New images of the Titanic show the complete wreck of the sunken ship, resting 12,500ft down on the sea floor, for the first time ever. The luxury passenger liner sank on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912 after striking an iceberg killing more than 1,500 people.
The images, released in National Geographic magazine’s April 2012 edition to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the tragedy next month, were created using sonar.
Unlike previous dim and dark pictures of sections of the ship the latest photographs are clear and reveal the full extent of the wreckage.
They also show a five-mile by three-mile field of debris including bits of hull and staircases around the stern. The seabed nearby is pitted with craters made by boulders sinking from melting icebergs.
Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts took months to produce the latest images.
“Now we know where everything is. After a hundred years, the lights are finally on,” the Telegraph quoted Bill Lange of WHOI as saying.
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.
“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,” the expedition’s chief scientist James Selgado told National Geographic.
“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,” he added.