Jack and Rose would have fit on a Titanic door, claim Mythbusters guys

The Mythbusters team did the math on the actual size and fit for two bodies on a door of the Titanic, and shared their findings with James Cameron: yes, Jack and Rose could totally have survived together on that door. As some commenters point out via Twitter, however, there's an argument to be made that it's not just the surface area of the door that's in question, but the buoyancy. (thanks, Tara McGinley!)

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  1. The question was not would they fit but whether or not the door would still float with both of them on it. The answer to this is likely, no. Cameron 1 Mythbusters 0

    1. And…they addressed that. After they determined they could both fit, they found they could use Rose’s life vest to increase the buoyancy of the door enough that it would float with both of them on it. You can now point out that there’s no way in their condition or at their education level they would have known to do that, but all the same, it could have been done.

      1. I would now like to point out that there’s no way in their condition or at their education level they would have known to do that.

        1. A fair point, a fair point indeed! I vote we strap some dynamite to the door mockup, light it, and see if that helps.

    2. In the video they address this too, using “her” life vest to add buoyancy to the door.  They claim that with this, both could have fit while having “most” of their bodies out of the water.  Whether this would be enough to actually prevent hypothermia goes untested.  As usual, Mythbusters is entertainment, not science.

      1. Mythbusters is science and entertainment. It tests hypotheses using the scientific method.  It just isn’t very rigorousness science, uses very small data sets, and jumps to the conclusion “busted” too quickly in many cases rather than, “unproven” or “implausible”.

        (If there was a “myth” that a person could play Flight of the Bumblebees on a violin, Adam and Jamie would try to build their own violins out of scrap, then try to play them for a week, fail to be able to play the Flight of the Bumblebees and finally declare the myth “busted” :-p They play for a week or two and if they can’t do it they often jump to the unjustified conclusion that it cant be done.)

          1.  Cheap? No. It is merely something that is true in many of the tests rather than all. Did they, for example, hire experts in aerodynamics and airfoil modeling to create all of their various rocket myth tests? No. They consulted people, but they still did the work themselves (except the engines in some cases).

            As Michael Crumpton notes below, small, small differences can make all the difference, yet Mythbusters is all too quick to claim “Busted” merely because they couldn’t replicated the myth in their two-week shooting schedule.

        1.  This is especially evident (at least to me) in Myths dealing with aerodynamics, where tiny differences in the shape and weight distribution can be the difference between success and failure.

      2. >In the video they address this too, using “her” life vest to add buoyancy to the door.  They claim that with this, both could have fit while having “most” of their bodies out of the water.  Whether this would be enough to actually prevent hypothermia goes untested

        Earlier in the episode determined that there was surprisingly little temperature difference between being in and out of the water, but survival rates were different because being in the water meant you drowned when you could no longer swim, while being on a board gave you extra time to be rescued when you were past the point of being able to swim.

        1. The important thing about being in water isn’t temperature, it’s how fast heat gets conducted away from the body. This is why a breeze feels colder than standing air. Is this what they checked for? Because it seems very counter-intuitive.

      3. The bouyancy that they added to the bottom of the door was to address the fact that they weighed more than whatever the heck their names are, not to be something that they would have had to do.  Jamie just wore the period-correct vest and they still floated fine on the corrected door.

        My only beef was that to be correct they should have had to try to climb on the door and balance it while swimming in 29 degree water.  Their coordination would have been almost nil and it’s a precarious exercise at best.  I don’t think they would have been able to get up on there and get stable in the first place.  I do think that their call that IF they got up there and IF they got stable, they could have stayed afloat.

        Their thermal tests indicate that there wasn’t much difference between being in the water and being out with wet clothes.  The advantage to being on the door is that you wouldn’t immediately drown when you succumbed to hypothermia.  So even if they were floating a few inches down, if they could keep their faces out of the water they still may have lived.

        1. My only beef was that to be correct they should have had to try to climb on the door and balance it while swimming in 29 degree water.

          Next up, Adam and Jamie try to ride empty barrels from Thranduil’s kitchen to Laketown.

      4.  Um, they DID actually test the hypothermia bit. Out of the water, they could have survived long enough to be rescued. Just barely. They would have been totally numb and pretty much unable to move, but they would have survived.
        Actually, now that I think about it, with BOTH of them on the platform and huddled together, their body-heat would probably have helped each other stay slightly warmer. Still on the verge of hypothermia tho.

      5. Also remember that bodies next to each other can create more heat cooperatively as well so that would add element that could help them survive, even if they had some water touching them.

      6.  I would imagine, without some kind of dry blankets or heat source, being sopping wet in the North Atlantic in April would probably kill you in a couple of hours even if you were out of the water.

    3. hmm. i did a set build to go in a ‘tank’ recently – it was made of 3×1 with 9mm ply skins. then it had chicken wire, cement and jesmonite daubed on liberally. would it sink? would it f**k. it had to have multiple weights attached before it would even reach neutral bouyancy (the flats were vertical, so it wasn’t a surface area thing either). one of the specialist diver/riggers was explaining to me that sink-ability with wood is VERY difficult and rather counter-intuitive – he once had the job of getting a grand piano to sit on the sea bed, and despite the cast-iron frame, they still ran out of weights and had to fill it with sand-bags. my feeling is that a door would easily float two people. unless it was made from lignum vitae…

    4. It didn’t float until they took the life-vest and strapped it under the wood to give it more bouyancy. The same sort of life vest Rose was wearing. Exact replica.
      Cameron replied, okay fine, maybe so, but the script called for Jack to die so Jack had to die. Perhaps a smaller piece of wood was in order.
      The Mythbusters also confirmed that Jack, in the water, would have succumbed to hypothermia while Rose, out of the water, would have JUST survived. Barely.

    1. But they didn’t even spoil the REAL twist:  Rose was actually Jack’s sled the whole time!

  2. This cracks me up. My daughter just saw it for the first time and that was her comment, “Dude, they could have both fit on the piece of wood!” We were cracking up thinking that Rose was just more concerned with her comfort.

  3. Yeah, and then they both get rescued, but Jack won’t hide from Cal Hockley on the Carpathia, and they punch each other a bunch before they all finally get to New York, and then Dawson turns out to be an uncultured semi-criminal lout who knocks Rose up twice, so instead of flying planes and being awesome and such she ends up dying giving birth to their second kid just after Jack leaves her in 1919 to become an enforcer for the Morello crime family because he’s got no marketable skills and dodged the draft.

    That’s a much better movie.

  4. Since they were already dead having been sucked down into the vortex created by a few hundred thousand tons of sinking metal it’s all a moot point anyway.

      1. The only caveat with that test is that they didn’t sink the Titanic, only a small tugboat.  Still, it did more or less reinforce my findings with this, in that unless you’re absolutely plastered against the back of the boat, the onrushing water from the sides will push you back up anyway. 

  5. What the Mythbusters failed to take into account is that if Jack had survived, he and Rose would have gone on to found an international peace movement that by 1941 would have become powerful enough to delay the United States entering the Second World War, thereby causing Hitler to win. That’s why James Cameron had to use his time portal to throw Jack into the ocean.

  6. What this means, of course, is that Jack’s death was actually suicide. Faced with having to listen to Celine Dion for the rest of his life, he chose to remain in the water and succumb to merciful hypothermia.

  7. James Cameron’s response – “Wait a minute, I’m going to call up William Shakespeare and ask why Romeo and Juliet had to die” http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/sep/13/james-cameron-hollywood-action-women-wrong

  8. The door would have floated, but with that much extra weight, would it have been long enough to save them?? Most likely not. 

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