By Bridie Smith - The Age
One of the last "time capsules" of the First World War will be opened in June, when researchers drop a high-definition camera into an Australian submarine almost a century after it was sunk and its crew taken as prisoners of war.
The wreck of HMAS AE2, discovered in 1998, has remained untouched on the silty floor of Turkey's Sea of Marmara since being scuttled by Commander H.G."Dacre" Stoker during the Gallipoli campaign.
"We have effectively got an underwater time capsule that has not been opened since 1915," said Roger Neill, the expedition's science director.
Dr Neill, who leads the automation and unmanned maritime systems unit at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, said the project would not just survey and secure the site but install a cathodic protection system around the wreck to stop the metal from corroding, and a marker buoy to protect it from shipping traffic and drag nets.
Chief pilot of the remotely operated vehicle, electrical engineer Peter Graham, designed the high-definition camera at the DSTO Port Melbourne base. He said the expedition would collect a terrabyte of data a day during the 17-day field trip.
Costing up to $5 million, the ambitious project to film inside the submarine began in 2004. The years of preparation included building a replica submarine, using the original plans, to test camera equipment in Geelong's Corio Bay.