When men walked on the moon 44 years ago, the F-1 engines that got them there went in the opposite direction: under the sea. Now Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says he’s found parts of two of them.
"44 years ago tomorrow Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, and now we have recovered a critical technological marvel that made it all possible,” Bezos wrote in his blog.
The online retail king has been sponsoring a salvage mission to dredge up artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission that were jettisoned during the launch into space.
The Amazon leader announced last March his own mission of sorts: to locate the F-1 engines that powered the Saturn V rocket carrying astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong to the moon.
The engines were discovered last March in waters 14,000 feet deep off the coast of Florida. But they could not be positively identified as being from Apollo 11. "The components' fiery end and heavy corrosion from 43 years underwater removed or covered up most of the original serial numbers," Bezos wrote.
Still, some of the conservators on his team were able to make out a serial number, 2044, which Bezos says, matches up to the Apollo 11 flight.
The F-1 engine, which came in a cluster of five, provided 32 million horsepower by burning 6,000 pounds of fuel every second, and together, they lifted the largest rocket in history 38 miles above Earth in less than three minutes, CNN reports.
After their work was done, the engines fell some 5,000 feet into the ocean, where they remained until Bezos and his expedition team found them by using highly sensitive sonar.
“We have been working hard to help Jeff and his team identify the missions for various components recovered,” NASA spokesman Robert Jacobs told Yahoo News in an email. “Our records align with what the team has found and it appears they have pieces of a Saturn V F1 engine from Apollo 11. We appreciate the care and diligence the team is showing in the recovery and restoration of these valuable pieces of space exploration history.”