Scientists debate the future of the Titanic as it deteriorates

The Titanic has been rusting away at the bottom of the ocean for more than 100 years, and according to the latest expeditions, its deterioration is actually speeding up.

Some scientists say they worry the legendary ship won't be around much longer.

See also: Fire caused Titanic sinking, claims researcher

See also: The Titanic II will take to the seas in 2018

When researchers first discovered the Titanic's wreckage in 1985, they declared it was decently preserved and thought it wouldn't change much for several decades.

But recent dives to the site have found gaping holes in the ship's decks and slumping walls.

The hull is expected to collapse in just a few years and some parts of the ship have disappeared.

So why is the wreck suddenly withering away?

Scientists say it's a combination of natural processes and human activity.

The wreck is at risk from rust, corrosive salts and microbes at the bottom of the ocean.

It's also a sprawling buffet for marine organisms, like mollusks that have eaten away most of the wood.

And tiny microbes are feeding off the ship's iron, forming icicle-like structures called "rusticles."

Researchers estimate the rusticles are removing about 600 pounds of iron every day.

Some scientists say the cold, dark conditions on the ocean floor might actually help slow the deterioration — at least for a little while — so long as we leave it alone.

But with the resurgence of Titanic diving tours and continued salvaging of artifacts, that doesn't seem likely.

And while some people seem to be cashing in on what's left of the Titanic, others are calling for drastic measures to preserve it.

Some researchers want to scrape the hull clean, repaint it and inject preservatives into the ship to kill bacteria.

One team of researchers wants to take a more hands-off approach by virtually preserving the Titanic and creating a 3-D replica of the site.

So while we will eventually lose the real thing, this effort is a chance for the ship to live on.

10 best boatels around Europe
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10 best boatels around Europe

Sleeps 4, from £134/night

Amsterdam is famous for its canals so why not make your visit even more authentic by living life on the water and staying in the Houseboat Suite Westertoren. This boat sleeps four and can be found right in the heart of the city, with views of the famous Anne Frank house and beautiful Westerkerk.

Sleeps 4, from £150/night

These two houseboats can be found in the heart of east London at Gainsborough Wharf. This is the perfect location for exploring the East End with Colombia Road flower market and Brick Lane both close by. 

Sleeps 2, from £143/night

Salt and Sill is Sweden's first floating hotel and the property offers guests the chance to explore the beautiful Klädesholmen Island and Bohuslän Archipelago. The boatel is just 45 minutes drive from Gothenburg and there's even a seaside restaurant for guests to enjoy.

Sleeps 6 + 3 children, from £198/night

The Harbour Houseboat is moored in the scenic Bembridge Harbour with stunning sea views throughout. The boat is surprisingly spacious and is located just minutes from the village and beaches.

Sleeps 6, from £143/night

Although Larkspur is moored within walking distance of the city of Bath, you can take the opportunity while on board to explore the area on the Kennet and Avon Canal.The boat sleeps six and for those wanting to hit the water, you'll be taught how to handle and steer the boat before you leave.

Sleeps 2-8, from £27/night

These floating homes may not look like your classic houseboat but that doesn't mean they're missing any of the essentials. These quirky looking water properties boast terraces with views right over Lake Jamno. While some of the HT Houseboats are static, others are actually boats that can sail.

Sleeps 4 (2 adults and 2 children), from £176/night

If you fancy taking a unique opportunity while visiting Berlin why not try out the Modern Houseboat. With one side of the houseboat made almost entirely from glass, expect spectacular views of the water and surrounding area. 

Sleeps 2, from £167/night

The Lilla Marras Reddingsboot is a former lifeboat that has been restored to make way for visitors. Guests can even hire their own private captain who will take you out on the water and demonstrate the boat's abilities. 

Sleeps 4, from £79/night

Just a short walk from Sheffield's popular city attractions is where you can find this pair of stunning houseboats. The Houseboat Hotels. The 10-foot wide boats are surprisingly spacious and fully equipped with everything you need for a happy stay on the water.

Sleeps 8, from £252/night

This impressive property boasts four bedrooms and offers visitors the chance to relax while still in the heart of busy Paris. Devolu has a split-level deck, a terrace and even an ensuite bathroom.


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