The legendary Titanic has been unearthed like never before — with the first-ever full-size 3D reconstruction revealing incredible new details about the doomed cruise liner 111 years after its infamous sinking.
More than 1,500 passengers died after the ship struck an iceberg and sank while sailing from Southhampton, England, to New York in April 1912.
The disaster has fascinated the world for more than a century. However, much is still unknown about the specifics of the shipwreck — but that could now change.
The stunning images were created from more than 700,000 scans of the wreckage that were captured last summer by Atlantic Productions and deep-sea mapping company Magellan Ltd.
“It allows you to see the wreck as you can never see it from a submersible,” Parks Stephenson, a Titanic analyst, told BBC News of the reconstruction.
“You can see the wreck in its entirety, you can see it in context and perspective.”
He hailed the new model as “one of the first major steps to driving the Titanic story towards evidence-based research — and not speculation.”
Stephenson told the BBC that the scans could offer new insight into how the Titanic hit the iceberg as it sailed 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
“We really don’t understand the character of the collision with the iceberg,” he explained. “We don’t even know if she hit it along the starboard side, as is shown in all the movies. She might have grounded on the iceberg.”
Stephenson added that analyzing the stern of the ship in the 3D reconstruction could “reveal the mechanics of how the ship struck the sea floor.”
Magellan Ltd.’s Gerhard Seiffert planned the painstaking expedition to capture the 700,000 scans of the Titanic, which lies submerged more than 4,000 meters below the Atlantic Ocean.
A team of experts used remote-controlled submersibles to survey the length and breadth of the wreck and spent more than 200 hours capturing the scans.
They needed to capture images from every angle in order to accurately re-create the 3D reconstruction.
“The depth of it, almost 4000m, represents a challenge, and you have currents at the site, too — and we’re not allowed to touch anything so as not to damage the wreck,” Seiffert stated.
“And the other challenge is that you have to map every square centimeter — even uninteresting parts, like on the debris field you have to map mud, but you need this to fill in between all these interesting objects.”
The wreck of the Titanic lies in two parts, surrounded by huge amounts of debris.
Some of the incredible scans show statues, unopened Champagne bottles and shoes lying on the floor of the ocean.
The images are so clear that minute details, including the serial number on one of the propellers, can clearly be seen.
Despite sinking in 1912, the Titanic was not discovered until 1985. Footage of the vessel that was captured the following year was only released this past February, thrilling history buffs.
The video of a 1986 expedition, which runs 80 minutes long and takes viewers inside the shipwreck, was released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
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