Nearly 20 years after first finding the sunken remains of the R.M.S. Titanic, marine explorer Robert Ballard returned in June 2004, helped by the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration to study the ship’s rapid deterioration. This “look, don’t touch” mission used high-definition video and stereoscopic still images to provide an updated assessment of the wreck site at a depth of 3,840 meters (12,600 feet).
As the nation’s ocean agency, NOAA has a vested interest in the scientific and cultural aspects of the Titanic and in its appropriate treatment and preservation. NOAA’s focus is to build a baseline of scientific information from which we can measure the shipwreck’s processes and deterioration, and then apply the knowledge we gain to other deepwater shipwrecks and submerged cultural resources.