Saturn V rocket from seabed
Amazon.com billionaire Jeff Bezos claims he has found engines from NASA's moon landing space rockets at the bottom of the sea.
Online shopping pioneer Bezos sent pictures of what appear to be the nozzles of F-1 rockets embedded in the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.
It is hoped they are the rockets which fired the Apollo 11 spacecraft into space on its historic mission to put man on the moon in July 1969.
The engines provided the enormous thrust power to get the Apollo 11 mission free from "the surly bonds of earth," as President Reagan once put it.
Each rocket used 6,000lbs of kerosene and liquid oxygen every second to put Apollo on its upward trajectory against gravity, burning for only a few minutes before the fuel supply was exhausted. Then they were released from the craft and fell back to earth.
Bezos, who is worth $25bn according to Forbes, found the rockets 14,000 feet below the surface and has now brought them up to the surface. Work is underway on board the Seabed Worker to clean up the units, which have been in salt water for 40 years.
Rusty nozzle of rocket engine
But determining whether the rockets really are the ones which blasted Neil Armstrong off planet earth has been complicated by the partial absence of serial numbers because of impact damage or erosion.
NASA used 65 F-1 engines on the Saturn V rockets between 1963 and 1973, further blurring the picture. Each engine weighs more than 18,000ib and stood 19 feet high.
Bezos called the mission to salvage the rockets from the sea bed "an incredible adventure," and spoke effusively about the mission to reclaim the rockets with a team of around 40 people.
"We found so much," Bezos wrote. "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.
"We photographed many beautiful objects in situ and have now recovered many prime pieces. Each piece we bring on deck conjures for me the thousands of engineers who worked together back then to do what for all time had been thought surely impossible."
NASA hailed the recovery of the rockets. Space agency Administrator Charlie Bolden said: "We look forward to the restoration of these engines by the Bezos team and applaud Jeff's desire to make these historic artefacts available for public display."
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