BELFAST.- Professor Robert Ballard,professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island., pauses while speaking to the media at the Titanic Belfast Building, Northern Ireland, Saturday, April 14, 2012. Ballard and his team discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985.
AP Photo/Peter Morrison.
And from The Daily Beast:
Robert Ballard's life's dream was to find the most famous shipwreck in the world, but if not for the Cold War and two missing submarines, the Titanic might never have been found.
Ballard, who also discovered the wreck of the Bismarck and the USS Yorktown, became interested in ocean exploration as a child while reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. “From a very early age, I wanted to be Captain Nemo and I wanted to explore the ocean floor,” he says. With his parents’ encouragement, he joined the Navy, worked at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and became an oceanographer. After 53 years and more than 130 expeditions, the 69-year-old adventurer is “still at it and hoping for a new discovery.”
Ballard had long been fascinated by Titanic, and always dreamed of finding it. Back in the 1970s, he led a failed expedition to do just that. But it wasn't until 1985, while serving as a naval intelligence officer, that he was able to secure the technology and funding that helped him finally discover it 1,000 miles due east of Boston. Having helped the U.S. Navy develop unmanned submarines, Ballard thought the technology might be useful in finding the lost ship. The Navy had little interest in funding the search, but it was very interested in finding the USS Scorpion and the USS Thresher, two nuclear submarines that were lost in the 1960s on either side of where the Titanic went down. With the Cold War still in its final throes, the Navy had to keep the true nature of the submarine search a secret. They told Ballard that if he could find the subs, then afterward he could use their technology to search for the ship—but the world would think the expedition was about finding the Titanic from the beginning.
Lots more at The Daily Beast. Includes photos.
Monday, April 16, 2012
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