After holding onto the footage for nearly 37 years, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution released a video this week of the first-ever visit to the Titanic shipwreck at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
The footage was captured in July 1986 but not made public until this week.
The video’s release was intended to coincide with the 25-year anniversary of the “Titanic” movie.
One year before the video was captured, Robert Ballard and officials from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution mapped the Titanic shipwreck site for the first time using side scan sonar. This allowed researchers to map the Titanic’s location and to visit the site with a submersible ship.
The Titanic now sits more than 2 miles below the ocean’s surface off the coast of Newfoundland.
The discovery surprised many at the time because it was expected that the ship would have been preserved. Ocean currents and deep-sea creatures have chewed away at the ship since it sank in 1912, taking down nearly 1,500 passengers with it after striking an iceberg.
While it was hypothesized that the bottom of the ocean was relatively lifeless, scientists since discovered there is a variety of life that can thrive at the bottom of the ocean despite its darkness, chilling cold and intense pressure.