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Jeff Bezos Has Rescued the Apollo 11 Rockets From the Ocean Floor

Illustration for article titled Jeff Bezos Has Rescued the Apollo 11 Rockets From the Ocean Floor

Ever since July 16, 1969, the rockets that pushed Apollo 11 into the atmosphere—and mankind to the moon—have been laying at bottom of the Atlantic ocean. Jeff Bezos has been keen to get them back, and now, thanks to his hard work and vast fortune of book money, they're seeing the light of day for the first time in decades.

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Bezos and his team were able to locate the rockets last year but now, they've dragged the historic scrap to the surface. The chunks were recovered with the help of Remote Operating Vehicles, tethered to the ship and working at depths of up to 14,000 feet. According to Bezos, the whole thing had an appropriately spacey feel too it. He says in the announcement:

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.

...We're bringing home enough major components to fashion displays of two flown F-1 engines. The upcoming restoration will stabilize the hardware and prevent further corrosion. We want the hardware to tell its true story, including its 5,000 mile per hour re-entry and subsequent impact with the ocean surface. We're excited to get this hardware on display where just maybe it will inspire something amazing.

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And not only are these pieces of scrap historically significant, but they're also quite beautiful in a rust-lust sort of way. At some point, you're bound to be able to see these suckers on display in person, but for now we'll have to settle for the pictures. And as we're pulling up decades-old engines from the ocean floor, Voyager 1 is careening into the deepest depths of extra-solar darkness. Space exploration, you guys Am I right? [Bezos Expeditions]

Illustration for article titled Jeff Bezos Has Rescued the Apollo 11 Rockets From the Ocean Floor
Illustration for article titled Jeff Bezos Has Rescued the Apollo 11 Rockets From the Ocean Floor
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DISCUSSION

MaskedMadman
MaskedMadman

I have mixed feelings about this kind of thing. I'm fanatical about the space program, heartbroken that we don't send people into orbit any more, fascinated by the audacity and intelligence of the Mercury-Gemini-Apollo missions, so personally I'm delighted that Bezos has rescued these monuments to that effort. But sometimes I worry that culturally, we're becoming a little too fixated on celebrating the past and not putting enough passion and thought into what we can do next.