In the North Atlantic's Grand Banks, Dr. Robert Ballard was on the verge of one of the 20th century's greatest finds, the wreck of the RMS Titanic. But the story we thought we knew is just the tip of the iceberg. Behind the search for the famed liner is a spy story of stealth, subs, and Superpowers, ripped from a Cold War thriller. Dr. Ballard had just found the Titanic in the middle of a top-secret military mission.
  • Think you know the story behind the discovery of the Titanic? Think again. Robert Ballard, the man who co-discovered the wreck of the R.M.S. Titanic in 1985, reveals the circumstances behind one of his most amazing discoveries: a secret Navy mission in search of two sunken Cold War submarines.

    1. What was unexpected about how the Thresher wreckage lay on the bottom of the ocean?

      Rather than coming to rest in one spot, the wreckage of the Thresher was spread out across a wide area on the ocean floor in a debris field.

    2. What did Robert Ballard learn about debris fields from the discovery of the Scorpion?

      Ballard figured out that debris fields were created when ocean currents carried the lighter parts of the wreckage away from the initial location of the trauma.

    3. How many days did Robert Ballard have to locate the Titanic?

      After studying Thresher and Scorpion, Robert Ballard had 12 days to attempt to find Titanic.

    4. When did the team know they had located the Titanic?

      The team knew when they went over the ship's boiler.

    5. Using his newfound knowledge from his investigations of Thresher and Scorpion, how did Robert Ballard approach his hunt for the Titanic?

      Ballard knew to look for the Titanic's debris trail since he knew the ship had broken up when it sank.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Cold War Noun

    (1947-1991) conflict between the Soviet Union (and its allies) and the United States (and its allies). The two sides never confronted each other directly.

    debris Noun

    remains of something broken or destroyed; waste, or garbage.

    field work Noun

    scientific studies done outside of a lab, classroom, or office.

    Encyclopedic Entry: field work
    ocean Noun

    large body of salt water that covers most of the Earth.

    Encyclopedic Entry: ocean
    oceanography Noun

    study of the ocean.

    Encyclopedic Entry: oceanography
    sonar Noun

    method of determining the presence and location of an object using sound waves (echolocation).

    Soviet Union Noun

    (1922-1991) large northern Eurasian nation that had a communist government. Also called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the USSR.

    Titanic Noun

    luxury cruise ship that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912.

    triangulation Noun

    method of determining distance or placement of a point by measuring angles to it from known points.