, and we're making plans to attempt to raise one or more of them from the ocean floor. We don't know yet what condition these engines might be in - 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.
He ended his note with "We'll keep you posted" on the progress of bringing the engines up for the first time since they descended into the ocean.
The Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969 (view video footage of the launch from near the base of the engines here). Moon dust from the mission was to be auctioned last year, but ultimately it was returned to NASA.
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