Titanic's bow under the North Atlantic Ocean.

Titanic Returns for its 20th Anniversary

In honor of its 20th anniversary, the 1997 film, Titanic, is being brought back to the big screen, for one week only, in select AMC Theatres.

Most of the film is based on real events. In 1985, the eventual founder of URI’s Inner Space Center, Graduate School of Oceanography professor, Dr. Robert Ballard, discovered the wreck in its resting place at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean.

In 2004, nearly 20 years after the initial discovery, Dr. Ballard returned to the wreck site with more sophisticated exploration technology such as 3D mapping cameras and the remotely operated vehicle (ROV), Hercules.

The team worked aboard the NOAA Research Vessel Ronald H. Brown from May 30 through June 9, and used remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to conduct a sophisticated documentation of the state of Titanic that was not possible in the 1980s. (Source)

The NOAA mission, which also included Inner Space Center’s (ISC) current Director, Dr. Dwight Coleman, was instrumental in analyzing the rate of decomposition of the ship in its current surroundings – submerged about 3,800 meters (roughly 12,500 feet) beneath the surface of the North Atlantic Ocean. Since 1912, the ship’s hull has been attacked by tiny iron-eating microbes that naturally live in the ocean water.

This “Look, don’t touch” mission utilized high-definition video and stereoscopic still images to provide an updated assessment of the wreck site. (Source)

ROV surveys of underwater wreck sites typically produce high-quality digital products such as 3D maps, photomosaics, and high-resolution video footage. In 2004, live shows were streamed from the R/V Ronald H. Brown to specially-equipped schools, and other participating sites, enabling thousands to follow along with the scientists.

Today, telepresence-enabled ships in the NOAA fleet can stream their video feeds and other data through the ISC to broadcast in real time to anyone on the globe with an Internet connection. Be sure to tune in, live, from now until December 20, 2017, and be part of NOAA’s current expedition in the Gulf of Mexico to further understand ocean floor habitats.

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