New 3D Titanic wreck scans are composed of over 715,000 images

The ship's data is now frozen in time and could be used to research the reason for its sinking.
Ameya Paleja
Artist's rendition of what Titanic must have been at sea
Artist's rendition of what Titanic must have been at sea


More than 100 years after it sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean on its maiden voyage, RMS Titanic remains an enigma. Now a deep-sea mapping company and a production house have brought us new three-dimensional scans of the sunken ship by stitching together more than 715,000 images, the BBC reported.

1,500 people, including passengers and crew members, were killed when the Titanic hit an iceberg during its voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912. However, much information about its sinking has just been speculation. The exact cause of the sinking remains a mystery, and the only clues to solving it lie at a depth of 12,500 feet (3,800 m) in the Atlantic Ocean.

So, deep sea mapping company Magellan Ltd decided to delve into the depths to gather data that could help solve the mystery, and a production house, Atlantic Productions, decided to make a documentary about it. Last summer, Magellan spent more than 200 hours collecting images of the sunken ship, which were stitched together, and a preview was released recently.

3D scans of the Titanic

Multiple missions have investigated the Titanic since the shipwreck was found in 1985. This has been done through submersibles and cameras that focus on providing close shots of the sunken ship.

Magellan, however, took a different approach and wanted to capture the shipwreck in its entirety. To do so, it deployed the submersibles across the length and breadth of the shipwreck and took more than 715,000 images from every angle.

After spending 200 hours surveying the ship, the team collected 16 terabytes of data and 4k resolution videos of the wreck. It then spent months stitching together these bits of information to make a photorealistic 3D model.

The wreck of the ship consists of two parts, the bow, and the stern, which are separated by a distance of 2,600 feet (800 m) and a huge debris field surrounding the vessel.

The bow is the most recognizable part of the ship, and a gaping hole on top is the void left by the grand staircase. The stern, on the other hand, is a mangled mess of metal. The team was also able to get broad three-dimensional views of the boiler, radio rooms, and staterooms without water interference, which is common in video footage.

The debris field includes ornate metalwork, statues that once adorned the ship, and many personal possessions that never reached their final destination. The scans also captured tinier details like the serial number on the propeller of the ship.

In the time the ship has remained on the ocean bed, microbes have been steadily eating away the manmade structure. As parts disintegrate, historians are running out of time to figure out what happened on the fateful night of 1912.

A detailed 3D scan like this has frozen the information in time and could be used by experts to reveal the secrets that stay sunken with the Titanic.

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