Weird History

The Titanic Wreckage Was Discovered During A Secret Cold War Mission

Early in the morning of April 15, 1912, the world's largest ocean liner slipped beneath the icy waves of the North Atlantic, carrying 1,500 people to their graves. For decades, the shipwreck remained hidden - but how did they find the Titanic?

Treasure hunters searched for the ocean liner for years, hoping to find valuable items that sank with the Titanic. But in 1985, oceanographer Robert Ballard successfully found the Titanic on a scientific mission. Or, at least, that's what he told the press. The mission was "strictly scientific," one scientist told The New York Times in 1985. In fact, the search for the Titanic was actually a cover story for a secret Cold War mission. 

Ballard discovered the ship's final resting place using a new technology: an undersea robot that could sweep the seafloor for weeks, transmitting pictures to a team of scientists on the surface. The US Navy funded the technology not to find the Titanic but to search for two sunken nuclear submarines. For decades, Ballard provided the perfect cover for the secret mission.