Couldn't find element LayerAd

Error finding content

Sunken Mercury Capsule is Recovered! - Windows to the Universe

Shop Windows to the Universe

Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by Mike Smith tells the story of our storm warning system. See our online store book collection.
Helicopters try to rescue the Liberty Bell 7 capsule and Gus Grissom.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of NASA

Sunken Mercury Capsule is Recovered!
News story originally written on July 21, 1999

A 38 year-old Mercury capsule has finally been found and recovered from the Atlantic Ocean. The Liberty Bell 7, an important piece of the Mercury Program, sank to the sea floor after successfully making its flight into space. This rusty, muddy U.S. spacecraft was the only one to have a successful mission and not be recovered.

The Liberty Bell 7 was flown by Gus Grissom in 1961. When the capsule landed in the ocean, the hatch blew open too soon, allowing water to flow in. Grissom survived the accident, but the helicopter couldn't support the weight of the capsule.

The spacecraft was still in good shape after many years in the sea. Even the cord used by the helicopter while trying to save the vessel was still attached. The capsule weighed almost 2 tons because it was full of so much mud. This made it difficult to bring up from 3 miles below the surface.

The capsule will first go on a 3 year tour of the country and then it will stay in the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

Windows to the Universe Community



You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

It's Time to Clean the Liberty Bell!

Scientists are currently cleaning one of the oldest and most fascinating spacecraft ever known. The Liberty Bell 7, flown by Astronaut Gus Grissom in 1961, was trapped on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean...more

1999--A Year in Review...

It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more

Moon Found Orbiting Asteroid

A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more

U.S. is Fed Up with Russia

Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more

More on Recent Coronal Mass Ejection

A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more

Mother Nature's Air Conditioning

J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF