On the Tuesday night premiere of the new Discovery series "Cooper's Treasure," Darrell Miklos began his hunt for shipwrecks and their sunken wealth.
Miklos, who knew the late Gordon "Gordo" Cooper, one of NASA's seven original Gemini astronauts, said that Cooper had located various shipwrecks from low Earth orbit.
Cooper left Miklos maps and other information about possible sites and the treasure hunter was determined to follow the clues.
"It sounds crazy but it's a treasure map from space," Miklos told the cameras.
Cooper had allegedly kept the secret of his discoveries viewed from space for 40 years, but entrusted Miklos, the son of his friend, famous treasure hunter Roger Miklos, with the material.
Cooper left Miklos charts of apparent wreck sites and top secret documents which excited the adventurer, who noted that there could be more than 300 wreck sites yet undiscovered which might yield billions of dollars.
First, Miklos consulted a team of former top-secret NASA workers, who told him it could be possible Cooper used detection equipment they didn't know about to spot things from orbit.
That gave Miklos hope so he decided to start his hunt in Mexico, leaving his family in Mission Viejo, CA behind and saying, "I need to provide for them. I wasn't destined to work behind a desk. I have to do this."
Also, he had promised Cooper "one day I'll finish the task at hand."
In a quest to prove Cooper's documents would actually lead to ship wrecks, Miklos went up in a plane and dived in areas where the drawings took him in Mexico.
He knew that years earlier, the Spanish had minted valuable silver and gold coins in Mexico and then sailed away. Some ships sank with all the loot, never to be seen again.
Miklos and his diver friend Steve tried metal detectors on the sea floor but found nothing.
"It's a letdown," he admitted after several days.
Miklos knew that Cooper had given a detailed chart to his father, Roger, and decided to break their long estrangement to ask him for it.
Miklos' wife Yadira was concerned, saying, "He's not a good person."
However, Miklos traveled to Key West, FL, to visit his dad Roger, who had years earlier appeared on the "Merv Griffin Show" to talk about his own life as an Errol Flynn type swashbuckling treasure hunter.
Miklos told Roger he was at a crossroads on the Cooper project: "I'm here for the chart."
"What kind of bucks are involved? I don't do nothing for nothing," Roger snapped.
Miklos the younger said they could work something out but Roger slammed his son for riding on his treasure hunting coattails.
"This is my f--king house and there's the door," the older man told Miklos.
Miklos headed back home but vowed he would not give up: "There's something out there Gordon wants me to find and I'm going to find it."