They’re funding the expedition by spending anywhere from $100,000 to $150,000 apiece.

“Somebody paid $28 million to go with Blue Origin to space, not even the moon,” said Renata Rojas, 53, of Hoboken, New Jersey. “This is cheap in comparison.”

Obsessed with the Titanic since she was a kid, Rojas said she started studying oceanography in hopes of one day discovering the wreck. But it was found the same year, prompting her to pursue a career in banking instead.

“I kind of need to see it with my own eyes to know that it’s really real,” she said.

Bill Sauder, a Titanic historian who previously managed research for the company that owns the ship’s salvage rights, said he doubts the expedition will discover “anything that’s front-page news.” But he said it will improve the world’s understanding of the wreck’s layout and debris field. For instance, he’d like confirmation regarding where he believes the ship’s dog kennels are.

OceanGate will not take anything from the site, making this expedition far less controversial than the now-scuttled plans by another firm to retrieve the Titanic’s radio.

RMS Titanic, the company that owns the wreck’s salvage rights, wanted to exhibit the radio equipment because it had broadcast the Titanic’s distress calls. But the proposal sparked a court battle last year with the U.S. government. It said the expedition would break federal law and a pact with Britain to leave the wreck undisturbed because it’s a grave site.

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