Turns out a haunting remnant of seafaring hasn't changed that much since 1845. A remote-controlled vehicle sent to investigate the sunken HMS Terror—which carried 133 men to their doom in the Arctic—found neatly organized desks and beds, glasses and plates on shelves, and scientific instruments in their place, suggesting there might be early photographs and even legible journals and charts, National Geographic reports. (See video here.) After all, what happened on Sir John Franklin's ship is mostly unknown. "The impression we witnessed when exploring the HMS Terror is of a ship only recently deserted by its crew, seemingly forgotten by the passage of time," senior Parks Canada archaeologist Ryan Harris tells the Guardian.
Seven dives off the coast of King William Island in Nunavut revealed twenty separate rooms with doors "all eerily wide open" except one, says Harris: the captain's sleeping quarters. Did the last man out shut the door? "I'd love to know what's in there," he adds. The Parks Canada team also used 3D mapping to survey the ship and found 90% of the vessel accessible. The crew apparently had a daguerreotype apparatus which, if used, could have produced glass plates that experts might still develop. And journals could reveal more of the crew's fate. A note by Franklin found under a cairn in 1859 said the ship was locked in by ice, prompting mass death and a trek by survivors seeking help—which no doubt ended in disaster. (See how Franklin's wife tried to find him.)