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Amazon founder and space entrepreneur Jeff Bezos has succeeded in his venture to recover the remains of Saturn V rocket engines that sent Apollo missions to the Moon.  After the first stage separated during the launch, these rocket stages dropped into the Atlantic Ocean as planned where they have sat undisturbed for over four decades, and two of the core engines have been recovered.  It has not yet been determined, and may never be determined, exactly which flights they came from.  Spooky-beautiful images of the ruins after the fold.

ApolloSaturnV(3)

ApolloSaturnV(2)

ApolloSaturnV(1)

ApolloSaturnV(4)

Video of the recovery, which was done via tele-operated robot:

It was overall a quixotic mission - Bezos wanted to recover the ruins for the sake of historical posterity, since not much is to be gained technologically by studying them.  As awesome as the connotations of the Saturn V rocket are because of the tremendously ambitious missions they enabled, they were very much products of their time - albeit "classic," very robust examples of what was then possible.  Seeing this mission makes me feel all warm and fuzzy nonetheless.

Still, I tend to be a critic of Bezos, because he doesn't do much to advance spaceflight relative to his resources ($23 billion), only barely dipping his toes into his private space company Blue Origin and not doing anything appreciable to advance the industry as a whole.  Given what Elon Musk has accomplished with less than 1% of those resources invested from a personal fortune nearly bankrupted in the process, it's hard to see that fact as anything but massive lost opportunities.  So, I congratulate his successful recovery mission, but still think he should be doing a hell of a lot more to advance the state of present space technology.  And, you know, stop being a greedy douche to Amazon warehouse workers.

Originally posted to Troubadour on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 02:17 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech.

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