Shortly after midnight on April 14th, 1912, the unsinkable Titanic hit an iceberg. A few hours later it completely sank in the icy waters of the Northern Atlantic Ocean. More than 1,500 people aboard died, and only 700 passengers and crew members survived to be rescued by the R.M.S. Carpathia. For 73 years the whereabouts of the Titanic remained uncertain. until a secret military expedition.
In 1985 Robert Ballard found the Titanic around 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The discovery stemmed from a secret United States Navy investigation of two wrecked nuclear submarines.
Two American submarines sank during the Cold War in the 1960s, the U.S.S. Scorpion and USS Thresher. Both of these vessels contained nuclear devices. Two decades later, in 1982, the US government wanted to understand the state of these nuclear devices with clear photo evidence, and they wanted to know if the Soviets had been there.
Ballard was a Navy officer and underwater archeologist, his technology would be able to reach the sunken subs and take pictures. He asked the Navy if he could search for the Titanic, which was located between the two wrecks. The Navy emphasized the search mission was to study the sunken warships. The Navy allowed Ballard to search for the Titanic, however, he had to find the other two wreckage sights first. After the Navy was satisfied with Ballard's work, he had twelve days to find the Titanic.
Ballard learned from the wreckages of the Scorpion and Thresher that they both had imploded before they hit the bottom of the ocean. The implosions left a trail of debris. The same thing happened to the Titanic. He speculated that the ship had broken in half and left a debris trail as it sank. So he decided to follow the debris and it would lead him to the Titanic. With time running out, the Titanic boiler finally popped up on his screen, meaning Titanic had been seen for the first time in seven decades.
It was only in 2008 when Ballard revealed to the world that he found the famous shipwreck as the result of a top-secret military expedition. Artifacts and data discovered at the wreck site continue to advance scientific understanding of underwater archaeological preservation and bio-deterioration.