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Go beyond the basics.
The Search for Titanic1912 The first attempts to locate Titanic were based on the belief that Titanic sank as one big wreck. The first plan to find Titanic was hatched just five days after the sinking. 1913 In 1913 salvage firms were hired to try to raise the wreck. The firm correctly determined it would be impossible. 1953 The next serious attempt came in 1953 by a British salvage firm Risdon Beasley, Ltd. Using acoustic technology, they detonated underwater explosives thinking that low frequency acoustic pulses would “bounce” back to the salvage vessel’s hydrophones. 1981-1983 The next attempts were organized by Texas oilman Jack Grimm. Grimm used side-scan sonar making systematic grids over the last known location. Grimm’s team discovered 14 potential sites and despite two more attempts in 1981 and 1983, Titanic still eluded Grimm. While unsuccessful, Grimm’s hi-tech methodical approach laid the groundwork for finding the ship.
Finding TitanicThe Debris Field Officers Charles Lightoller and Herbert Pitman, and passengers Colonel Archibald Gracie and Lawrence Beesley were sure that Titanic sank intact. This became the accepted version of what happened. Working under the assumption that the ship did not sink intact but was instead broke in two, Dr. Ballard changed the parameters for searching for Titanic. Instead of searching for one 900 foot vessel, Ballard and his crew were going to search for two pieces and a large debris field. The Discovery In 1984, Dr. Ballard was exploring the USS Thresher, a nuclear sub that sank off New England. The sub had broke in two and spread its contents on the sea floor. This find combined with Jack Thayer’s account solidified the belief that Ballard and his crew would be looking for a debris field. At 12:48 a.m. on September 1, 1985, metallic objects started coming across the video monitors on board the research vessel Knorr. Shortly after 1 a.m., Argo, a camera sled, found a gigantic boiler. This was conclusive evidence that Argo had indeed found the Titanic. Dr. Ballard got into Alvin in July of 1986 to investigate Titanic face-to-face. A photomosaic was created and a close up inspection was done of some of the interior sections of the bow and the catastrophic damage to the stern.
Return to TitanicIn 2004, Dr. Ballard made a return visit to Titanic with Remote Operated Vehicle Hercules. Originally this mission was going to asses the environmental decay of the Titanic and to find ways to preserve her. Unfortunately, environmental factors were not the only factors affecting Titanic, but human impact was visible as well. Salvaging of artifacts and other bizarre tales including someone getting married on the bow led Dr. Ballard to make this mission more public in order to protect the Titanic from salvagers. R.M.S. Titanic Maritime Memorial Act of 1986 was signed by President Ronald Reagan and it urged that Titanic be turned into an international memorial. A draft agreement between Canada, France, the U.S. and Britain was created in 2000 but it wasn’t until 2003 that the British signed the international agreement. The U.S. government signed the agreement near the conclusion of the 2004 expedition. Dr. Ballard likens Titanic to the Pyramids of Egypt. If Titanic—the most famous shipwreck—can be preserved from salvagers, so can other shipwrecks. Dr. Ballard’s ultimate goal is to create an underwater museum where cameras and telepresence can whet the public’s insatiable curiosity about Titanic without disturbing her.
Mystic Aquarium and United Technologies partner to create Titanic - 12,450 Feet Below.
Titanic - 12,450 Feet Below is sponsored by United Technologies Corporation
|The mission of Sea Research Foundation, Inc., which includes Mystic Aquarium, Ocean Exploration Center and JASON Learning, is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education, and research.|
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