Just two days before the anniversary of when Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on the Moon, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced that the rocket engines he salvaged from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean earlier this year are from the very Saturn V rocket that carried the astronauts on that incredible mission, 44 years ago.
When Bezos' team found the rocket engines lying on the ocean floor back in March, he specifically reported on his blog that they were from the Apollo 11 mission. However, confirming that as fact would take an examination of the engine components, to find serial numbers that would trace the parts back to exactly which rocket they helped launch into space.
In a blog post today, Bezos reported how they made that confirmation:
One of the conservators who was scanning the objects with a black light and a special lens filter has made a breakthrough discovery — "2044" — stenciled in black paint on the side of one of the massive thrust chambers. 2044 is the Rocketdyne serial number that correlates to NASA number 6044, which is the serial number for F-1 Engine #5 from Apollo 11. The intrepid conservator kept digging for more evidence, and after removing more corrosion at the base of the same thrust chamber, he found it — "Unit No 2044" — stamped into the metal surface.
Coming now, right before the 44th anniversary of humanity's first steps on the Moon, this is an exciting announcement. Ask any astronaut or space scientist these days what their inspiration was for going in to their profession, and they will most likely have July 21st, 1969 at the top of their list.
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The Apollo 11 mission was an incredible achievement, marking humanity's first steps on the surface of another object in our solar system. That achievement has acted as a foundation for much of human space exploration to this day. Now having this solid piece of space history back on dry land, and eventually on display where anyone can go to see it, will likely inspire many more in years to come.
(Photo courtesy: Reuters)
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