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Paul Allen’s research ship finds the USS Wasp

USS Wasp gun
One of the USS Wasp’s five-inch guns looms out of the murk of the Coral Sea. (Photo courtesy of Paul Allen’s R/V Petrel / Navigea)

The USS Wasp, an aircraft carrier that saw service during World War II from Iceland to Guadalcanal, has been located lying 14,000 feet deep in the Coral Sea 77 years after its sinking.

It’s the latest find chalked up to the R/V Petrel, a research vessel whose expeditions have been funded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his estate.

The Petrel has been plying the waters of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding seas for years, to document the resting places of historic shipwrecks and conduct scientific studies. The Wasp was found on Jan. 14 with the aid of a sonar-equipped autonomous underwater vehicle and a camera-equipped remotely operated vehicle.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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