August 20, 2010

3D Map Of Titanic Set To Sail Soon

Scientists were set to launch a virtual 3D map of the Titanic on Wednesday of the entire wreckage site of the sunken vessel.

A team of experts from various organizations will reconstruct a comprehensive and detailed picture of the remains of the sunken transatlantic liner, as well as the wreckage site on the floor of the North Atlantic.

"About 40 percent we think -- maybe 50 percent -- of the Titanic site has never been looked at," co-expedition leader Dave Gallo, director of special projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the world's largest private nonprofit oceanographic institution, told Reuters news.

"Everything to this point has been pretty much exploration, or adventure," Gallo said, adding that this expedition will be the first to work archeologically on the deep-water site.

"We want to go into this area and understand where everything is and how it got there. It's going to be like the CSI of the underwater world," he told Reuters.

The Titanic was the world's biggest passenger liner when it left Southampton England for New York on April 10, 1912.  Four days into the trip, the ship hit an iceberg and sank, taking over 1,500 passengers down with it.  The ship was rediscovered undersea in 1985 several hundred miles off the coast of Newfoundland.

Two teams of 30 experts will conduct research to investigate whether microorganisms collected at the site are distant relatives of those that went down with the Titanic.

Gallo said that the website www.expeditiontitanic.com will provide updates on the expedition and the History Channel is expected to broadcast a documentary.

Experts say that the prohibitive cost and fragile nature of the ship make it nearly impossible to raise the Titanic physically.  

"Very quickly, the ship is deteriorating more and more," expedition leader Paul-Henry Nargeolet, director of underwater research for RMS Titanic Inc, told Reuters.

RMS Titanic Inc. is a subsidiary of Premier Exhibitions Inc. and is the only company that is permitted to recover objects from the sunken ship.  The company was granted salvor-in-possession rights to the Titanic by a U.S. Federal Court in 1994.

Nargeolet expects that much of the deck will collapse within the next 10 to 15 years.  

"On the stern...between the engine the room...everything is collapsed already, including the hull itself," he said.


Image Caption: The RMS Titanic (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)


On the Net:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The History Channel