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Yes, COOPER’S TREASURE is a Show About a Space Treasure Hunt

Yes, COOPER’S TREASURE is a Show About a Space Treasure Hunt

The most important thing you need to know about Discovery‘s new docuseries Cooper’s Treasure is that it is about a space-based treasure hunt, involving a professional treasure hunter searching for a shipwreck using data that Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper left him. (Yes: NASA Astronaut. Shipwreck. Space. Treasure. Hunt.) And it’s all real.

You see, Darrell Miklos—a professional treasure hunter—was close friends with Cooper. The Original 7 astronaut, who holds the record for the longest solo space flight in U.S. history, meticulously scoured the globe for nuclear sites during one of his key missions. But he also found a ton of shipwrecks, and worked for decades upon his return to create a document with information he hoped would lead to hidden treasure. Miklos inherited the so-called map from his surrogate father figure, and in the new show he attempts to uncover the truth about what Cooper spent his life documenting.

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The process, Miklos said on a Television Critics Association 2017 winter press tour panel, is coincidentally a lot like pitching a TV show. “[Cooper’s Treasure] starts out as a journey of finishing something we weren’t able to finish and deciphering these files and information that Gordon gave me,” he said.

But there’s much more after that. “You have to prove that the story and the material that you’re getting your information from is real, then you’ve got to convince an investor, then you’ve got to get a permit to do salvaging in certain countries, that may not work, and if any of these fails, then none of it’s going to work. And then first and foremost I have to prove to my wife that I’m not crazy—again.”

 

Executive producer Ari Mark said that filming has been underway for more than a year, and watching Miklos decode Cooper’s documents and begin to put the puzzle pieces together has been amazing. “It starts to unravel and when you learn about who Gordon was…it starts to connect, and it did for us,” he said.

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If the story inspires you, be forewarned: treasure hunting isn’t very lucrative. First of all, “I don’t get to keep it. I’m not doing this just for the treasure hunt,” Miklos said, adding later, “It’s such a money pit. …Finding it is one thing. I have found literally to the tune of billions of dollars worth of treasure. Getting to keep it, getting to work out a contract that works, getting people who are honest with you, keeping investors funding it—there’s so many things that come into play. So literally I haven’t been very successful at all!”

But still, there’s something that keeps him in the business. “I know what I’m capable of in this business and frankly I’m too old to do anything else. I wouldn’t know what—nobody would hire me!”

And this project especially is close to his heart. “I get to pay homage to a hero whom I considered to be my surrogate father; I get to tell a story and finish a project or several projects that we were never able to finish together.”

Cooper’s Treasure premieres April 18 on Discovery. Can you wrap your brain around a space treasure hunt? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Images: Pexels; Discovery Channel

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