OceanGate’s deepsea submersible “Titan” that will be used to survey the wreckage of the RMS Titanic.

The Everett based company, OceanGate, is set to begin its RMS Titanic expedition debut in four days’ time, according to their website. The company provides crewed submersible assets and expertise for commercial, research and military applications. The journey named, Titan will be comprised of researchers and citizen explorers voyaging a 3,800-meter dive (12,800 feet) below the surface of the North Atlantic to the final resting ground of the RMS Titanic. Resent findings have shown the wreck deteriorating at a rapid rate, speeding up the efforts to chronical and observe the wreckage remaining above the ocean floor.

The crew will depart from St. John’s Newfoundland with scientists, content experts, and mission specialists joining the crew in a multi-year series of week-long missions totaling 18-dives. They will be using the latest in subsea technologies to digitally survey, document, and asses the current condition of the shipwreck. Specifically, high definition deepsea 4K cameras and a 3D sonar scanner to advance the science about the RMS Titanic and its rate of deterioration at the bottom of the sea.  OceanGate expanded their arsenal of deep-sea submersibles to build two new subs capable of diving as deep as 6,000 meters (3.7 miles) which is one mile deeper than the wreckage.

United States Astronaut Hall of Fame inductee, and physician Dr. Scott Parazynski will be among the 40 crew members assigned to the exploration. Parazynski is no stranger to adventure. He has crewed five space shuttle flights, initiated seven spacewalks, and has even summited Mount Everest. “Being part of the inaugural expeditionary team for the Titanic Survey Expedition is an amazing opportunity. I’m looking forward to demonstrating the cutting-edge submersible technology that will change how we explore our deep oceans,” said Dr. Scott Parazynski. The NASA astronaut believes the mission will have its challenges, but within those challenges lies a catalyst for innovation.

In addition to Parazynski, two-time Titanic expedition team member, Rory Golden will be an Expeditionary Expert during the expedition. He was a part of the 2000’ and 2005’ Titanic expeditions and dives. “I will never forget the first time I saw the Titanic,” said Golden in an interveiw. “We were at the forward section, near the bow, and we slowly rose up a steel wall that was covered in rivets and rusticles.” Golden described the moment as a rush of emotions. “You are excited, amazed, and, at the same time, you feel a deep sadness for all those lost.”

Astronaut Scott Parazynski anchored to a foot restraint on the end of the Orbiter Boom Sensor System during his 7-hour, 19-minute spacewalk on the International Space Station on Nov. 3, 2007.

There are six missions scheduled for this summer. Each participating citizen scientist will embark on 8-days at sea as a Mission Specialist crewmember and make one untethered 8 to 10-hour submersible dive as part of a 5-person team. The team is made up of a sub pilot, a subject matter expert, and three mission specialists.

Some of the mission’s goals is to supplement the work done on previous scientific expeditions to capture data and images for the continued scientific study of the site. Also as previously stated, the crew will scan the shipwreck and portions of the debris field using the latest multi-beam sonar, laser scanning and photogrammetric technology. Lastly, the crew will be documenting the flora and fauna inhabiting the wreck site for comparison with data collected on prior scientific expeditions to better assess changes in the habitat and maritime heritage site.

Click here to find out more about OceanGate and their Titanic Survey Expedition.

Daniel Albert is an Award-Winning journalist majoring in Integrated Strategic Communications at Washington State University.