In 1937, as American aviator Amelia Earhart neared her 40th birthday, she was ready for a monumental, and final, challenge: She wanted to be the first woman to fly around the world.
For the past 77 years, her fate on that around-the-world attempt has been one of the world's great unsolved mysteries after her plane disappeared over the South Pacific Ocean.
Now that mystery may finally be solved. A fragment of Earhart's plane "has been identified to a high degree of certainty," according to Discovery News. The clue was discovered on the uninhabited atoll of Nikumaroro, in the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati. Nikumaroro is about 350 miles southeast of Howland Island, Earhart's intended destination.
Through decades of intense detective work, researchers identified a 19-inch-wide by 23-inch-long aluminum patch applied to Earhart's plane while on her around-the-world quest. Because it was a hasty field repair, the patch is unique and distinctive from any other airplane part. Based on the dimensions and the rivet hole patterns, the fragment found on the Pacific atoll has been identified as being that repair patch from Earhart's plane.