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?

    • Answer

      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?

    • Answer

      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?

    • Answer

      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?

    • Answer

      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?

    • Answer

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

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.

Noun

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

Noun

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

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.