Mission to find the Titanic cover story for Cold War op

Now this is interesting.

Turns out Dr. Robert Ballard's 1985 discovery of the Titanic was actually part of a classified mission to find the remains of two lost US nuclear submarines. In order to get sweet, sweet funding for his Titanic search, Ballard had to first find the remains of the USS Thresher, lost in 1963 during seaworthiness trials (conclusion: not so much), and the USS Scorpion, lost in 1968. The last one is particularly interesting, since it was long rumoured that Scorpion had been sunk by a Soviet sub. Ballard's analysis indicated it had in fact been hit by a rogue torpedo fired by the Scorpion herself. Whoops.

So, a lesson for all your oceanographers out there. The US Navy will fund a search for anything your heart desires, so long as you don't mind dredging up a few of their unfortunate accidents first.

Photo: the USS Thresher in happier times.