The USS Monitor is by far one of the the most historically significant warships in US history. By virtue of her rotating gun turret, the Monitor earned the title of being the mother of all modern day warships. However, in recent years this accolade has been challenged by today's emerging technology. As more and more warships roll off the assembly line, the once ubiquitous turreted guns are missing; now replaced by bay doors that release an even deadlier arsenal of satellite guided rockets and missiles. In its day, the USS Monitor was the height of technology, and in this expedition, we plan to use the height of today's technology to explore, capture images, and collect data from this historic relic.
The expedition is also a collaboration between private industry, academia, and a government agency. The group is led by Deep Explorers, who has recruited marine scientists from both Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina to work side-by-side with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. In the past, private groups have been exceedingly instrumental in the collection of data at the Monitor site.
For over a decade, private research groups have contributed immensely to the knowledge base of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary (MNMS). Private research expeditions have assisted the Monitor NMS with artifact recovery, surveys, imaging, and more. They were particularly helpful in the years preceding and through the large artifact recovery expeditions that culminated in August 2002 when the Monitor’s rotating gun turret was successfully recovered from the depths. Since then, additional private research expeditions have proven invaluable in helping the Monitor NMS update the changes made to the wreck.
It is the intent of this expedition to show the benefits of this type of cooperative effort and to use this expedition as a blueprint for future projects by other academic institutions and government agencies.
With technology being the theme of the expedition, we plan to employ several state-of-the-art technological advancements in diving technology, marine science, underwater robotics, imaging, and internet media production. As part of the National Marine Sanctuaries’ education and outreach program, each day’s activity and progression will be detailed in online internet reports. As we progress through the week, these reports will profile all of the technological elements employed by the dive team, the marine scientists, and media production crew highlighting key elements of each.