By Maureen O’Hare, CNN
New images have been released showing the wreck of the RMS Titanic as it has never been seen before: in 8K quality, the highest screen resolution currently available.
That’s a horizontal resolution of 8,000 pixels, which is twice as clear as a 4K TV. And that means there’s an unprecedented level of detail and color in this latest exploration of the 110-year-old wreck.
The video was captured by OceanGate Expeditions during its 2022 visit to the site, which sits 2.4 miles below the surface of the North Atlantic, about 400 nautical miles from Newfoundland, Canada.
OceanGate organizes expeditions to the wreckage of the Titanic with crews of submersible diving experts, Titanic historians and scientific researchers, alongside civilian mission specialists “who pay $250,000 for the privilege of being one of the few people to have ever seen the legendary ship’s final resting place first-hand.
“The stunning detail in the 8K images will help our team of marine scientists and archaeologists more accurately characterize Titanic’s decay as we capture new images in 2023 and beyond,” said Stockton Rush, president of OceanGate Expeditions. , in a press release. What’s even more remarkable, he added, are “the phenomenal colors.”
Newly released images pan across the bow of the Titanic, which sank first after the British liner struck an iceberg on the night of April 15, 1912.
Vessel features, such as the name of the anchor maker, Noah Hingley & Sons Ltd on the port anchor, are now visible. “I’ve been studying the wreck for decades and have done multiple dives, and I don’t recall seeing any other image showing this level of detail,” said OceanGate Expeditions Titanic expert and diver Rory Golden. Titanic veteran, in the release.
The green lights seen on the port anchor as the camera pans come from the laser scaling system, said Paul Henry Nargeolet, a veteran Nautile submersible pilot and Titanic diver. “This system allows us to accurately determine the size of objects […] The distance between the two green lights is 10 centimeters.
“At the start of the video you can see the crane used to deploy the massive 15 tonne anchor still on the wreck’s deck and the shackle that was originally attached to the main mast which has now collapsed “, also explained Nargelot.
Later in the video we see three round structures along the interior railing. These, Nargelot said, are the triple fairleads that once fed the mooring ropes to bollards ashore to secure the 269-metre vessel when in port.
The images also show the first of Titanic’s two hulls, its huge anchor chain (each link weighing around 200 pounds), the first of Titanic’s six cargo holds and the ship’s massive bronze capstans.
There is also substantial evidence of decay where part of the ship’s rail collapsed and fell.
“One of the most amazing clips shows one of the asymmetrical boilers that fell to the ocean floor when the Titanic broke in two. It was notably one of the boilers at one end that was first spotted when the wreckage of the Titanic was identified in 1985,” Golden said.
“By comparing the sequences and the images of [our 2021 expedition], we see slight changes in some areas of the wreckage,” Rush said. “Our science team will review 8K, 4K and other footage captured during the Titanic 2022 expedition for any changes.”
The extraordinary wreckage is breaking down at a rapid pace. Salt water and sea pressure have silently wreaked havoc over the past century and more, while microbes eat away at the steel hull, creating thousands of rusticles – those oxidized orange-green formations that hang from the Titanic like as many thousands of ice cubes. Some estimates say that the ship will disappear in a few decades.
OceanGate Expeditions hopes the new images will help determine the liner’s current rate of degradation, as future expeditions capture more images that can be compared year after year.
The video should also help scientists identify species seen on and around the Titanic, while archaeologists will be able to document the wreckage and debris field in more detail.
Places are now open for the 2023 expedition, which will depart from Newfoundland in May next year. Those who left the depths will be one of two or three hundred who made the journey – fewer people than those who traveled into space.
Candidates for the 10-day mission (including 8 days at sea) can contact OceanGate to discuss qualifications, availability and that quarter-million prize.
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Top image: Above the surface during OceanGate’s Titanic 2022 Expedition (Credit: OceanGate).