Jul 11, 2012 07:56 PM EDT
Researchers believe they can locate the airplane of Amelia Earhart. Recent evidence suggests that the famous aircraft may be in the unpopulated Pacific island of Nikumaroro.
It has been 75 years since Earhart and her airplane, the Lockheed Electra, vanished. Over $2 million dollars is being designated for a research team to conduct a high-tech search of the aircraft remains.
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"The public wants evidence, a smoking gun, that this is the place where Amelia Earhart's journey ended," Richard Gillespie, executive director of the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), reported to Reuters.
"That smoking gun is Earhart's plane."
The research team has planned 16 days for the journey and 10 days at the actual location.
"We've found artifacts of an American woman castaway from the 1930s, but we haven't found anything with her name on it," Gillespie continued to say to Reuters. "We've tried to get contact DNA from things that were touched, and it didn't work. The environment was too destructive. The recovered bone samples were too small. The logical thing is the airplane."
TIGHAR research team believes that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, might have made a stop at Nikumaroro island, which at the time was called Gardner Island.
Gillespie suspects that the tides and surf must have washed the plane away. Therefore, "underwater robotic submarines equipped with sonar" will be used to inspect the ocean floor at Nikumaroro.
"That's scary. What if you look there and you don't find it? It might mean you're wrong. Or after 75 years of dynamic, destructive ocean activity, we could be absolutely right and not find anything," Gillespie said to Reuters.
"It's hard not to see the parallel with Amelia's trip," he continued. "You prepare the best you can and recognize, well, you're taking a risk. We're out to prove the case if it can be proven."
Earhart was beloved by America when she set out to become the first person--male or female--to circumnavigate the equator in an airplane. She grew to fame as an aviation pioneer and broke several world records for her aviation conquests. Earhart's life is still a fascination to many as she is a pop culture icon even today.
However, during Earhart's attempt to fly around the world in 1937, she and her plane disappeared over the central Pacific ocean, prompting one of the 20th century's unending mysteries.
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