July 1, 2011

New 3D Images Of The Titanic

RMS Titanic set sail on April 10, 1912 for her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City, NY. Just four days later on April 14, 1912 the fate of the ocean liner was sealed when it struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. in the North Atlantic. The following morning, April 15 at 2:20 a.m., the ship sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic ocean, killing 1,517 of the 2,223 passengers aboard.

Now, nearly a hundred years later, scientists are revealing never-before-seen images of the largest passenger steamship's ghostly remains at the bottom of the Atlantic, reports The Telegraph.

The images, released Thursday, show dramatic views of the Titanic taken from a remote-controlled submersible vehicle being used during an ongoing salvage expedition.

Scientists who took part in the 2010 expedition to the wreckage site said the images are the most extensive and highest quality ever taken of the Titanic. The expedition also fully mapped the wreck site -- an area covering 3 miles x 5 miles, and the entire site has been documented for the first time, they said.

The images will be assembled for public viewing and also to help oceanographers and archaeologists explain the ship's violent descent to the bottom of the Atlantic. The images will also provide answers on the state of the ageing wreck, which is showing signs of deterioration.

The images and findings were presented in a federal courtroom in Norfolk, Virginia where a salvage claim is still ongoing 26 years after the Titanic was discovered by Robert Ballard.

Attorneys and courtroom guests wore 3D glasses to watch a 3D tour of the Titanic's stern. The show magically transported viewers through the wreckage, showing images of the deck, the captain's bathtub, and wooden elements that scientists previously believed were eaten away in the harsh ocean depths.

The researchers said thousands of smaller snapshots were taken then stitched together in a mosaic process to create large-scale, seemingly panoramic views of the ship's remains.

"We have an image of everything. That's what's important," said William N. Lange of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. "This has never been done before in the deep sea."

The hearing on Thursday was intended, in part, to demonstrate the extraordinary costs to RMS Titanic of organizing the risky expeditions and salvage operations. The seas above the wreck are commonly raked by fierce storms, and the wreck site is pitch black and subject to powerful deep-ocean currents.

A US District Court judge ruled last year that RMS Titanic is entitled to full compensation of the Titanic trove. The company has exclusive rights to salvage the Titanic, and has gathered nearly 6000 objects from the ship"Ëœs remains, potentially valued at more than $110 million.

Chris Davino, president and CEO of Premier Exhibitions, RMS Titanic's parent, estimated the 2010 expedition to cost upwards of $5 million. He said company officials have not decided whether they will launch another salvage expedition.

Since Ballard discovered the Titanic 26 years ago, most expeditions to the wreck site have either been to photograph the wreckage or gather artifacts. RMS made its last expedition to the site in 2004. The company conducts traveling displays of the Titanic artifacts, which the company says have been viewed by millions of people.

Even "Titanic" director James Cameron has led teams to the wreck site to record the bow and stern.


Image Caption: Captain Smith's bathtub aboard the sunken ship. The plumbing allowed the Captain a choice of salt or fresh water, hot or cold. (RMS Titanic Inc/AP)


On the Net: