In my musings about the nighttime sky, underwater archaeology usually does not play much of a part, but two reports this week offer a lot for a backyard astronomer like myself to consider.
For starters, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos reported just a few days ago that a large-scale marine archeology project he has been funding recovered the enormous F-1 engines that dropped off from Apollo 11 as it took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon in 1969. On the seabed three miles down, Bezos blogged, “We found so much. We’ve seen an underwater wonderland – an incredible sculpture garden of twisted F-1 engines that tells the story of a fiery and violent end, one that serves testament to the Apollo program.”
It was also reported this week that divers had returned to Antikythera, a small Aegean island off the coast of which an ancient shipwreck had been found in 1901. Numerous artefacts of tremendous interest were uncovered, including the Antikythera Ephebe (left), and hopes are high something as intriguing as the so-called Antikythera Mechanism (right) will also come to light. Not understood at the time of its discovery, the mechanism, which dates to the 1st century BC was revealed over the course of several decades to be a form of analog computer that could calculate hundreds of astronomical positions. In essence, it is a prototype of the astrolabe, the sort of thing that Archimedes is supposed to have constructed, according to Cicero (De Republica 1.21). The Nature Video Chanel has a pretty good report about the device below. Who knows what other secrets of the cosmos are hidden in the deep?