The wreck of the Titanic is the most famous maritime tragedy in history, with poems, songs, and movies being produced to honor and tell the story of the ship’s tragic maiden voyage. Now, the Titanic can be seen like never before, as scientists have mapped the ship, creating stunning 3D scans of it in its entirety — over a century after it went down.
Magellan Ltd., a British deep-sea mapping company, and Atlantic Productions carried out a massive project last summer to scan and map the ship using two remote-controlled submersibles named Romeo and Juliet — roughly 2.4 miles deep. They spent over 200 hours surveying and taking over 700,000 images, according to BBC News. The final product was a 3D “digital twin” reconstruction of the “entire ship, enabling it to be seen as if the water has been drained away,” Magellan said in a press release.
“I have been studying Titanic for 20 years, but this is a true game changer,” Parks Stephenson, a researcher and Titanic explorer, said. “What we are seeing for the first time is an accurate and true depiction of the entire wreck and debris site. I’m seeing details that none of us have ever seen before.”
The scans show “never before seen” details of the whole ship and the debris field — which stretched three miles, according to Atlantic Productions. While they show great details of the exterior of the ship and surrounding areas, more minute details and personal objects have also been captured. Some of these items include a pair of shoes, a top hat, unopened champagne bottles, watches, and even a serial number on one of the propellers.
Researchers say the fascinating images and scans were not easy to capture, with the founder chief of Magellan, Richard Parkinson, calling the mission “challenging.” He explains that the crew had to battle the weather and encountered technical challenges throughout the endeavor.
The first full-sized digital scan of the Titanic has been created using deep-sea mapping.
It provides a unique 3D view of the entire ship, enabling it to be seen as if the water has been drained away.
The hope is that this will shed new light on exactly what happened to the… pic.twitter.com/rT8imgnAmB
— Ticia Verveer (@ticiaverveer) May 17, 2023
While there are images and videos from previous expeditions to the site, many are low-quality due to the depth and murkiness of the water. But experts say the groundbreaking new model can provide new insights into the final resting place of the ship and information on its tragic end.
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“There are still questions, basic questions, that need to be answered about the ship,” Stephenson told BBC, adding that the new model is “one of the first major steps to driving the Titanic story towards evidence-based research — and not speculation.”
Atlantic Productions, one of the groups that worked on the project, is producing a documentary on their work on the ship, BBC notes. Atlantic’s chief executive Anthony Geffen said the group will “write the proper science of the Titanic.”
“We now have every rivet of the Titanic, every detail, we can put it back together, so for the first time we can actually see what happened and use real science to find out what happened,” he said.
The Titanic sank in April 1912 after hitting an iceberg on its journey from Southampton, England, to New York. Over 1,500 people died in the incident. At the time, it was the largest and most lavish ship on the seas.