Just over two years ago, an expedition led by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos fished the Apollo-era engines that got us to the moon off the bottom of the ocean. Conservation work is now underway, and the Saturn V F-1 rockets will soon be available for everyone to geek over.
A team of conservation experts at the Cosmosphere International SciEd Center and Space Museum reportedly finished researching and stabilizing the 25,000 pounds of engine parts a few months ago. Efforts included removing corrosion from the 19-foot-tall engines, and working to identify serial numbers that link the tech to Apollo 11, Apollo 12 and Apollo 16. Most of the major pieces recovered from the engines have been conserved, and teams are now working to finish up smaller components that will be included in a future exhibit.
The saga started back in March 2012, when Bezos Expeditions announced it had recovered engines and tech left over and largely forgotten from the Apollo missions. Much of the material was found 14,000 feet deep in the Atlantic Ocean.
There’s a wide mix of engine parts being conserved, though the obvious highlights are a thrust chamber, a liquid oxygen (LOX) dome and injector plate, a turbo pump and a heat exchanger from the first moon landing mission, Apollo 11.
Portions of the recovered engines will be on display at the Smithsonian as part of a 2020 exhibit dubbed “Destination Moon.”