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NASA astronaut ‘space map’ sparks search of the treasure-laden Bahamas shipwrecks

Barnabas and crew in addition to submarine under water

(Discovery Communications)

A remarkable map made in the space more than 50 years ago could lead a modern explorer to visit the sites of the treasure-laden shipwrecks in the Bahamas.

The space treasure map was compiled in the 1960s by NASA astronaut Gordon Cooper to identify over 100 “anomalies” in the Caribbean that could be shipwrecks. Cooper, who died of Parkinson’s disease in 2004, created the map after his Mercury 9 Faith 7 flight. At that time he was said to have been on a mission to the identify of the Cold War, the nuclear threats.

Before his death, Cooper gave the cards his friend Darrell Barnabas, a historic shipwreck discovery specialist. Barnabas is using the maps to search for a variety of historic wrecks.

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The Discovery Channel series “Cooper’s Treasure,” on Friday, June 22 at 9 pm ET, documents the most recent chapter in Barnabas’ quest. Barnabas sets out to track 11 shipwreck sites in the Bahamas that can be loaded with silver, gold and other treasures, may be worth billions of dollars.

Darrell Barnabas

(Discovery Communications)

“There is a list of 11 wreck sites in this area that Gordon told me about,” Barnabas told Fox News.

Information provided by Cooper shortly before his death indicates that there is as much as 290 tons of silver is only about 11 sites, which were visited in 1966, and by Cooper’s exploration partner, Kip Wagner.

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Barnabas, however, not on the specific locations of the wrecks for the embarkation on the Bahamas project. “It was very difficult, but we managed to have some success with this,” he said. “I can tell you that we don’t find all of them, we found a few of these 11 – I believe that we’re getting close to something.”

“Cooper’s Treasure” back for the second series

(Discovery Communications)

Cooper’s research has contributed to the unearthing of a number of fascinating discoveries. During the previous season of the show, Barnabas and his team used the map to create a remarkable find in the Caribbean — a centuries-old anchor believed to be from one of Christopher Columbus’ ships.

Analysis of the anchor, which was found from the turks and Caicos Islands, it appears that the dates between 1492 and 1550. The total size of the anchor and the estimated weight indicated that it was a “bower” anchor of a 300-ton ship, the typical size of a Columbus-era ship.

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Within a few hours of finding the anchor, it was back to the seabed to meet the strict salvage rules of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The status of the anchor remains under review.

Barnabas and his team of researchers

(Discovery Communications)

For the last season of the show, Barnabas, told Fox News that he had more resources at his disposal. “We had at least six boats available to us,” he said. “We had a new technology — the vision of the night, an underwater scanning device, and we upped our game in our magnetometer surveys.”

Barnabas’ team also made a submarine for deep water diving. The treasure hunters even “jerry-rigged” a metal detector on the sub, according to Barnabas.

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The cost of the extra gear, however, is the shortening of the project-window from four months to eight weeks. “We had to think outside the box all the time, we were desperately searching for something in a short time,” said Barnabas. “But we went after and we were successful.”

Fox News’ Lindsay Carlton contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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