Eighty-five years ago this month, Amelia Earhart flew into the record books—yet again. In 1932, Earhart had become the first woman to complete a solo transatlantic flight. Then, in January 1935, she became the first pilot to fly alone from Hawaii to California. Her achievements made her a huge celebrity.
But Earhart’s story soon came to a tragic end—and the mystery of what happened to her began. In 1937, she attempted to become the first person to fly around the world. A navigator, Fred Noonan, was with her. As they flew toward Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean, they disappeared. A search of the area found nothing.
Many experts believe the plane ran out of fuel and fell into the ocean. But some others think Earhart and Noonan may have crash-landed on another island in the Pacific, Nikumaroro. One reason for that: A photo taken there in 1937 appears to show part of Earhart’s plane in the water. Famous ocean explorer Robert Ballard searched those waters last year. He found no plane. Earhart’s mystery lives on.