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Looking Up at Titanic
Time Machine
Posted: May 01, 2023
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    This image shows the bow of Titanic in 1986. It is 12,500 feet below the surface of the ocean. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution via AP)
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    Rust covers parts of two portholes of Titanic. (AP)
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    Titanic leaves England on April 10, 1912. (AP)
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    The deck of Titanic in 1986 (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution via AP)
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    Robert Ballard discovered the wreck of Titanic. (AP/Bob Child)
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Want a peek at the world’s most famous shipwreck? Better look fast. The remains of the RMS Titanic are decaying under the sea. So this winter, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution released 80 minutes of underwater video of Titanic. The film shows the inside of the ship.

The video was taken in 1986. In it, Robert Ballard descends deep into the sea. A giant shipwreck looms on the ocean floor.

Titanic struck an iceberg on April 15, 1912. At about two o’clock in the morning, it sank into the Atlantic. About 1,500 people died. Mr. Ballard’s team took the video of the wreck around 2:00 a.m. also—but 73 years later.

A steel wall rose more than 100 feet above Mr. Ballard and his crew.

“I never looked down at the Titanic,” Mr. Ballard remembers now. “I looked up at the Titanic. Nothing was small.”

Soon their craft—a submersible called Alvin—started taking water into its batteries. The crew headed back to the surface. They rose, and Mr. Ballard spotted Titanic’s portholes.

“It was like people looking back at us,” he says.

Searchers looked for the wreck for decades before Mr. Ballard arrived. But they didn’t have the right tools then. Alvin’s design could handle the freezing water temperatures and pressure.

The story of Titanic fascinates people to this day. In 1912, it was the world’s largest ocean liner. Its passengers included some of the wealthiest, most famous people on the planet. Some aboard gave their lives to save others. Another ship, Carpathia, rushed to rescue those who made it to lifeboats.

Mr. Ballard says, “I think everyone wonders in their own mind, ‘If I were there, what would I have done?’”

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. — John 15:13

Why? Technology doesn’t deserve our complete trust. And man-made things don’t last forever. But God is trustworthy and everlasting.