The team, led and funded by Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has recovered parts of two powerful Saturn V first-stage rocket engines that launched the Apollo missions.
Among the thrust chambers, gas generators, injectors, heat exchangers, turbines, fuel manifolds and dozens of other artifacts recovered from beneath the Atlantic, is an engine part bearing the number 2044 -- confirmed as the serial number for Engine #5 from the Apollo 11 mission that put the first men on the moon, a posting on the Bezos Expedition blog said.
The components' fiery end as the spent first-stages plummeted into the sea and heavy corrosion from more than 40 years underwater has eroded or covered up most of the original serial numbers, making mission identification difficult, the posting said.
However, using black light and a special lens filter, conservators at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson were able to make out the number 2044 on part of a recovered thrust chamber, Bezos posted.
After removing more corrosion at the base of the same thrust chamber, more evidence was found -- another "Unit No. 2044" stamped into the metal surface.
"Forty-four years ago ... Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, and now we have recovered a critical technological marvel that made it all possible," Bezos posted.