If you were a billionaire, what would you do with that money? Most of us would say something like, “Pay off my student loans” or “buy a fancy car” or maybe “travel the world.” But not Jeff Bezos. Bezos, billionaire entrepreneur and Amazon CEO, is spending his own money excavating the long lost F-1 engines that were used to propel the Apollo 11 mission into space, a mission that eventually took the first humans to the moon.
Bezos posted a letter to readers on his own site, BezosExpeditions.com, explaining his love for space exploration and science, stemming from the very mission he’s hoping to resurrect from the depths. At age 5, he watched the launch and moon landing on television, and from then on he was hooked. Now at age 48, he’s spending part of his $18.4 billion fortune to bring a part of his childhood back into the world.
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. 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.
Bezos is hopeful that they’ll be able to get these relics to the surface, but much like a sunken ship such as the Titanic, the engines will be fragile and possibly unmovable. However, if they are able to raise one engine, Bezos is hopeful that NASA will allow it to be stored at the Smithsonian for public viewing, and if more than one is raised, he’d like to see one kept in his hometown Museum of Flight in Seattle, which seems fair.
NASA still owns the engines, but since Bezos is putting his own time and money into the expeditions, it would only make sense that NASA let him have some say in what to do with the units once they’ve been lifted and properly preserved.