A 1903 Italian submersible. Not until the 1970s would it technologically feasible to find and explore the Titanic site.



The Titanic's bow at 12,468 feet below the surface. The pressures at this depth are comparable to those beneath the space shuttle's engine at blast-off.



Search | Discovery | Exploration

Just days after the Titanic tragedy, plans were developed to find the ship. In fact, that same year, the Astor, Widener, and Guggenheim families contracted a salvage company to find it, but the technology was not yet advanced enough for such an endeavor.

The technology needed to find and explore a ship in such deep and treacherous waters would not arrive until the late 1970s when Texas oil magnate Jack Grimm began the first serious, scientifically-based expedition to find the Titanic. The Grimm expeditions, launched in 1980, 1981 and 1983, used some of the best oceanographers and equipment available, but ultimately failed due to bad weather, equipment problems and other factors.

A new search for the Titanic began in 1985 under the leadership of U.S. marine geologist Dr. Robert D. Ballard. He organized American and French scientists to jointly test their latest sonar and photographic exploration technologies in a two-month expedition in the North Atlantic.

The French and U.S. plan sought to locate the wreck using the French vessel Le Suroit and to photograph and explore the wreck using the U.S. video-based search system.

But after a 21-day, around-the-clock search in mercilessly heavy seas, the sonar technology turned up no evidence of the Titanic. The search would continue, using ultra light-sensitive video cameras.


Buy Tickets Here


Technology
Search | Discovery | Exploration & Recovery

EXTENDED
Through October 9!

Buy online tickets
Buy online or call 773-684-1414.



During the U.S./French expeditions, the Le Suroit towed the side-scan sonar device called SAR over 80 percent of the 400 nautical square miles of the target area. The ship also employed a magnetometer to distinguish between rocks and metal objects.



The Argo, carrying light sensitive video equipment, being lowered from the U.S. Navy vessel Knorr.

Titanic Home | Treasures | Stroll the Deck | Stories | The Voyage | Technology | Chicago Connection | Links

Copyright ©2000 Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, 60637
(773) 684.1414 --- TDD (773) 684.3323
1-800-GO TO MSI
http://www.msichicago.org

Send comments to msi@msichicago.org