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The legendary ship, RMS Titanic was built by Harland & Wolff, a well known ship constructing company. The construction of Titanic started in 1909 and in 1911 the hull of the Titanic was launched. It took twenty-two tons of grease and oil to slide the Titanic down the ways. Everything about the magnificent ship was huge, the anchors on her weighed a total of thirty-one tons, each of her four steam funnels were large enough to drive two trains through, and the food which she carried on her maiden voyage was enough to feed a small town for several months. The Titanic was the biggest ship in the world, but she had a sister ship, Olympic was almost as large as the Titanic, however there was no doubt that the Titanic was the most luxurious ship on the sea. Perhaps her best feature was that she was unsinkable, or so everyone thought...
At 11:40 on April 14, 1912 as the passengers were preparing for bed or perhaps strolling back to their cabins, the Titanic struck an iceberg. The forward compartments immediately started to fill with water. After getting all of the damage reports the Titanic's builder, Thomas Andrews gave the ship one to one and a half hours to go before she disappeared forever beneath the icy waters of the Atlantic. The first class passengers were loaded onto the lifeboats but most of the third class passengers were not that fortunate. At about 2:17 AM the Titanic's foreword compartments started to fill with water, as the front went under the first funnel collapsed. The stern of the ship lifted into the air, the stress created by this caused the ship to break apart between the third and fourth funnels. As the front part of the ship began to sink the stern just bobbed upright for a few moments like a cork. As the stern went under the poop deck was peeled off. Finally both pieces slammed into the ocean floor, they landed 1,970 feet apart. The less fortunate passengers are either dying in the water or underwater with the ship. The Titanic would not be seen by human eyes for 73 years.
The Titanic was located in August of 1985. Two teams were working jointly to find the ship. One group was the American team led by Dr. Robert D. Ballard and the French team was lead by Jean-Louis Michel. Each team used a different method to find the Titanic. The French used a type of sonar vehicle called SAR in their search for the Titanic. The Americans used a deep towed camera sled called Argo to look for the ship. SAR covers a much broader range than Argo but does not show any detail. Argo on the other hand covers only a small area but gives photographic images. When describing Argo, Ballard states, "Argo is basically a steel sled with video cameras that film the ocean floor." In a later expedition Ballard would actually go down to the wreck in a titanium plated sub called Alvin. He would use a remote controlled robot called Jason Junior or JJ to photograph the wreck. JJ sat in a special garage outside of Alvin. JJ could take both video and still footage of the wreck.
Though the Titanic was a huge ship it is almost unnoticeable on the ocean floor. The search for the Titanic was a very tedious process. Though SAR covers a broad distance the distance it covers is nothing compared to the size of the Atlantic ocean. The crew aboard both the Argo and the Le Souroit were growing very weary of tediously searching every yard of the search area and still coming up with nothing. The situation worsened when the weather turned foul, thus forcing Ballard to waste valuable search days waiting out the storm.
Morale began to plummet as the monitor screens showed nothing but the mud at the bottom of the ocean. Ballard and his crew started to doubt that the Titanic was in their painstakingly plotted search area. The crew was exhausted from the long hours of searching day after day. But that was about to change. Ballard describes the discovery a follows, "Just after midnight, on September 1, I went to my bunk for some rest, and the night shift led by Jean-Louis manned their stations. About an hour into their watch, one of the team members asked the others, 'What are we going to do to keep ourselves awake tonight?' All they'd seen so far was mud and more mud, endless miles of nothing. Stu Harris, who was busy flying the Argo did not bother to answer. His eyes were glued to the Argo video monitor."
What Stu Harris was watching so intently on that screen was some wreckage from the RMS Titanic. Once he told the crew there was disbelief followed by, "-wild shrieks and war-whoops.". After weeks of searching and years of planning they had done it, they had found the RMS Titanic. Over the next twelve days Ballard and his crew explored the majesty of the Titanic for the first time in seventy-three years. Robert Ballard has led two other exploration expeditions, RMS Titanic Inc. has also made a few expeditions on which they looted the ship, IMAX has gone on an expedition for a movie, the latest addition to this list is director James Cameron. The greatest task of all lays ahead for the explorers of the future, excavating the Titanic.