The Titanic before it met its doom.
Less than a month from now, the world will mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster. When the 'unsinkable' ocean liner hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage and sank with a loss of over 1,500 lives (making it the worst maritime disaster to that point), man's, at the time, almost unshakable faith in new technology was shattered as it was proven that, no matter how great man's creations were, we humans are still subservient to nature and our own hubris.
After the ship went down in 1912, no one probably ever (certainly at the time) imagined that the great ship would ever be seen by human eyes ever again. However, with advances in submarine technology, by the 1960s, people began to ponder the idea of finding the Titanic wreck. Problem: there were a lot of confused coordinates given by both the Titanic herself and other ships in the area that pinpointing an exact location for the sinking was just about impossible. Result: anyone looking to find the wreck would have to search a large area of ocean floor more than 2 miles beneath the surface.
Then, In 1985, American oceanographer Robert Ballard, using, for the time, state of the art technology, discovered the ship not by looking for the wreck itself, but the debris trail. Stumbling in on the debris, Ballard's team then followed the trail to the ship itself, which had broken in half, thus conforming eyewitness accounts from the night of the sinking. Returning with a manned submarine the following year, Ballard recorded hours of video footage and hundreds of still imaged of the wreck. Since then, countless teams followed to investigate, photograph, and recover items from the wreck site.
Now in 2012, 26 years after the ship was found and 100 after it sank, researchers using technology that was unimaginable in 1986 have pieced together the first complete picture of the Titanic wreck site (your half a dozen shot mosaic that you think is so wonderful can't hold a candle to this). For researchers, these images freeze in time a wreck that is quickly disintegrating and may collapse into a pile of rust in the next couple of decades. For the curious, the pictures offer never before imagined detail on the wreck of a ship that has become a worldwide obsession.
Go here to read more from National Geographic
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