An ambitious digital imaging project has created what researchers are describing as a “digital twin” of the RMS Titanic, showing the wreckage of the doomed ocean liner in a level of detail never before captured.
The project, undertaken by Magellan Ltd., a deep-sea seabed mapping company, yielded more than 16 terabytes of data, 715,000 still images and high-definition video. The visuals were captured during a six-week expedition in the summer of 2022, nearly 2.4 miles below the surface of the North Atlantic, Atlantic Productions, which is working on a documentary about the project, said in a news release.
Researchers used two submarines called Romeo and Juliet to map “every millimeter” of the wreckage, as well as the entire three-mile debris field. The model, which shows the ship lying on the ocean floor and the surrounding area, took about eight months to create, said Anthony Geffen, CEO and creative director of Atlantic Productions.
“Now we’re going to write the real science of Titanic,” he said.
Previous images of the wreck, found less than 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland in 1985, suffered from poor light and murky water. The new images effectively removed the ocean water, allowing the wreckage to be examined in “extraordinary detail,” Atlantic Productions said, noting that a serial number could be seen on a propeller.
The Titanic, the largest passenger ship built at the time, sank on April 15, 1912, after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage. Many details of the disaster, which killed more than 1,500 people, have remained a mystery ever since.
The models offer new details about the shipwreck that were not known before, Mr. Geffen said. For example, he said, one of the lifeboats was blocked by a stuck piece of metal and could not be deployed.
Submarines captured images of personal artifacts, such as watches, top hats and unopened bottles of champagne, that were strewn across the debris field. Experts hope to be able to match personal belongings with Titanic passengers using artificial intelligence, Mr Geffen said. He added that someday people will also be able to witness the shipwreck through virtual reality and augmented reality.
“In accordance with strict regulations, the remains were not touched or disturbed,” Atlantic Productions said, adding that the site was treated “with the utmost respect, which included a flower-laying ceremony in memory of those who lost your life.”
“This was a challenging mission,” Richard Parkinson, Magellan’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. “In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, we had to battle the elements, bad weather and technical challenges to carry out this unprecedented operation to map and digitize the Titanic.”