Mars reveals its secrets

In 1564, the Swedish warship Mars went up in flames, taking "800 to 900 Swedish and German sailors and a fortune in gold and silver coins to the bottom of the Baltic Sea." Jane J. Lee offers a feature on the "cursed" ship for National Geographic online. (photos)

Johan Rönnby, a professor of maritime archaeology at Södertörn University in Sweden, is studying the wreck of the Mars with three-dimensional scans and photographs and plans to produce a 3-D rendering of the ship, which will be left at the bottom of the ocean.

"Mars was a functioning war machine that performed extremely well in battle," said Rönnby. "She sank loaded to the gills with cannons—even her crow's nests had guns—sailors, and all the accoutrements needed to run a ship built for war (including eight different kinds of beer). This warship had 'totally unheard of firepower' for her time," added Richard Lundgren. "And it's those cannons that played a role in her demise."