"Americans, both as individuals and as a nation, are characterized as spirited, optimistic, visionary, forward-thinking, adaptable, and entrepreneurial, traits symbolized by the pioneers, adventurers, and nation builders aboard the Central America." — "America's Lost Treasure," by Tommy Thompson
FINDING the gold was only one challenge. Now the ship's treasure had to be brought to the surface.
To retrieve it, Thompson and former colleague Don Hackman built what Thompson called "the ultimate erector set," a robot called Nemo. This 12,000-pound machine had lights, cameras and long spidery arms with manipulators at the ends. The manipulators were like hands. They could bend and move and pick things up. They were good for lifting heavy beams and trunks.
The first thing they recovered was the wedding trunk of Addie and Ansel Easton, filled with clothes and books.
The ship was a time capsule into mid-19th century America, containing personal items such as photographs, jewelry, books and newspapers — all intact. Historians were invited to study these finds.
The Columbus America Discovery Group also discovered new plants and animals. A species of octopus that was videotaped climbing aboard one of Nemo's spidery arms was one of them. Scientists came from all over the world to study these plants and animals.