100 Years Later, How to Save the Titanic?

Experts fear she'll become 'a pile of rust on the bottom of the ocean'

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 4, 2012 1:24 PM CDT

(Newser) – On April 15, the "unsinkable" Titanic will have sat on the ocean floor for a century—and experts fear that if she's left there, she'll eventually dissolve in the ocean's elements. But what to do? "You can't 'Raise the Titanic,'" says Robert Ballard, the explorer who discovered the Titanic's remains in 1985, referring to a 1980 movie based on the idea of raising the ship. Doing so "would destroy it." So officials and experts are pushing other ideas; Ballard's dream involves turning it into a virtual museum, allowing visitors to view it from above via cameras, USA Today reports.

Exhibitions have brought up artifacts from the wreck, ranging from jewelry to letters to an 18-ton portion of the ship's hull, a process that some survivors appreciate. But the site has also become a tourist attraction, with Russian subs bringing rich looky-loos down, and that has caused a buildup of garbage near the wreck; the US Coast Guard recently asked ships to refrain from dropping trash within 10 nautical miles. What next? Ballard wants to preserve the wreck by cleaning and repainting the hull and injecting bacteria-killing preservatives, but that's an expensive prospect.

In this Aug. 28, 2010 image released by Premier Exhibitions, Inc.-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Titanic bow is shown.   (AP Photo/Premier Exhibitions, Inc.-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
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