What It Was Like to Map the Titanic

Oceanographer David Gallo on taking risks — at 12,500 feet under the sea

User's Guide to Energy Special Report bug
A series of interviews with leaders in media, tech, and the arts
See more

In 1985, when explorers finally discovered the remains of the Titanic resting on the ocean floor off the coast of Newfoundland, the world thought a long-standing mystery had finally been solved. But two and a half decades later, David Gallo, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, was not content.

“Many people said, ‘We’ve already found Titanic, we’ve already been to Titanic,’” he said in an interview for Atlantic Video’s Creative Breakthroughs series. In 2010, he led a team of archaeologists, oceanographers, and scientists on an expedition to map every inch of the wreckage, creating the first-ever virtual reconstruction of the ship.

“By doing this thing that was very routine – it’s like mowing a lawn or plowing a field – by doing that… this image of the story emerged that’s just fantastic,” Gallo said. Hear more about his undersea adventures and advice for young explorers in the video above.

This interview was filmed at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival.

Emma Green is the assistant managing editor of TheAtlantic.com, where she also writes about religion and culture.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Video

Just In