A scrap of aluminum (image) discovered in 1991 on Nikumaroro, Kiribati has now been identified with a high probability to be part of Amelia Earhart’s aircraft. In 1937, Earhart, an American pilot, along with her navigator, Fred Noonan, were on a mission to fly around the entire planet at the equator. Her plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, and was never found. Many people have looked for her plane over the last 77 years. It has been a mystery as to what happened to the two of them.
A metal piece was discovered 23 years ago on Nikumaroro. It was about 19 in (48 cm) wide by 23 in (58 cm) long. The metal piece could not be linked to Earhart’s aircraft or any other missing plane. However, earlier this year, some folks started examining if the metal piece could be a patch that was used to cover a window on Earhart’s plane (image). After doing further investigations, the researchers have confidently identified it to be that patch. One theory is that Earhart and Noonan made an emergency landing on Nikumaroro, and were simply stuck there. Nikumaroro is an uninhabited atoll. Something odd has also been detected in the waters off the coast of Nikumaroro. Some researchers think that it could be part of Earhart’s aircraft. Further investigations will be done next year.
Earhart (image) was born in 1897 in Kansas, USA. During World War I, she worked as a nurse for wounded soldiers. In 1920, she took her first ride on an airplane, and got hooked to flying. Three years later, she got an international pilot’s license. She was the 16th woman in the world to receive it. She set many records, and one of them was the first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean (1932).
Kiribati is one of the first countries to welcome in the New Year. It lies in the Pacific Ocean just west of the International Date Line (IDL, image), an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that separates two consecutive calendar days. The IDL is mainly on the 180º line of longitude. The line is not straight. It has been bent in places to suit the various countries. If you travel across the line from the east to the west, you add a day (24 hours). If you travel across the line from west to the east, you subtract a day.
Here are two videos about Earhart and the IDL.
Image Credits: Miami Herald and http://tighar.org/ for plane’s image, http://tighar.org/ for Earhart and metal patch’s images, Chumwa for IDL’image
Sources: http://tighar.org/, http://www.newsweek.com/, http://www.worldatlas.com/, http://www.pbs.org/