Saturday marks 44 years to the day since the late Neil Armstrong set the first human foot on the moon. And on the eve of this milestone, Jeff Bezos -- a guy who wants to sell you everything on Earth while also preserving our means for escaping its bonds -- says his team has finally identified the remains of one of the rockets that took that Apollo 11 team the first leg of the journey toward our satellite.
For many months now, Bezos Expeditions has been working to recover from the Atlantic Ocean the huge F-1 engines that were used in the Apollo program. They were successfully hoisted up from 14,000-feet deep and transported to the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kan., where a conservation team has been working the past few months to spiff them up.
This week, it turns out, the team has finally been able to remove enough corrosion to reveal a serial number that positively identifies one of the blasters that carried Armstrong and company into history. Here's what Bezos says about the discovery:
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 No. 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.
Welcome home, you fantastic chunk of metal.