"We will not be recovering anything on this trip," said Richard Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR. "The objective is to get imagery and photographs of what's there."
The expedition is scheduled to set out aboard the Hawaiian research vessel "Ka'Imikai-o-Kanaloa" from Honolulu on July 2 -- the 75th anniversary of Earhart's disappearance. Its underwater robots are capable of searching with sonar and taking black-and-white photos down to a depth of almost 5,000 feet (1,500 meters), as well as checking out sonar targets with high-definition video down to a depth of 3,300 feet (1,000 meters).
An underwater search
An eight-day journey to Nikumaroro (the former Gardner Island) will allow TIGHAR to search the underwater reef slope for approximately 10 days between July 9 and July 19. Success could pave the way for a later expedition to actually recover pieces of Earhart's aircraft.
"If there's wreckage there that can be recovered, we need to know what it is, how big it is, what it looks like, and what it's made of so we can prepare a recovery expedition that has equipment to raise whatever's there," Gillespie told InnovationNewsDaily. "And, equally as important, to conserve it."