Robert Ballard

  • Aired:  04/04/12
  •  | Views: 6,348

National Geographic explorer-in-residence Robert Ballard talks about "Save the Titanic," his documentary promoting its preservation and protection against tourism. (6:56)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK EVERYBODY, MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A DEEP SEA EXPLORER HERE TO

DISCUSS THE 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE SINKING OF THE "TITANIC".

IN 15 YEARS, I WILL RELEASE THIS INTERVIEW IN 3-D.

(LAUGHTER) PLEASE WELCOME ROBERT BALLARD.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) HEY, MR. BALLARD, THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING BACK, GOOD TO SEE YOU.

YOU WERE ON HERE ONCE BEFORE BUT THERE'S A SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY COMING UP.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> Stephen: WHAT IS THE ACTUAL ANNIVERSARY OF THE SINKING OF THE "TITANIC".

>> IT WOULD BE APRIL 15.

>> Stephen: TAX DAY.

>> 2012 AT 2:20 A.M.

NEWFOUNDLAND TIME.

>> Stephen: SOME PEOPLE MAY ALREADY KNOW THIS BUT YOU FOUND THE "TITANIC".

>> I DID.

>> Stephen: HOW DID YOU FIND IT?

>> WELL, I LOOKED FOR IT.

>> Stephen: YOU DON'T STUMBLE ACROSS...

>> NO, I WAS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING ELSE AT THE TIME.

THE "TITANIC" AS YOU KNOW WAS A COVER FOR A SERIES OF MILITARY OPERATIONS I WAS DOING.

>> Stephen: SO YOU WERE ACTUALLY TRYING TO FIND SOMETHING THAT THE MILITARY HAD LOST?

>> TWO SUBMARINES ON EITHER SIDE OF THE "TITANIC".

THE SCORPION AND THE THRESHER.

WE DIDN'T WANT THE SOVIETS TO KNOW WE WERE GOING THERE SO WE NEEDED A COVER.

AND THE "TITANIC" BECAME... BUT THE MILITARY WANTED ME TO FIND THE THRESHER AND SCORPION.

IN PARTICULAR THE SCORPION HAD NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON IT.

>> Stephen: AND IT SUNK?

>> IT SUNK AND WE DON'T LIKE TO LEAVE THOSE AROUND.

>> Stephen: NO.

>> SO MY JOB WAS TO TELL EVERYONE I WAS GOING HERE.

BUT INSTEAD I GOT GO HERE AND HERE AND THEN I GOT TO GO THERE.

>> Stephen: DID YOU KNOW IT WAS THERE?

>> ROUGHLY.

SO WHEN THE THRESHER AND SCORPION BLEW UP THEY LEFT A DEBRIS TRAIL AND THEY TOLD ME

HOW TO FIND THE "TITANIC." DON'T LOOK FOR THE "TITANIC."

ALL OF THE GROUPS THAT TRIED TO FIND IT FAILED.

I SAID LET'S NOT LOOK FOR IT, IT SHOULD HAVE A DEBRIS TRAIL MUCH LONGER.

IF YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH A DEER IN THE WINTER, YOU DON'T LOOK FOR THE DEER, IT'S HIDING.

LOOK FOR THE FOOTPRINTS.

SO WE LOOK FOR THE FOOTPRINTS OF THE "TITANIC" FROM THE DEBRIS,

WE PICKED UP THE TRAIL AND WALKED INTO THE "TITANIC" AND THAT'S HOW WE FOUND IT.

>> Stephen: THIS MONDAY AT 10:00 P.M. ON THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

CHANNEL OFF SPECIAL "SAVE THE TITANIC" WITH BOB BALLARD.

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: THAT'S TOO LATE.

(LAUGHTER) I DON'T MEAN TO BURST YOUR BUBBLE BUT THAT'S TOO LATE.

>> SAVE WHAT'S LEFT.

>> Stephen: IT SANK!

>> BUT YOU CAN SEIZELY... PEOPLE ARE MAKING TOUR GUIDES THERE NOW.

>> Stephen: CAN I GO?

>> YES, YOU CAN.

JUST WRITE A CHECK FOR $66,000,

IT'S YOURS.

>> Stephen: THAT'S IT?

>> THAT'S THE PRICE OF A TOUR DIVE ON "TITANIC".

BUT HERE'S THE PROBLEM, WE FOUND THE "TITANIC" IN 1985, WE WENT

BACK IN 1986 AND MADE A MOSAIC OF IT.

WE CAME BACK 20 YEARS LATER AND PUT THEM SIDE BY SIDE.

YOU CAN SEE WHY THE SUBMARINES A LANDING.

THEY'RE LOVING IT TO DEATH.

THEY KNOCKED OFF THE CROW'S NEST LEAVING ALL SORTS OF GARBAGE AND

WE'RE TRYING TO SAY LOOK, THIS IS THE "TITANIC" BUT YOU DON'T

GET TO GETTYSBURG WITH THE A SHOVEL, YOU DON'T TAKE BELT

BUCKLES OFF THE "ARIZONA" RIGHT?

SO VISIT BUT DON'T TOUCH.

(LAUGHTER)

>> I GOT OUT OF JURY DUTY.

>> YOU SAY THAT PEOPLE ARE LOVING IT TO DEATH.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: HAS ANYONE GONE DOWN THERE AND MADE LOVE?

BECAUSE I REMEMBER THAT MODEL T AND THE SWEATY HAND PRINT ON THE MIRROR.

>> A COUPLE GOT MARRIED ON THE "TITANIC" IN THE SUBMARINE WHICH

I THINK IS A LITTLE OVER THE TOP.

>> Stephen: OR ACTUALLY UNDER THE BOTTOM.

>> YES.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: SO WHY... PEOPLE SAY THEY'RE HARMING IT BUT ISN'T IT SEA JUNK?

WHY SHOULD WE PROTECT IT?

>> NO, NO!

YOU CAN PROTECT A SHIP BY TELLING THE PEOPLE VISIT IT BUT DON'T CRUSH IT QUITE HONESTLY--

AND THIS MAY SOUND FAR OUT EVEN FOR YOU-- YOU CAN PAINT THE "TITANIC."

>> Stephen: WHAT?

>> WHEN YOU BUILD SUPERTANKERS THEY'RE THE SIZE OF A FOOTBALL FIELD.

THEY CAN'T DRY DOCK THOSE GUYS ANYMORE.

THEY CAN USE ROBOTS-- VERY SIMPLE-- TO CLEAN THE HULL OF THE SHIP AND THEY HAVE PAINT

THEY CAN APPLY UNDER WATER.

SO I'VE APPLIED FOR A PERMIT TO GO OUT AND PROTECT THE SHIP FROM CORROSION.

TO GO DOWN THERE AND PAINT THE "TITANIC."

>> Stephen: WHY DON'T YOU START TO PAINT THE "TITANIC" AND SAY

"BOY, THIS SURE IS FUN..." (LAUGHTER)

>> I COULD!

>> Stephen: GET SOMEBODY ELSE TO SAY LET ME DO IT.

LIKE HUCKLEBERRY FINN!

NOW, PEOPLE ARE BRINGING THINGS UP FROM THE "TITANIC." HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT?

>> NOT IN FAVOR.

>> Stephen: WHY NOT?

>> WHEN I FOUND IT... I WENT TO THE SMITHSONIAN, THE BRITISH MUSEUM AND I SAID LOOK, I'M

GOING TO GO BACK, I CAN RECOVER OUR OBJECTS.

WILL YOU DISPLAY OBJECTS FROM THE "TITANIC" IF I BRING THEM UP?

THEY SAID "ABSOLUTELY NOT." THE SPLIT SEWNIAN SAID "NO."

THE BRITISH MUSEUM SAID KNOW.

THERE'S NOTHING DOWN THERE THAT SAYS "TITANIC." IT SAYS WHITE STAR LINE AND WE

HAVE A ROOM FULL OF ARTIFACTS FROM THE SISTER SHIP OF THE "TITANIC".

THERE'S NOTHING TO LEARN.

>> Stephen: SO YOU COULD MAKE SOME CASH.

>> BUT TO DRAG THAT THING UP OUT OF THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN, PUT IN THE TIMES SQUARE, PUT AN

OLIVE GARDEN ON THE BOTTOM...

(LAUGHTER) THE S.S. "CHA-CHING" MY FRIEND.

(LAUGHTER)

>> I WENT TO THE SURVIVORS.

THERE WERE 24 ALIVE WHEN I FOUND THE "TITANIC" AND I ASKED THEM

AND THEY SAID "TREAT IT... IT'S THE GRAVEYARD OF MY PARENTS."

>> Stephen: THE AMAZING THING ABOUT THE DEEP ASSOCIATION THAT THINGS DOWN THERE IN AN

OXYGEN-STARVED ENVIRONMENT THEY STAY PRESERVED.

>> PHENOMENONAL IN.

JUST LAST SUMMER WE'RE IN THE BLACK SEA WE COME ACROSS THE PERFECTLY PRESERVED SHIP WRECK

FROM 500 B.C.

STILL THERE.

I HAVE FOUND SHIPS... I'VE FOUND MORE ANCIENT SHIP WRECKS ON THE DEEP SEA THAN THEN ELSE.

THERE'S MORE HISTORY IN THE DEEP SEA THAN THE MUSEUMS OF THE

WORLD COMBINED THERE'S NO GUARD ON THE DOOR.

>> Stephen: YOU KNOW WHAT?

PUT A GUY DOWN THERE IN A FOLDING CHAIR.

(LAUGHTER)

>> FOR CENTURIES... WE HAVE ROBOTS LIKE GUARD DOGS.

THEY CAN SIT ON A CHIP WRECK AND IF SOMEONE COMES THEY RUN UP AND....

>> Stephen: SHOOT THEM.

>> THEY COULD DO THAT.

>> Stephen: MR. BALLARD, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME.

MR. BALLARD, "SAVE THE

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