Jeff Bezos is making a serious bid to be remembered as the 21st Century Marco Polo and less the founder of Amazon.com. Already involved in the space exploration industry with his private venture, Blue Origin, Bezos has now announced he’s going to head in the opposite direction of outer space and take a dive into the depths of the ocean to recover the Apollo 11 engines.
Using “state-of-the-art deep sea sonar,” Bezos has announced that, after a year of searching, the “undersea pros” that he employs have located the submerged F-1 engines of the Apollo 11 nearly 14,000 feet below sea level in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s been 43 years since the massive rocket engines propelled Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the first moonwalk in history so who knows what condition they’re in. In his announcement, Bezos said he plans to attempt to recover as many of the rockets as possible in hopes that NASA, who still rightfully owns the rockets, will install them in the Museum of Flight in Seattle, which also happens to be Bezos’ hometown.
As for why he’s interested in recovering the rockets, Bezos cites his wonderment as a five-year-old boy watching the Apollo 11 that has instilled in him the “passions for science, engineering, and exploration.”
Earlier this week, James Cameron made a splash (!!!) with his own deep sea adventure so now it’s official: the week of March 25 – March 31, 2012, will now only be referred to Wealthy Diver Down Week. You have to wonder, though, if Bezos wasn’t even a little peeved at Cameron for nabbing the gnarly rich-guy-turned-ocean-explorer headlines first.
Photo courtesy of NASA.