Robert Ballard of the Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) was eager to secure funding for projects of his that involved deep sea imaging. He figured the best way to get that funding would be to demonstrate what he could do by finding something everyone from here to there figured was lost forever: the wreck of the Titanic.

But he'd need funding for that too. So he made an agreement with the US Navy: they'd give him money to find the wrecks of two sunken US Navy subs and, if he was successful - and there was still funding from that project left over - he could use that extra money to go search for the Titanic. Well, he found both subs (the USS Scorpion and the USS Thresher) and then set sail for the chilly waters of the north Atlantic. Armed with the robotic diving vessel Argo he spent several days sweeping the seabed looking for a debris field he believed (rightly) would lead him to the wreck itself. Finally on September 1, 1985 cameras on the Argo began to pick up pieces of man made debris on the ocean floor and soon after Ballard and the others on the mothership, The Knorr, were staring at the the hull of the once great ocean liner.

A year later Ballard returned to the wreck with a deep sea submersible called Alvin and dove to the site personally, returning with a treasure trove of both still and video imagery.

The discovery of Titanic touched off a firestorm of publicity and the legendary ship and its tale of woe has been with us (non-stop it seems) ever since in the form of numberless books, TV specials and a little movie you might have heard of that came out in 1997.