X is for the Unknown; X marks the spot

Each summer, Dr. Ballard and his team will launch an exciting expedition on the E/V Nautilus to explore ancient history and learn more about the ocean. YOU can watch it as it happens.

After our trip to Newport, RI in April, we stopped for a day in Mystic, Connecticut to see the Mystic Aquarium. The daughter especially loved the beluga whales. But it was by sheer happenstance that we arrived the very day a new exhibit about the Titanic opened. We learned quite a bit about Dr. Robert Ballard, whose team found the Titanic in 1985.

Robert Ballard was a kid – born in the Midwest, but growing up in San Diego, California – who identified with Captain Nemo in the Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. So he logically asked what real jobs would point him in that direction. Ultimately, he earned undergraduate degrees in chemistry and geology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, a Masters in geophysics from the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Geophysics, and was working towards a Ph.D. in marine geology at the University of Southern California in 1967 when he was called to active military duty. Upon his request, Ballard was transferred from the Army into the US Navy as an oceanographer.

In the summer of 1985, Ballard was on a “trip was being financed by the U.S. Navy specifically for secret reconnaissance of the wreckage of two Navy nuclear-powered attack submarines, the USS Scorpion and the USS Thresher, that sank in the 1960s and not for Titanic…The Navy was not interested in spending that kind of money in searching for the large ocean liner. However, they were interested in finding out what happened to their missing submarines and ultimately concluded that Argo was their best chance to do so.” The fear was that, if it was announced that the United States was looking for the submarines, the Soviets would track the Argo. Looking for Titanic was a viable cover story.

But find the Titanic they did, and subsequently a number of other ships, such as the Bismarck, the Lusitania, and JFK’s PT-109. “In the 1990s Ballard founded the Institute for Exploration, which specializes in deep-sea archaeology and deep-sea geology. It joined forces in 1999 with the Mystic Aquarium… They are a part of the non-profit Sea Research Foundation, Inc.”

What’s REALLY cool is Nautilus Live. Each summer, Dr. Ballard and his team will launch an exciting expedition on the E/V Nautilus to explore ancient history and learn more about the ocean. YOU can watch it as it happens.

(Yes, it’s a cheat. I COULD have titled this post-Nautilus, Oceanography, Titanic, Underwater, Ballard, or several others. But X is so difficult, especially the 6th time through!)

ABC Wednesday – Round 10

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

28 thoughts on “X is for the Unknown; X marks the spot”

  1. I’ll forgive you, because this WAS interesting, but I was kind of expecting something else. I’d go look at your previous ones, but I never do that before I do my own post because that would be, um, cheating… or something.

    BTW, will there be a Round 11?

  2. well, about half of my X posts were true X posts, you’ll find out, Arthur. And YES, there will be a Round 11!

  3. Roger, to hell with the prompt etiquette, I say a good pun is fun. Besides, I don’t want to read any more about xylophones unless it’s a post on Lionel Hampton.

    You REALLY fell asleep during “Citizen Kane”? (Jumped here from Berowne!) Hey, I’ll admit it, I fell asleep in the theater watching the climactic battle scene in the first Lord of the Rings movie. I’ll never stop hearing about that from Riley and Lex, because I snored…

    Will check out the Nautilus Live link. Sounds fascinating. I had heard something about how the military accidentally found the Titanic looking for other sites… but that they went a ways out of their way in finding it. So maybe there’s a bit more Verne in Ballard than he admits? Hmmm… Peace, Amy
    Now talk about puns, this was for Sunday Scribblings’ “Eureka” prompt:

  4. Yep, I cheated too! But I am glad you did. Very cool post – great story. Funny how we often have to ‘tweak’ proposals to get what we really want done.

  5. This is an Xtraordinarily unique way to get around the difficult letter X!!! So kudos to you. And an intriguing report on this man whose childhood fascination led him to ocean eXplorations.

    abcw team

  6. Great post, Roger. There are a lot of things in the world that aren’t what they appear to be, and a lot of roads to travel (or seas to sail on) in order to get the desired results.

  7. Very interesting and enjoyable post for X. It’s hard finding x-words!! happy week ahead.

  8. Roger I think it rather brilliant you selection of your Title…And X did mark the spot. My what an interesting read. Thanks!

  9. X word is the most difficult to find, and I found it by chance in a store selling souvenir, in the form of paper weight. I remembered I had some photos in my pc and decided to use it for this week. Come take a look.

  10. Really interesting post and not really too much of a cheat. It was an unknown quest and an unknown spot and x is for the unknown — the way I see it any way. Thanks for your good words on my surgery, it went well, just have to limit my time on the computer for a while.

  11. X is a challenge, and you pulled through once again! The Titanic history is fascinating. Now I hear some billionaire is going to “rebuild” it. Tempting fate? I wonder.

  12. My friend Roger,
    I can honestly say I’ve learn something today. Thanks for sharing this very interesting post sir.

  13. 6th time around. Wow! Not cheating in my book. Clever, I’d say, and a really interesting story too. I plan to check out that Nautilus Live link. Thanks!

  14. X-cellent. I LOVE how you cheated with the letter X this time. 🙂 Dr. Robert Ballard and his adventures are X-citing and I look forward to learning what he discovers this summer.

  15. I’m realizing that the next round for X will be just as hard as this one. I think I’ll start researching now. I love your X marks the spot post. The Titanic is so facinating to study.

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