2001 Cameron Expedition Revisited 5 years later


Scott Newman

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Jun 16, 2004
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I was a little bored yesterday, so I decided to watch Ghosts of the Abyss.

An interesting quote by Cameron: And if we're gonna do interior exploration, we have to do it now, because five years from now, there might not be anything. Five years ago, the technology didn't exist. We had to will it into existence.

Has it already been 5 years? So, 5 years later, the questions come to mind:

Are we glad we didn't wait?
What would we have missed if we waited 5 more years?
What technology has been "willed" into existence since 2001?

I realize, of course, that we got to see some cool stuff in 2005, but are we finished exploring?

Positively speaking: Technology continues to open the door for further exploration. Just look at how far bot technology has come since 1985!
It seems like each expedition brings with it the latest advances.

Negatively speaking: Deterioration. If the technology had been there in 1985, we'd probably have fantastic images of the gymnasium!

My opinion is that the only answer is to proceed with more exploration! As an avid fan of nature photography, a photographer never takes one picture and hopes it turns out perfect. Usually, we go through many rolls of film, only to return to the same spot a second time to see what nature brings us!

But we must continue to be sensitive of Titanic's state. As she continues to deteriorate and succumb to nature, we must stay diligent in doing what we can to preserve the wreck for posterity.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I think the question of preservation is entirely moot. Titanic lies in salt water and salt water is merciless with steel. Whether we like or not, there isn't an awful lot we can proactively do about it beyond perhaps standing back and letting nature take it's course. Even then at best, it delays the inevitable by only the tiniest bit. In any contest between man and nature, man invariably comes in as a poor runner up. Always has, and always will.

I think that James Cameron showed us the way that Titanic can be explored in a way where science benefits with a minimal impact on the wreck itself. ROV's operated by people who know what they're doing, who do their best to make the technology better, and who document the condition of the ship without touching a thing.
 
Sep 29, 2005
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Hello Michael,

I could not agree with you more on all of your statements. You have a very keen understanding of the environment and challenges that we scientists have while visiting the deep ocean, especially Titanic. Diving down and visiting Titanic gives many scientists the opportunity to explore a very alien world where man has only been a recent observer. We know more about the far side of the moon and Mars then our own deep oceans. The area surrounding Titanic is a wonderful field laboratory for discovering new life and new biological processes. Many of these biological processes can be seen through its interactions with Titanic. In my two expeditions to Titanic, I was totally in awe of nature and equally stunned about how much the Titanic and its environment is teeming with life. The deep ocean is not dead; it is very much alive, vivid and dynamic!

David A. Bright
Nautical Research Group, Inc.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Thanks David. For me, it just comes from a lot of years as a deckplate sailor and trying to keep ahead of corrosion with chippers and buckets of paint or watching the Deck Department trying to do it. The Titanic's condition is no surprise to me, nor is her accelerating deterioration.

I'll be looking forward to your work on the Empress Of Ireland. Just you all be careful down there.
 
Sep 29, 2005
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Michael-thank you for your sentiments! Once I return from the Empress of Ireland, I will be leading another underwater expedition out to the Andrea Doria. This will be another busy yet wonderful summer of visiting historic shipwrecks and capturing their current condition and environment. It is my hope to come away from these underwater projects with significant shipwreck news about its science or historical context. Once I return, I will provide our expedition data to the public. Another wonderful event that I chair is the Andrea Doria Survivors Reunion that will take place at the end of July at the United States Merchant Marine Academy. This private affair is for the survivors and their families only and provides them an outlet for closure and remembrance of this tragedy with other survivors.

David A. Bright
Nautical Research Group, Inc.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>I will be leading another underwater expedition out to the Andrea Doria. <<

Whoa! The Mt. Everest of shipwrecks! Better watch it down there too. That's one of the noisiest shipwrecks on the ocean floor now, and that's because she's practically falling apart as you watch. Did you by chance see Ken Marshall's revision of what the ship looks like on Deep Sea Detectives?
 
Sep 29, 2005
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Hello Michael,

I am very aware of its tenuous state since I have over 120 dives to its watery remains. I served as a technical coordinator for that Andrea Doria Deep Sea Detective (DSD) show. Myself and John Chatterton (DSD host) have been dive partners together on this wreck for several dives in the late 1980's through 1993 (well before he went Hollywood :^) ). Additionally, I keep tabs on the shipwreck from my other old Doria diving dinosaur (Gentile, Malone, McMurray etc..)buddies, like myself, who tell me about their experiences on the wreck.

My expedition to this wreck site will be different from others in that we will be conducting science by using photometric analyses on the degradation of the hull of the Andrea Doria. We should be the first expedition to use high-definition cameras and videos to chronicle the ship's decay. None of that "China Fever" for our group! Look for several of my new Andrea Doria documentaries that will air on PBS ( http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/case_andreadoria/index.html ) and other cable channels.

David A. Bright
Nautical Research Group, Inc.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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David, I hope you guys can come up with a mosiac of the ship showing her overall condition as she is today. I don't know if I'll have a chance to watch anything on PBS but I'll keep an eye out for anything on the schedules. (Or anything you can give us a heads up on here!)

Y'all stay safe down there.
 

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