— Seventy-five years after
Robert Ballard, the oceanographer who discovered the wreckage of the Titanic and the Bismarck, is advising on the expedition.
"If you ever want a case of finding a needle in a haystack, this is at the top of the list," he told the Associated Press. Ballard heads the Institute of Exploration at Mystic Aquarium.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton applauded the effort Tuesday in a speech to, among others, the people who will conduct the search in the waters off Nikumaroror, an uninhabited island in the southwestern Pacific where Earhart might have died.
"Even if you do not find what you seek, there is great honor and possibility in the search itself," Clinton said.
Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the
The search will be conducted by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, an organization that has been investigating Earhart's final flight and has theorized that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, might have died as castaways on what was then called Gardner Island.
Their disappearance sparked a multimillion-dollar search at the time, but turned up nothing.
A newly discovered photo taken just months after Earhart's disappearance might picture portions of the plane in waters near the island, according to the AP.
The expedition will begin in July and will be filmed by the
Tessie Lambourne, the secretary for foreign affairs and immigration of the Republic of Kiribati, attended Clinton's remarks at the
Clinton recalled admiring Earhart as a woman who, "when it was really hard, decided she was going to break all kinds of limits —- social limits, gravity limits, distance limits."
Earhart was "an unlikely heroine" who "carried the aspirations of our entire country with her" when she set off on the flight, at a time when war loomed and the country's economic future was uncertain, Clinton said.