Twitter Is Freaking Out Over The Discovery Of Endurance Shipwreck

If you head to Twitter today, you might encounter some buzz about the legendary Endurance shipwreck. An expedition to locate the wreck has succeeded in doing just that, with the crew today announcing that the more than 100-year old shipwreck has been found and getting massive amounts of internet citizens chatting in the process. The team carrying out this expedition – appropriately named Endurance22 – announced the discovery on the expedition's website today, detailing not only the journey that ended with the sinking of the Endurance in 1915 but also what's next now that the wreck has been discovered.

Indeed, Endurance has been in its watery resting place for nearly as long as the Titanic has been at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, with the latter ship sinking in 1912. Thankfully, the story surrounding the sinking of the Endurance wasn't nearly as tragic, as the ship belonged to an expedition led by Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1915 to perform the first land-crossing of Antarctica, otherwise known as The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. 

Though the ship was crushed in ice and sank in the Weddell Sea off the northwestern coast of Antarctica, all of the 28 crew aboard the ship lived to tell the tale.

How Endurance was discovered

Ever since its sinking in 1915, the final resting place of the Endurance has been something of a mystery. In a statement today, expedition leader of Endurance22, Dr. John Shears, called the mission "the world's most challenging shipwreck search," no doubt because of the difficulty involved in combing the icy waters of the Weddell Sea. The Endurance22 expedition was carried out on a "polar research and logistics vessel" named the S.A. Agulhas II, which belongs to South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs. 

While the icebreaker ship got the Endurance22 expedition to the Weddell Sea, the actual search was performed by autonomous underwater vehicles called Sabertooths. Outfitted with cameras, LED lights, a laser scanner, and sonar, the SAAB-built Sabertooth is capable of surveying up to 4,000 meters in depth, and that's how Endurance was discovered. 

When the ship was discovered, the Sabertooth used that laser scanner to map the wreck and its debris field, according to the Endurance22 website. You can see footage captured from these Sabertooth AUVs, as well as the deployment of one, in the video embedded above.

More to the Endurance22 expedition than meets the eye

The purpose of the Endurance22 expedition wasn't just to find the shipwreck, though that was obviously a major objective. The expedition also allowed a team of scientists led by Dr. Lasse Rabenstien to conduct "hundreds of hours of climate change related studies." Topics researched during the expedition include sea ice monitoring, meteorology, and analysis of the performance of the S.A. Agulhas II itself as the expedition was carried out.

This isn't the last we'll hear about Endurance22 now that the expedition has completed its goal, however, as National Geographic Explorer will broadcast a documentary about the expedition this fall. After it airs on National Geographic Explorer, it'll head to Disney+, though more details weren't revealed in today's announcement. Just as well, we don't have a concrete premiere date for the documentary on National Geographic Explorer, so it looks like we're left to wait on those details too.