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 managing editor of TheAtlantic.com, where she also writes about religion and culture.

Our Incredible, Microscopic World

Highlights from Nikon's Small World in Motion competition, featuring zebrafish embryos, killer T cells attacking cancer, and much more

Join the Discussion

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

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in Video

Just In