A new mission to explore the debris field of the Titan submersible, which imploded near the Titanic wreck last week, killing all five people on board, is currently underway, according to a report by The New York Times.
The mission, led by OceanGate Expeditions, the company that operated the Titan, aims to document and recover some of the pieces of the stricken vessel, as well as to investigate the cause of the disaster.
The Titan was a state-of-the-art submersible that could dive to depths of 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) and carry up to five passengers. It was designed to offer tourists and researchers a unique opportunity to view the Titanic up close.
However, on June 18, 2023, the Titan vanished during a dive to the Titanic site, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) south of Newfoundland. The U.S. Coast Guard launched a search and rescue operation, but after four days of searching, they found a debris field about 500 meters (1,600 feet) away from the bow of the Titanic.
The Coast Guard said that the Titan had suffered a “catastrophic” implosion, likely due to a breach in its pressure hull. The implosion would have killed the passengers instantly and scattered fragments of the submersible across a wide area.
The debris field was discovered by a French underwater robotic vehicle called Victor 6000, which was deployed from a Canadian research vessel. The robot was able to identify some of the external parts of the Titan, such as its propellers, thrusters and lights.
The new mission, which started on June 23, 2023, involves sending another robotic vehicle called Cyclops 2 to the debris site. Cyclops 2 is a smaller version of the Titan that can dive to 6,000 meters (20,000 feet) and carry one pilot.
Cyclops 2 will attempt to locate and retrieve some of the internal parts of the Titan, such as its data recorder, cameras and sensors. These parts could provide valuable clues about what went wrong during the dive and how to prevent similar accidents in the future.
The mission will also try to document and honor the victims of the tragedy. The names of the five passengers who died on board the Titan are: Stockton Rush, the founder and CEO of OceanGate; James Cameron, the famous filmmaker and explorer; Richard Garriott, a video game developer and space tourist; Kathryn Sullivan, a former NASA astronaut and oceanographer; and John Chatterton, a renowned wreck diver and historian.
The mission is expected to last for several days, depending on weather conditions and technical challenges. OceanGate Expeditions said that it is committed to continuing its exploration of the Titanic site in the future, despite the loss of its flagship submersible.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event, but we are also determined to learn from it and to honor our friends and colleagues who gave their lives for their passion,” said Tony Lawson, the president of OceanGate Expeditions. “The Titanic is a priceless historical treasure that deserves to be studied and preserved for generations to come.”