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Robots To Search for Amelia Earhart's Lost Plane 98

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the robot-sea-monsters dept.
raque writes "Following up on an earlier story, a group of aviation archaeologists will use underwater robots along with submersibles and sonar to search for Amelia Earhart's plane. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery will search this July for the aircraft, which went down 75 years ago. '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,' said Richard Gillespie, the group's executive director."
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Robots To Search for Amelia Earhart's Lost Plane

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    And then seeing robots looking for her!

  • '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

    Funny thing when we went to pull up Amelia's airplane, we found something that's a Submarine, 150' long, long black and slender, and made of steel! Glomar Explorer was dispatched to the area a few months before the secretary of state, seemingly at random, and to the bewilderment of the press, announced from the whitehouse that they would be assisting in this "exploration of A

  • really? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @08:30AM (#40451025) Homepage

    "and what it's made of "

    I can tell you what it's made of right now. it was a Lockheed Electra 10E was built at Lockheed Aircraft Company to her specifications. Information about her plane was highly documented before it took off. Really scientists, have you not discovered the internet?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Model_10_Electra [wikipedia.org]

    And I am certain that Lockheed will be glad to tell them what they made it of.

    • I can tell you what it's made of right now. it was a Lockheed Electra 10E was built at Lockheed Aircraft Company to her specifications. Information about her plane was highly documented before it took off. Really scientists, have you not discovered the internet?

      So, you're saying that there is ZERO chance that they'll find something that is NOT Amelia Earhart's plane?

      I take it you've already spent enough time searching that area that you know everything to be found there?

    • Re:really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by vlm (69642) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @09:19AM (#40451487)

      If its in anaerobic mud or water there will be steel. If in aerobic aerated water there will be little more than rust. Also the effect of galvanic corrosion in general is well known, but in this specific example its not too clear exactly what will be down there.

      Anecdote time is I've removed stuff like anchors and gas tanks from freshwater lakes (this is actually pretty exciting salvage ops for a teenager) and its unpredictable how much above vs below the mudline corrosion will be found. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out how anchors end up on the bottom of a lake, often with a short broken length of chain, but I could never figure out why I found gas cans down there. Those things are not cheap so its not simple littering. They just fall off occasionally and sink, or whats the deal with that, maybe junkyards won't accept them so they get sunk? I believe I found one propeller. Oh and I found sailboat rope cleats too, lots of them, apparently they rip right out of the hull. I never salvaged anything really interesting, unfortunately. As a hobby its very much like being a poor fisherman in that it takes a lot of time on the lake to find anything at all.

      Before anyone gets all excited about WWII sunken battleship anecdotes from roughly the same era, corrosion is sorta linear not a percentage, so 6 inch thick battleship armor that has had a 1/16th of an inch corroded away looks untouched from far away, but something like 20 gauge sheet steel might look a bit different after the same 1/16th of an inch of corrosion.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        I'm pretty sure airplanes were made of aluminum back then, not steel.

        • by vlm (69642)

          Engine blocks (old fashioned internal combustion, you know), panels, instruments, landing gear, steel hydraulics (if a plane that old had hydraulic brakes), steel brake calipers (aluminum brakes would be an epic fail, see difference in melting points and more importantly high temp strength), steel control cables, steel pulleys. I would have to think for a bit if they had advanced from wood propellers to steel propellers yet. There's a lot of steel, even in modern airplanes

          If you want to get picky I know s

    • by Virtucon (127420)

      Sugar and Spice and everything nice?

    • by PPH (736903)
      Seriously, by "what its made of", they are referring to the composition of any unidentified object located in the area. They'll compare its composition to that of a Lockheed Electra to evaluate the probability of them having found Earhart's plane.
  • The 37's (Score:5, Funny)

    by SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @08:38AM (#40451085) Journal

    We should all know already that Amelia Earhart and her plane were discovered by the Voyager crew in the Delta Quadrant!

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708976/ [imdb.com]

    • This episode made me hate Voyager. Between that and making the Borg into a completely weak opponent and turning the Q into an incompetent race, it was an utter blight on the Star Trek genre.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        Fortunately Abrams destroyed that timeline blowing up Vulcan. however he couldn't kill archer off as well

      • by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @09:04AM (#40451327) Homepage Journal

        making the Borg into a completely weak opponent

        Borg was [wikipedia.org] "a completely weak opponent", not winning a single set in nine matches in 1991 and 1992.

        • making the Borg into a completely weak opponent

          Borg was [wikipedia.org] "a completely weak opponent", not winning a single set in nine matches in 1991 and 1992.

          You kind of missed the whole story there.

          Between 1974 and 1981 he won 11 Grand Slam singles titles.

          That can't be easy.
          Borg hadn't played professional tennis in ten years after being nearly unbeatable between 78-81 and had a 41 match winning streak until his upstart rival McEnroe was finally able to stop him in the 81 Wimbledon final. Though he assimilated a huge number of fans by 1983, the pressures of the constant drive to win took its psychological toll, and he shocked the world with his early retirem

      • by jheath314 (916607)

        The degradation of the Borg started earlier, with the movie First Contact and the introduction of the stupid Borg queen concept. They went from being an adaptive collective consciousness that could keep going after taking enormous damage, to a bunch of mindless morons with a massive single-point-of-failure. I'm guessing the writers simply did not know how to handle such an awesome enemy realistically after The Best of Both Worlds, so they resorted to making them dumb and adding a giant Achilles heel.

        • The original concept for the Borg was pretty awesome. Originally they were to be an insectoid species without the idea of individual worth. It would have been a tremendous thought experiment on how an individual-oriented viewpoint would have collided with a species that has no such concept. The bottom line is the budget wouldn't allow for the insect species and we ended up with a watered down "help me, I'm an individual trapped by an oppressive queen". Not nearly the same tension as we could have had.

          So you

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I never really understood why people still care about her. Can someone here enlighten me?

  • Funding problems (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anonymousNR (1254032) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @09:13AM (#40451427) Homepage
    A little skepticism kicks in for me, is this an attempt to raise donations for an otherwise non-funded archaeological expedition ?
    Given the letters from little girls with $2 donation being displayed in their "most important sponsors page".
    I am not making the expedition wrong, just throwing what came to my head, after all this is the Internet, where I can say what ever I want and get away.
    • by bobbied (2522392)

      A little skepticism kicks in for me, is this an attempt to raise donations for an otherwise non-funded archaeological expedition ? Given the letters from little girls with $2 donation being displayed in their "most important sponsors page". I am not making the expedition wrong....

      You are correct, this is an attempt to raise money... However I think they are wrong about the location by about 350 miles.

      Earhart and her copilot would have to be really bad at navigation to end up 350 miles away from their destination. A sextant, compass and a watch are going to get you to within 10% of 350 miles, even for a beginner. I would not consider Earhart a beginner and her copilot was a professional airline pilot who did this for a living.

      If they really found her remains, she and her copilot wer

  • I found her (Score:5, Funny)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @09:20AM (#40451493)
    Since her crash, I believe she's been on Stargate, Star Trek, The Outer Limits, Dr Who, and at least 5 other shows. So she could be just about anywhere by now lol.
  • I did all the hard work for you:

    http://goo.gl/maps/jMYi [goo.gl] ;)

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Goo dot gl? Let me guess... she's hiding in goatse? Why else would you post a shortened link? Especially one that someone who's been drinking too much might mnistake for google?

      • by Jello B. (950817)
        Notice that it says goo.gl/maps
        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          So? It's still a shortened url, completely unneeded at /. unless you're trying to trick someone into visiting somewhere they don't want to go -- especially something like goo.gl/maps or bi.ng/maps. If it wasn't some sort of scam or troll, it would simply be maps.google.com.

          Give me one good reason why goo.gl would be legit?

  • She is not there.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bobbied (2522392) on Tuesday June 26, 2012 @10:27AM (#40452165)

    The group doing this search are (in my opinion) looking in the wrong place. This island is about 350 miles away from Earhart's intended destination, Howard Island, and not on the "line of position" she would have been flying. In order to be anywhere near this island, Earhart and her copilot would have to be really horrible navigators and/or not following the standard navigation procedures of the day. I don't think either of them would have been this bad, even with the tools available at the time. Her copilot was a professional, who had a lot of experience doing this kind of navigation and I'm sure Earhart had some proficiency with the techniques.

    Further, there is no way to know that the items found belonged to Earhart. There is no DNA to test in the bones and the cosmetic items where in common use. Nobody documented what personal items Earhart might have with her so there is no real reason to expect that this has to be where she ended up or that this is her stuff.

    Another reason to doubt that this is Earhart is that it is unlikely anybody could survive a landing that puts the aircraft on the reef. Ditching aircraft of the day is going to kill you (by blunt impact or drowning) 99 times out of a 100. Making a difficult landing on a narrow beach and ending up on a reef in the process is even less likely.

    Finally, there is some interesting evidence based on some measurements of the aircraft and radio configuration and various trained radio operators who logged hearing Earhart during the last few hours. This evidence puts Earhart fairly close to Howard Island before she ran out of gas. This evidence also shows that Earhart was navigating fairly well and following standard procedures in her attempt to find Howard Island. All this evidence supports the conclusion that Earhart was following standard procedures and was close to Howard Island and NOT 350 miles away.

    What happened is simple. The radios on her plane didn't work either being broke or not properly tuned. Adjusting the tube radios of the day is a technically difficult task that's easy to get wrong and Earhart didn't have a lot of experience using them because they where not common equipment on aircraft of the day. With the radios not working Earhart couldn't hear the folks who could hear her and where trying to help her Earhart got close to her destination a few times and was flying a standard search pattern in somewhat unfavorable conditions and simply ran out of luck and gas. In my opinion she is within about 30 min of flight time of Howard Island on her reported line of position (give or take 10 miles or so) which is a huge search area of mostly water. If she didn't die on impact with the water, she would have drowned as the aircraft sank only moments after it came to rest on the surface.

    Where it is nice to think Earhart survived as a castaway, it is nearly impossible for this location to be where she ended up.

    • by bobbied (2522392)
      One correction to my previous post... It's Howland Island.. NOT Howard Island.... Sorry...
    • by TDO48 (248810)

      boring, we can't make a movie out of a "standard search pattern".

      but I feel you're close to something....

      • by bobbied (2522392)

        boring, we can't make a movie out of a "standard search pattern".

        That's how flying is... Hours and hours of boredom that ends in a few seconds of shear terror. It never makes a good movie...

        I guess they might be able to gin up enough oomph to make a TV show out of the search, but only if they can get a good narrator and some really good script writers. The only problem is that unless they find something, who's going to watch a show named "Earhart is still missing!"

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Actually, since they ultimately died on the island, it's not a nicer thought. An infection would've been the most likely cause of death. Just imagine how long that would've taken, and under what conditions.

  • Props to anyone who can pull off getting funded for such a telegenic venture!

    Just as the sinking of Titanic was more valuable to society in terms of delicious romantic fappery than the ship and lives lost, so too will be the recovery of soggy Lockheed bits from the depths.

    • by PPH (736903)

      And they'll make the obligatory Big Budget movie out of it. With the requisite romantic subplot.

      I figure they'll get Ellen DeGeneres to play Amelia.

  • When I read the title first, I thought it said "Robots to Search for Amelia Earhart's Lost Phone"

    ... and then was thinking that I could use a robot like that.
  • instead of looking for a single object, why not build an obscenely large army of bots with lots of different sensors to map the ocean floors. you would find plenty of cool stuff in the process like new sea creatures, lots of lost aircraft/seacraft and sunken treasure.

  • With all the people starving to death in Africa, it is nice to see that someone can find ways to waste money in something absolutely useless
  • Not to be a conspiracy nut, but this sounds like a great story for to be look for something a bit more sensitive. Reference Slashdot story about Titanic search science.slashdot.org/story/08/06/03/1621249/search-for-rms-titanic-was-a-cover-story [slashdot.org]

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