It may sound like a Hollywood movie plot or some kind of fiction, but it is the actual truth. Some may sympathize with the man who did this; other might think that it is comparable to fraud. Whatever your opinion may be, the fact is that Gordon Cooper (full name—Leroy Gordon “Gordo” Cooper, Jr.) managed to keep a huge secret from his employers and from everyone else for decades. He only spoke about it on his death bed.
Cooper was an amazing person with a lot of experience. He worked as an aerospace engineer, as well as a pilot for the United States Air Force; he was also a test pilot for NASA. He had the honor to be among the seven pilots included in the first US manned space program called Project Mercury. The flight that he executed with the Faith 7 aircraft was the last and longest flight of the whole space program. Cooper was able to successfully be launched alone into space and to return safely after. He was also the first man to sleep during a space flight.
While Cooper was on the record-breaking flight of the Faith 7 spacecraft, his task was to scan for possible nuclear launch sites during the total of 22 revolutions around the planet, following its orbit. The trip took more than thirty hours to complete and the total distance he covered was nearly 900,000 kilometers.
During the flight Cooper was able to find a large number of objects deep under the surface of the sea.
The capsule of the Faith 7 spacecraft in which Cooper was able to return from space is currently exhibited at the Houston Space Center in Texas.
After the flight Cooper descended into the Pacific on his own, without notifying the Department of Defense or NASA. He was able to describe his finds in notes that he kept hidden for the next four decades. When he realized that he would probably die soon and would not be around forever, he shared the precious information with the notorious Darrell Miklos—a professional treasure hunter.
Cooper suffered from Parkinson’s disease and eventually passed away in his California home on the 4th of October 2004. He was 77.
Miklos later managed to produce the “Cooper’s Treasure” series with the help of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and the indie production studio Ample.
The treasure hunter said that Cooper knew what he was looking at the minute he found it—shipwrecks in the middle of nowhere, located in completely isolated locations scattered around the Caribbean, the Atlantic and the Mexican Gulf, as well as around South America, and also just off the Florida coast.
Miklos added that he was able to conduct some research alongside Cooper. The adventurer and his father were preparing for an expedition, but his father backed off because they did not have the typical close father and son relationship between them, and that was one of the factors resulting in Miklos and Cooper bonding and having a strong connection.
Darrel Miklos also said that the idea behind the series was his desire to tell the stories of all the newly found shipwrecks and share it with the whole world, as well as with the countries that allow and assist for the surveys and research about the finds.
“Cooper’s Treasure” started last April and is currently in its second season, and Miklos hopes that it will bring some light to important pieces of the past to a wide audience.
As the executive producer Ari Mark and Miklos admit, the process of creating “Cooper’s Treasure” was more than just developing a TV-show. It was a journey that had one main goal—to finish something that was started years ago and solving the puzzle of files and data that Cooper passed to Miklos.
The process of proving that the story and the artifacts were real was followed by the search for an investor; then there were the documents and permits needed from some countries in order for the crew to be able to work on the locations of the wrecks. The producer said that arranging the pieces of information left behind by Cooper in such a way that they started to make sense and to lead somewhere had been an amazing experience.