After years of fruitless searching by many organizations, the wreck of the RMS Titanic was located in 1985. Since then, several expeditions have been launched to explore the wreck – most using remotely operated or autonomous vehicles, with relatively few expeditions utilizing manned submersibles. Most notable of these manned submersible expeditions was led by James Cameron for the production of the film “Titanic” that was released in 1997.

Titanic newspaper
Newspaper article about the Titanic disaster.

Over the last 30 years, Titanic dive expeditions have been conducted by some of the worlds few deep diving submersibles: Nautile (France), Alvin (USA), and the two Mir subs (Russia). These expeditions used the best technology available at the time but were unable to capture 4K video and high-definition 3D scans of the wreck using the advanced technology available to explorers today.

In 2010, scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) conducted a wide area survey of the debris field and a 2D photo mosaic of the wreck. During all of these prior expeditions, only a few hundred people have visited Titanic in a manned submersible – far fewer than have been to space or summited Mt. Everest.

About the Wreck

The wreck lies at a depth of 3,800 meters (12,800 feet) approximately 595 kilometers (380 nautical miles) from the coast of Newfoundland. The famous ship is deteriorating, overwhelmed by the relentless spread of rusticles (named on account of their icicle-like shape) which are a result of a biochemical process that is eating the manganese, iron and sulfur out of the steel and weakening the wreck.

During the sinking, the ship broke into two main sections and many objects and pieces of the hull were scattered across the sea bed. Most of the debris is concentrated near the stern section and appears to consist of thousands of objects from the interior of the ship, ranging from tons of coal spilled from ruptured bunkers to suitcases, clothes, corked wine bottles (many still intact despite the pressure), bathtubs, windows, washbasins, jugs, bowls, hand mirrors and numerous other personal effects.