Robert Ballard of Titanic fame now searching for Amelia Earhart wreckage

PHOTO: Amelia Earhart in the cockpit of a plane.
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WATCH Famed scientist searching for Amelia Earhart wreckage

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.

PHOTO: Amelia Earhart in the cockpit of a plane.
National Archives/HISTORY
Amelia Earhart in the cockpit of a plane.

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."

PHOTO: Amelia Earhart stands in front of the Lockheed Electra in which she disappeared in 1937. Science & Society Picture Library/Getty Images,FILE
Amelia Earhart stands in front of the Lockheed Electra in which she disappeared in 1937.

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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