The Geographic Century In the latest installment of the Geographic Century, NPR's Neal Conan has the story of modern day explorer Robert Ballard. Ballard has spent his career uncovering the sunken ships of the deep sea. After undertaking many risky dives, Ballard helped to develop a device that replaced people with machines. The remotely operated vehicles can explore the depths of the ocean using fiber optics. The technology helped Ballard with his most famous discovery, the Titanic.