The Discovery of the Titanic
We all knew it was down there somewhere. Seventy-three years earlier, Titanic had suck to the bottom of the North Atlantic. The trick was finding it. ‘Needle in a haystack’, anyone?
Three separate times in the early 80s, expeditions were launched to find the wreckage, but they all failed. Then in 1985 Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (jointly with Jean-Louis Michel of France’s IFREMER) set out to give it a shot themselves.
Using a remote controlled mini-sub called Argo, Ballard and his team scanned the ocean floor for any trace of Titanic, looking particularly for the debris field the wreck caused. After a week of searches that turned up diddly, finally at 12:48 a.m. on September 1, 1985, the wreckage was found. And there was much rejoicing. (Skip to 11:53)
Whether you view the subsequent salvage operations as grave-robbing or not, the fact is that we all now have a better understanding of what happened that fateful night and also what life was like on Titanic during its brief four-day voyage.
It’s the most important and amazing undersea discovery in history… so of course it happened during our favorite decade.
We ♥ the discovery of the Titanic.