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Since its discovery in 1985, less than 250 people have directly seen the Titanic and the surrounding debris field. Recently, new images have revealed the 110-year-old wreck of the Titanic with never-before-seen details (including the name of the anchor maker). Scientists say these images will help determine the decay rate of the ship, as well as the ecosystem that has settled there. Future missions are already scheduled.
Although it sank nearly 110 years ago, the Titanic looms large in the popular imagination. His tragic story fascinates and inspires many projects related to scientific research.
Indeed, the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Titanic was a British luxury liner which sank between April 14 and 15, 1912, during its maiden voyage, en route to New York from Southampton (England), killing around 1,500 people , passengers and ship’s personnel. One of the most famous tragedies in modern history. It has inspired many stories, several films and a musical and has been the subject of much scientific study and speculation.
In order to clarify a number of gray areas and to study the environment of the wreck, the American “civil exploration” company OceanGate is increasing the number of expeditions thanks to the financial support of tourists, who can take part in these expeditions, against the sum of “only” 250,000 euros.
Recently, the Titanic 2022 Expedition crew managed to capture unprecedented 8k footage of the Titanic, exposing an astonishing level of detail and color. The extraordinary footage was released August 30 on the OceanGate Expeditions YouTube channel.
An extraordinary submarine to visit the unsinkable liner
Owned and operated by OceanGate Inc., Titan is the only submersible in the world capable of reaching 4000 meters in depth for marine exploration. Constructed of titanium and filament-wound carbon fiber, the submarine withstands the enormous pressures of the deep ocean. Indeed, Stockton Rush, president of OceanGate Expeditions, worked with NASA to design it.
Moreover, the breathable air on board is recycled in a manner similar to that used on board spacecraft. Regardless of the diving depth, the air pressure inside the submersible remains constant and equal to the atmospheric pressure found at sea level, eliminating the need for decompression during the ascent.
During this expedition, the camera used made it possible to record high quality videos. Indeed, the mighty ship’s bow, part of its hull, cargo hold, huge anchor chain (each link weighing almost 91kg) and collapsed railings were all captured in high definition, along with the boiler that fell to the bottom of the ocean when the Titanic broke in two. This boiler was one of the key elements during the discovery in 1985 of the wreck of the Titanic.
Stockton Rush explained in a press release: Capturing these 8K footage will allow us to zoom in while maintaining 4K quality, which is essential for widescreen and immersive video projects. The phenomenal colors in these images are even more remarkable “.
Given the succession of expeditions, it is easy for the team to compare the different datasets and highlight the changes in the wreck and its environment. Rory Golden, OceanGate Expeditions Titanic expert and veteran Titanic diver points out: We see new details in these images. For example, I had never seen the name of the anchor manufacturer, Noah Hingley & Sons Ltd., on the port anchor. I’ve been studying the wreck for decades and have done several dives, and I don’t recall seeing any other image showing this level of detail. It’s exciting that after so many years we’ve discovered a new detail that wasn’t as obvious with previous camera technologies. “.
Titanic diver PH Nargeolet describes the video: At the start of the video you can see the crane used to deploy the huge 15 ton anchor still located on the wreck’s deck and the shackle that was originally attached to the main mast which has now collapsed. Later in the video, you see three round structures inside the railing. These are the triple fairleads that were used to feed the mooring ropes to bollards ashore to secure the ship to the dock when the Titanic was in port “.
A new expedition for 2023
You should know that the Titanic Expedition takes place in the form of a series of 8-day missions that begin and end in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The Expedition Ship returns to port at the end of each mission to take on a new team of Mission Specialists, Content Experts, and all the supplies and equipment needed to continue the Expedition.
During transit time from St. John’s to the dive site, each new member is trained in the various safety procedures, as well as the operation of the vessel. The latest Titanic data and updates from previous missions are debriefed. Each expedition allows up to a maximum of five Titan Submarine dives, depending on sea conditions and weather.
Concerning the last expedition, the authors estimate: “ The stunning detail in 8k images will help our team of marine scientists and archaeologists more accurately characterize Titanic’s decay as we capture new images in 2023 and beyond. “.
Indeed, following the success of the 2021 and 2022 Titanic Expeditions, the OceanGate Expeditions team is preparing to return to the wreck in the spring of 2023 as part of the next phase of a longitudinal study. Given the massive scale of the wreckage and debris field, these missions will continue over the next few years to fully document these.
Stockton Rush says: Having experts on board the Titan submersible when we dive allows them to assess the wreck by direct observation, guide our exploration of the various features of the wreck, and further their study using imagery. “.