On August 18, a team of scientists will embark on a 20-day expedition to assess the condition of the Titanic, which lays 2 1/2 miles below the Atlantic Ocean, and create a three-dimensional map of the shipwreck for public viewing.
The expedition will be lead by RMS Titanic, which has exclusive salvage rights to the wreck, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts.
David Gallo, an expedition leader and Woods Hole scientist, told The Associated Press:
"For the first time, we're really going to treat it as an archaeological site with two things in mind. One is to preserve the legacy of the ship by enhancing the story of the Titanic itself. The second part is to really understand what the state of the ship is."
The explorers will use three submersibles, and cutting-edge imaging, filming and sonar technology to conduct an inventory of artifacts as well as examine the two main sections of the ship, which over the years have been damaged by currents, salt water and deep-ocean pressure. The equipment will allows experts to "chart the boundaries of the wreck site, map the physical position of the Ship and its artifacts on the ocean floor and create a blueprint that will inform the wreck site’s ongoing maintenance," according to a press release from RMS Titanic.
Part of the analysis of erosion will also include comparing images taken 25 years ago with new images taken on this mission.
And according to RMS Titanic, the three-dimensional modeling, will mark many firsts, among them:
- The first time the wreck site will be transformed into an archaeological site.
- The first microorganisms will be collected from the site, which could inform theories about biodeterioration.
- The first time high definition and 3D video will be used to image the site.
People interested in the Titanic will be able to stay in close contact with the explorers through live video feeds, photos, a Twitter feed (@RMS_Titanic_Inc) and a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/rmstitanicinc)that will be updated by crew members.
A team last visited the Titanic wreck in 2004, and hopes to return again after this year's trip to conduct regular assessments of the shipwreck.
Caption: And undated photo of the bow of the Titanic. Credit: AP Photo/Ralph White