Robert Ballard Found the Titanic but His Work is Never Done

Layla Harris

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When Robert Ballard was a teenager, he joined the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps, and later transferred to the Navy. As a lover of the water, Ballard knew he had "Ended up in the perfect place" when he was stationed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, according to National Geographic

Robert Ballard Titanic Finding
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After leaving the Navy, the ocean-fanatic went on to get his Ph.D. at the University of Rhode Island. He then became a research scientist at Woods Hole, which soon led him to one of his largest discoveries. It all began in 1977 when the scientist took on his first exploratory dive in search of the Titanic.

Historical Robert Ballard Titanic
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With the loss of two submarines, the first search was nothing short of catastrophic. But after joining several search crews, he soon came up successful. After what Ballard called, "Mowing the lawn," or tracking the ocean's floor back and forth, he found something - a boiler tucked in among debris.

Titanic Discovery Robert Ballard
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In 1985, Robert discovered the Titanic during his third attempt to locate the ocean liner, and quickly became widely known as "The man who found the Titanic." Ballard and his team then used "The Hercules," a powerful light that allowed searchers to see into the depths of the ocean.

Underwater Treasure Ballard Titanic
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After realizing the ship would be damaged and possibly no longer in one piece, Ballard turned his attention to the ocean's current patterns. Thus, he began to search for debris. In what must have felt like forever, the search finally turned up the ship's remnants. As it turned out, the submarines that had been sent down further damaged the ship.

However, scientists and explorers were able to look past the damage and preserve much of the Titanic's traits. Per National Geographic, Ballard described the depths of the ocean as "A world of total darkness, and it's not dark to me...I see it." Thankfully, Ballard made it possible for us to experience his discovery as well.

Robert Ballard Titanic Museum
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To discuss how to keep the remaining artifacts of the Titanic as well-preserved as possible, underwater archaeologist Ballard, met with historians Don Lynch and Ken Marschall to speak of tactics to be put in place. Ballard event mentioned rumors of the ship's remnants turning into an underwater museum.