The rusted prow of the R.M.S. Titanic ocean liner sits in the dark waters of the North Atlantic ocean off the coast of New Foundland. While this is an iconic image of the sunken ship, the boiler of the Titanic plays a more important role in the ship's history. Until its discovery in 1985, the location of the Titanic was a mystery. Robert Ballard, co-discoverer of the ship, said that he and his team knew they had found Titanic when the team spotted its boiler on the ocean floor.

Photograph by Emory Kristof, National Geographic
  • On July 18, 1986, new video footage of the sunken ocean liner RMS Titanic was released to the public. These videos were taken on the first manned expedition to the shipwreck site, discovered less than a year earlier. The footage offered astonishing views of the luxurious features Titanic was known for, including grand staircases and glittering chandeliers.

    A year after discovering Titanic, National Geographic Explorer in Residence Robert Ballard returned to the wreck with the submarine craft Alvin. Ballard and several others traveled more than 3 kilometers (2 miles) under the surface of the ocean to explore the site. Alvin’s crew saw a remarkably intact ship: the boiler room, the remains of a wood-burning stove, unopened Champagne bottles, and the ship’s safe, which was left unopened and undisturbed.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    astonish Verb

    to greatly surprise.

    chandelier Noun

    large, complex lighting fixture that usually hangs from a ceiling.

    discover Verb

    to learn or understand something for the first time.

    expedition Noun

    journey with a specific purpose, such as exploration.

    Explorer-in-Residence Noun

    pre-eminent explorers and scientists collaborating with the National Geographic Society to make groundbreaking discoveries that generate critical scientific information, conservation-related initiatives and compelling stories.

    footage Noun

    moving images recorded by video or motion picture cameras.

    luxurious Adjective

    rich or self-indulgent.

    shipwreck Noun

    remains of a sunken marine vessel.

    submarine Noun

    vehicle that can travel underwater.

    Titanic Noun

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