When NASA's mighty Saturn V rocket launched the historic Apollo 11 mission to land the first men on the moon in 1969, the five powerful engines that powered the booster's first stage dropped into the Atlantic Ocean and were lost forever.
Lost, that is, until now.
A private expedition financed by Amazon.com founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos has discovered the five F-1 rocket engines used to launch Apollo 11 into space on July 16, 1969 and is drawing up plans to retrieve one or more so they can be publicly displayed.
"I'm excited to report that, using state-of-the-art deep sea sonar, the team has found the Apollo 11 engines lying 14,000 feet below the surface, and we're making plans to attempt to raise one or more of them from the ocean floor," Bezos wrote in a statement posted to the Bezos Expeditions website. "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. On the other hand, they're made of tough stuff, so we'll see."
NASA's Saturn V remains today, more than 40 years later, the largest and most powerful rocket ever built. It used a cluster of five 12.2-foot (3.7-meter) wide F-1 engines as its foundation, with each 18.5-foot (5.6-meter) tall engine capable of generating 1.5 million pounds of thrust — about 32 million horsepower — as it burned about 6,000 pounds of rocket fuel every second.
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