The explorer who discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985 has embarked on a mission to unravel the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart.
Dr. Robert Ballard is leading a team of experts to the remote western Pacific aboard the research vessel E/V Nautilus on a voyage to discover Earhart’s fate.
Earhart famously disappeared while attempting to fly around the world. The aviator and her navigator, Fred Noonan, vanished on July 2, 1937 during a flight from Papua New Guinea to Howland Island in the Pacific.
Their fate became one of the great mysteries of the 20th century and is still hotly debated in the 21st century, as well.
Ballard, who is president of Ocean Exploration Trust and a National Geographic explorer-at-large, is focusing the search on the remote island of Nikumaroro, a coral atoll 1,200 miles from the Marshall Islands.
One theory is that Earhart died a castaway after landing on the island or crashing into the sea nearby. Some 13 human bones were found on Nikumaroro, also known as Gardner Island, three years after Earhart’s disappearance.
The expedition, which is backed by National Geographic, began on Aug. 7 and will last until Aug. 25. Researchers will use underwater drones to search for Earhart’s plane in the waters around the island. Fredrik Hiebert, archeologist-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, will lead a team of researchers hunting for signs of Earhart on the coral atoll that experts hope will lead to her bones.