Fri, Mar 30, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Amazon.com founder retrieving Apollo 11 engines

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

The titan behind online retail powerhouse Amazon.com on Wednesday revealed a quest to retrieve Apollo 11 moon mission engines that plunged into the ocean decades ago.

Engines that rocketed astronaut Neil Armstrong and his crew toward the moon in 1969 were located deep in the Atlantic Ocean using sophisticated sonar equipment, Jeff Bezos wrote in his blog at BezosExpeditions.com.

“We’re making plans to attempt to raise one or more of them from the ocean floor,” Bezos said.

“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,” he continued. “On the other hand, they’re made of tough stuff, so we’ll see.

Bezos wrote that he was five years old when Armstrong made history during the Apollo 11 mission by becoming the first person to set foot on the moon.

“I watched Apollo 11 unfold on television, and without any doubt it was a big contributor to my passions for science, engineering, and exploration,” Bezos said.

Bezos stressed that he is using private funds to try to raise the F-1 engines from their resting places 4,267m below the surface of the ocean and that they remain the property of NASA.

“I imagine that NASA would decide to make it available to the Smithsonian [National Air and Space Museum] for all to see,” Bezos said.

“If we’re able to raise more than one engine, I’ve asked NASA if they would consider making it available to the excellent Museum of Flight here in Seattle,” he said.

Amazon’s headquarters is located in Seattle.

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