The following chat by Mr. Royal’s Science Students and Dr. Robert (Bob) Ballard took place June 9, 2000. The Students used iMacs in the Media Center to contact The Institute of Exploration, while other classrooms used projected computer images of the chat. In this way, all classes were involved.
Historians Alyssa and Jon archived the chat.
The Dr. Robert Ballard Chat, June 9, 2000
Bob: Good Morning, everyone
Devonna:(New Msg) Hi Dr. Ballard, this is my seventh grade science class in the chat with Mr. Royal. Other classes are watching in their rooms. We have some questions for you. We hope you can answer them.
Bob: (New Msg) Your first question please
Mathew: (New Msg) Good morning Dr. Ballard Sara (written by):If you have heard of the current problem in Turkey involving the dam and the artifacts, how would you approach the artifacts if they were flooded before being recovered? Would you try to salvage any artifacts, and how would it be done if you were to try and salvage them?
Bob: (New Msg) Hi Matt, one possibility is to do nothing let flood, one can always do underwater archaeology later it depends on the damage
Chris M.: (New Msg) Emily C~ What is the most dangerous thing that has ever happened to you while underwater?
Bob: (New Msg) crashing into the side of a volcano at 20, 000 ft & rupturing our floating tank
Jessica: (New Msg) Hi Dr Ballard. Here is the question:
Did you dream and want to be an explorer when you were young? Did being an explorer fascinate you?
Bob: (New Msg) YES & YES
Christina W.: (New Msg) Hi Dr. Robert Ballard, How do you go about finding the ships? (Question By: Thomas C.)
Bob: (New Msg) it all depends upon the ship & where it is, how deep is the water, the terrain, territory – it all affects how you go about setting up equipment & strategy
Bryan F: (New Msg) Harrison: What was your favorite discovery?
Bob: (New Msg) the discovery of giant tube worms living around hot water vents in 1977
Bryan W: (New Msg) Mike N~ What is the most amazing artifact you have ever discovered?
Bob: (New Msg) the sea shells we collected last summer from an ancient shoreline 500 ft beneath the surface of the Black Sea that would suggest the biblical flood must have actually taken place.
Thomas: (New Msg) Maegen asks: What do you think your biggest problems are during your searches? Do you think they should postpone the building of the Turkish dam so that they can search for artifacts?
Bob: (New Msg) controlling my self doubts It is hard to say, I don’t really know what the probability of important artifacts being there is, flooding might actually protect them.
Nick: (New Msg) What are you working on now?
Bob: (New Msg) I am trying to establish a new field of research in deep water archaeology and develop a new family of robots to carry out that work
Dave H: In which ocean are you going to work in next?
Bob: The Black Sea
Stephanie N: (New Msg) From Harrison M: What is the oldest and most intact ship that you discovered in your career?
Bob: The Iron age Phoenician ships from the time of Homer – 700 BC
Aimee: Ashleigh asks: What did it feel like to go down deep and search for the Titanic, and how deep have you ever gone?
Bob: A mixture of feelings- professionally exciting and personally sad. The deepest was 20,000 ft.
Harry K: Nick asks: Which was your favorite ship?
Bob: The Titanic
Jordan: Hi Dr. Ballard, From Steve G: What is the most fun and exciting part of what your doing now?
Bob: Going to sea & exploring
Kendall: (New Msg)
Kendall asked: What robots have you made so far? How do you make them and what do you do with them? How do they help you? Are they worth the work to make them?
Bob: (New Msg) My first robot was Argo, then Jason Jr., then Hugo, then, Jason, Medea, Argus & little Hercules. I hire very good engineers to make the best and use them on my expeditions. They make my expeditions very efficient. And they are certainly worth the work to make them.
Kyle: Hey Dr. Ballard here’s a good question from Jesse…. why is exploring so important to you?
Bob: (New Msg) it satisfies a fundamental human urge to find out what is on the other side of the horizon.
ChrisN: (New Msg) Hello Dr. Ballard it’s a pleasure to have an intelligent conversation with you. Here’s the question:
Christina M: how many times did you go underwater before you found the titanic?
Bob: (New Msg) I did it all from the surface and it took two months.
Tina: (New Msg) Good Morning Dr. Ballard. Lisa G. asks: “Have you ever found anything with dinosaurs?”
Bob: (New Msg) No I have not
Courtney: (New Msg) Hi Dr. Ballard,
Here is the question that Monica asks: How do you feel about other people taking artifacts from the Titanic? After all you were the one who discovered it.
Bob: (New Msg) I do not like it at all because they are doing it for greedy reasons.
Brian: Hey Dr. Ballard: do people go down in the sea with you and if so who are they?
Bob: (New Msg) they are commonly pilots to operate the sub, engineers, students, and professional cameramen and people like that.
Doug: (New Msg) Hi Dr. Ballard, it’s very awesome talking with the famous explorer! Here’s the question: Kendall (wrote this): How thick is the glass on the ships taking you down to the Titanic? 🙂
Bob: They are 4 inches
Mallory: (New Msg) Good morning Dr. Robert Ballard. This is great to talk to you live on the computer!
Mallory asks: “Have you ever had a problem, when searching for artifacts on the bottom of the ocean, with the machinery that takes you down? If so, what was the worst of them all?”
Bob: When we lost Jason searching for ships in the Mediterranean in 1989
July: (New Msg) Hi Dr. Ballard.
Lindsay C. asked: What made you want to explore underwater?
Bob: (New Msg) growing up on the shores of San Diego. Looking out to sea and wondering what might be there.
Mr. Royal: (New Msg) Dr. Ballard, Mr. Royal here… How are you doing? Let us know if you are tiring. ;>)
Bob: I need to stop in about another 10 or 15 minutes.
Mr. Royal: (New Msg) Right, Thank you. I’ll have Devonna finish the chat at that time.
Bob: (New Msg) o.k.
Devonna: (New Msg) hello… What is the most valuable artifact you have found throughout your career? (Question from Carl B.).
Bob: The Phoenician artifacts we collected last summer.
Mathew: (New Msg) (Written by Harrison): Did you ever find any human remains with your discoveries? 🙂
Bob: No, all have ever found are their shoes, Mother Nature removes everything else.
Chris M.: (New Msg) Harrison M. ~Did you search for the HMS Hood as well as the Bismarck?
Bob: (New Msg) No it was too far away from the Bismarck search site.
Devonna: (New Msg) Thank you so much for taking some time to talk to us about your discoveries. It was a great opportunity for all of us to learn a little more about underwater exploring. Hope to see you soon. Maybe we can do this again next year.
Courtney: (New Msg) Thank you very much for spending some of your time with us today, BYE!
Mathew: (New Msg) Thanks for giving us you time Dr. Ballard. It was great talking to you 🙂
Chris M.: (New Msg) Thank you very much for this great honor, Dr. Ballard.
Bob: You’re all very welcome – Have a great summer and spend some time exploring yourselves!