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Raise the Titanic! Virtually, that is.

Video on the Titanic.

Liner and Cruise History: Raise the Titanic! Virtually, that is.

On Aug. 18, an expedition will begin exploring the lost ship, some 2.5 miles down on the floor of the Atlantic.

“Ultimately our mission is to preserve the legacy of this monument to human history,” says David Gallo of the Woods Hole (Mass.) Oceanographic Institution. Gallo is co-leader of the expedition with P.H. Nargeolet of RMS Titanic Inc., which has rights to explore the wreck, first located in 1985.

In a pair of two-week voyages, underwater robots will take three-dimensional sonar and video images of the bow, stern and debris field from the wreck. Then, teams will return to take samples from the decaying iron of its hull, aimed at answering questions about the mechanism of its demise.

Researchers from the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, the Maritime Heritage Program of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Submerged Resources Center of the National Park Service will join the expedition. “We commend RMS Titanic for their approach to the site and for their leadership for this mission and look forward to working with all our partners on this significant project that will not only help map the site but also suggest a blueprint for its future,” says INA’s James Delgado, in a statement.

Exhibitions are planned following completion of the three-dimensional mapping of the complete debris field, including items lodged beneath the muddy seafloor. “We do think the debris field will tell us a lot about what happened that night,” says WHOI’s Bill Lange. “I’m looking forward to having another look.”

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