Robert Ballard of Titanic fame now searching for Amelia Earhart wreckage

Robert Ballard has directed his ship to Nikumaroro to solve the mystery.

The world-renowned scientist who discovered the underwater wreckage of the Titanic now says a new clue may lead him to the spot where Amelia Earhart's plane went down more than 80 years ago.

Robert Ballard believes a photo taken in 1937 may hold the answer to where the American aviator's plane crashed as she tried to become the first female pilot to circumnavigate the globe.

Intelligence analysts at the Pentagon who viewed the photo concluded the object in the photo resembles a Lockheed model 10-E Electra, the plane Earhart was last seen flying. Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, vanished in July 1937.

The photo was taken just off the shores of Nikumaroro, a small island in the Pacific Ocean. The island is just 4.5 miles long and 1 mile wide.

Ballard, a National Geographic Explorer, is using his ship, the E/V Nautilus, to try to find the wreckage of Earhart's plane off the coast of Nikumaroro.

"It's not the Lock Ness Monster; it's not Big Foot," Ballard told National Geographic. "That plane exists, which means I'm gonna find it."

Just last year a study concluded that bones found on Nikumaroro in 1940 that were originally thought to belong to a man are now being considered as Earhart's. The study, "Amelia Earhart and the Nikumaroro Bones," was authored by Richard L. Jantz, a professor for University of Tennessee's Department of Anthropology, and was published in the journal "Forensic Anthropology."

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