The search for Amelia Earhart's plane

  • Monday 19, August 2019 08:29 AM
Sharjah 24 – Reuters: Researchers have long wondered what really happened to Amelia Earhart, the first ever female aviator to fly solo.
A group of researchers led by National Geographic Explorer Robert Ballard are embarking on a mission on the E/V Nautilus ship to waters off Nikumaroro Island to search for the remnants of Amelia Earhart's plane.

The ship is equipped with multiple exploration tools, including an autonomous surface vehicle developed by the University of New Hampshire called Bathymetric Explorer and Navigator, or BEN.

According to a news release by the university, the vehicle includes features such as the Kongsberg EM2040P multibeam echo-sounder and the Applanix POS/ MV navigation system. This allows the self-driving vehicle to create 3D topographic maps and acoustic backscatter maps of the ocean floor.

Once the autonomous surface vehicle returns to the ship, researchers will analyze data from the maps and then deploy two remotely operated vehicles called Hercules and Argus, according to National Geographic. These are typically launched at night and can reach depths of 4,000 meters.

Hercules is able to provide a first person view of the seabed, while the Argus is a smaller vehicle that captures footage of Hercules. Hercules can collect samples found in the seabed and store them in a container in its side for researchers to analyze.

The mission is the subject of a two-hour documentary titled Expedition Amelia and will air on National Geographic on October 20.