Watch Live: The Washington Ideas Forum 2014

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.

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

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

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

More in Video

Just In