Titanic as You’ve Never Seen it Before: Ship in Stunning Details on Ocean Bed [Gallery]

New images of the Titanic reveal how the ship looks today lying 12,500ft down on the sea floor.

  • The stunning photos: The first-ever views of the complete remains of the ship in full profile can be found in the April 2012 edition of National Geographic Magazine. Photo: National GeographicThe stunning photos: The first-ever views of the complete remains of the ship in full profile can be found in the April 2012 edition of National Geographic Magazine. Photo: National Geographic
  • With her rudder cleaving the sand and two propeller blades peeking from the murk, Titanic’s mangled stern rests on the abyssal plain, 1,970 feet south of the more photographed bow. This optical mosaic combines 300 high-resolution images taken on a 2010 expedition. Photo: 2012 RMS Titanic, Inc; Produced by AIVL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute/National GeographicWith her rudder cleaving the sand and two propeller blades peeking from the murk, Titanic’s mangled stern rests on the abyssal plain, 1,970 feet south of the more photographed bow. This optical mosaic combines 300 high-resolution images taken on a 2010 expedition. Photo: 2012 RMS Titanic, Inc; Produced by AIVL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute/National Geographic
  • Two of Titanic’s engines lie exposed in a gaping cross section of the stern. Draped in “rusticles”—orange stalactites created by iron-eating bacteria—these massive structures, four stories tall, once powered the largest moving man-made object on Earth. Photo: 2012 RMS Titanic, Inc; Produced by AIVL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute/National GeographicTwo of Titanic’s engines lie exposed in a gaping cross section of the stern. Draped in “rusticles”—orange stalactites created by iron-eating bacteria—these massive structures, four stories tall, once powered the largest moving man-made object on Earth. Photo: 2012 RMS Titanic, Inc; Produced by AIVL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute/National Geographic
  • New images from the April 2012 edition of National Geographic magazine show the complete wreck of the Titanic for the first time ever. The luxury passenger liner sank 100 years ago after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage, killing 1,517 people. Photo: 2012 RMS Titanic, Inc; Produced by AIVL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute/National GeographicNew images from the April 2012 edition of National Geographic magazine show the complete wreck of the Titanic for the first time ever. The luxury passenger liner sank 100 years ago after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage, killing 1,517 people. Photo: 2012 RMS Titanic, Inc; Produced by AIVL, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute/National Geographic

The Titanic tragedy is one of the 20th century’s great dramas which has confounded scientists and historians for decades.

The photos, coincide with the 100th anniversary of the tragedy next month, are scheduled to be published in the April 2012 edition of National Geographic Magazine provide for the first time a sense of what the sunken ship looks like today.

These new photographs provide a greater understanding of what happened on that fateful April 15, 1912, writes The Daily Mail.

Unlike previous blurred and dark images of sections of the ship the latest photographs are absolutely clear and reveal the full extent of the wreckage. On the pictures can be also seen a five-mile by three-mile field of debris including bits of hull and staircases around the stern.

It took scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts months to collect images during programmed sweeps of the surrounding areas. More than 1,500 people died when the Titanic sank on its voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912.

Bill Lange of WHOI said: “Now we know where everything is. After a hundred years, the lights are finally on.” The multi-million dollar project saw three robots sent down to the Titanic, and they moved the length of the ship capturing thousands of images with optical cameras and sonar devices, claims The Telegraph.

The stunning photos: The first-ever views of the complete remains of the ship in full profile can be found in the April 2012 edition of National Geographic Magazine. Photo: National Geographic

“We like to picture shipwrecks as Greek temples on a hill – you know, very picturesque,” he said. “But they’re not. They’re ruined industrial sites: piles of plates and rivets and stiffeners. If you’re going to interpret this stuff, you gotta love Picasso.”

The research team worked over the entire area of the ship and the surrounding seabed. In total, the area in question measures three miles by five miles.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been studying the wreck for decades, and one of their lead archaeologists spoke to The National Geographic to explain the significance of the technology used to capture these images.

The expedition’s chief scientist James Selgado told National Geographic Magazine: “This is a game-changer. In the past, trying to understand Titanic was like trying to understand Manhattan at midnight in a rainstorm, with a flashlight.”

He continued: “Now we have a site that can be understood and measured, with definite things to tell us. In years to come this historic map may give voice to those people who were silenced, seemingly forever, when the cold water closed over them.”

The story of the tragedy is well known: the ship left Southampton, England on its maiden voyage bound for New York. There were black tie dinners in the formal dining room, strolls along the promenade, and health treatments in the extravagant Turkish baths. In spite of the spoils that the ships’ creators spent on the decoration within, the technology was not useful at all at the time to avoid an iceberg.

Though the iceberg was spotted and alerted the officer on duty, the ship was too large to turn and fully avoid the crash. Having skidded along the starboard side of the ship, the iceberg damaged it repeatedly and poking fatal holes below the waterline of the ship. Experts claim that if it had crashed head on the ship would have survived.

But because of the length of the damage, and the fact that it was spread over so much of the starboard side of the ship, there was little that could be done to prevent it from sinking. The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, having taking with it about 1,500 people’s lives.

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