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Author Topic: Now What or What's Next?  (Read 1293 times)

Jerry Stalheim

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Now What or What's Next?
« on: November 26, 2019, 02:23:54 PM »

So the obvious next question is ... "Now what?"  With the all research that has been done and all the evidence that has been gathered without the body of either AE or FN or the Electra plane the general pop is not going to believe like we do. 

What are the next steps than how can a single piece of the plane not be found at least one of the engines (I know one may have been taken to Kanton) but what of the other?

Has the Fiji museum's let Tighar examine all the human remains in their museums like "Expedition Amelia" was able to do in Tarawa?

How do we find the smoking gun evidence to finally solve this case, and "Now what" needs to be done to have a firm answer?

Thanks
Jerry S
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2019, 10:40:07 AM »

Quote from: Jerry Stalheim on November 26, 2019, 02:23:54 PM
What are the next steps than how can a single piece of the plane not be found at least one of the engines (I know one may have been taken to Kanton) but what of the other?

The story that one of the engines was taken to Kanton appears to have been a case of Saipan Syndrome (false memory).  Whether further underwater searching at Nikumaroro is warranted is a decision we'll only be able to make after we know exactly where and how Ballard conducted his search. We do not yet have that data.
However, it is looking increasingly like we already have a piece of NR16020.  I just spent two days in Seattle with Jeff Glickman at his forensic imaging laboratory.  Getting all of the variables and parameters identified and resolved to get the best possible super-resolution of the patch in the July 1, 1937 16mm film imagery is a complex and time consuming process, but Jeff now has most of them nailed down. For example, it was essential to know the lens, f-stop and film speed used to shoot the original footage.  Getting that information required determining exactly what camera was used.  Using clues in a 1937 letter written by the photographer, information in historical Kodak sales material and owner's manuals, and coding markers on the film itself, Jeff was able to identify, and actually acquire an example of, the camera used to shoot the film (see photo). 
Jeff has now been able to use super-resolution software to produce a far more detailed image of the patch than we've seen before. I've now seen the latest version and I can see individual rivets along the bottom edge of the patch.  They are large and irregular in pitch, just as we see on Artifact 2-2-V-1.  We cannot, however, yet see the lines of small (AN 455 3/3 brazier head) rivets on either the patch or the rest of the airplane.  So far, Jeff has been working with jpegs to do this proof-of-concept work because they're easier to use.  He's now ready to start using NEF images which are more complicated but deliver much greater resolution.  He feels confidant we'll ultimately be able to see all the rivets.
The way you identify an artifact is to compare the unknown object to a known object.  If the two objects are identical in all respects, they are the same kind of object. For example, the pocket knife found at the Seven Site is an Imperial Cutlery Company, bone-handled, double-bladed "Easy Open" jacknife.  In this case, the known object - the patch - is absolutely unique.  It is safe to say that no other aircraft ever had a patch exactly like the one on NR16020.  If the artifact and the patch are identical in all respects, they are the same object. QED (quod erat demonstrandum).

Quote from: Jerry Stalheim on November 26, 2019, 02:23:54 PM
Has the Fiji museum's let Tighar examine all the human remains in their museums like "Expedition Amelia" was able to do in Tarawa?

Yes, and we've gone far beyond that.  We've done a physical search of the entire hospital where Hoodless worked.

Quote from: Jerry Stalheim on November 26, 2019, 02:23:54 PM
How do we find the smoking gun evidence to finally solve this case, and "Now what" needs to be done to have a firm answer?

The smoking gun(s) are the post-loss radio signals, in particular the Pan Am and Coast Guard radio bearings.  The Electra landed at Gardner.  What we're talking about is public perception - a different issue made more difficult by an increasingly fact-free information environment where "firm answers" are whatever you want them to be.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 10:46:52 AM by Ric Gillespie »
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Jerry Stalheim

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2019, 11:12:33 AM »

Thank you Ric for the reply and the great information, and I guess then the question should be "What is Left To Do?  to find that smoking gun for everyone else to believe?

Jerry S
LTM
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Jennifer Hubbard

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2019, 10:34:36 AM »

I don't think of this as finding a smoking gun that everyone will believe. I think of this more as laying out puzzle pieces, showing what has been found. In terms of what's next, it may be useful to think in terms of: What are the open lines of inquiry where we still have leads to pursue? The artifact that is being investigated for its similarity to the patch is obviously one. The water search angle has information pending. What I'm wondering is whether there are any more fruitful possibilities on the land at Niku, and what other lines of inquiry are still going.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2019, 11:37:30 AM »

What I'm wondering is whether there are any more fruitful possibilities on the land at Niku, and what other lines of inquiry are still going.

One line of inquiry we're about to undertake is quantifying, to the extent possible, the amount of time Earhart survived as a castaway at the Seven Site.  The best clues are the bird, fish, and turtle bones, and clam shells found at the site.  We've had them analyzed by experts to identify which were most likely the result of local Pacific islander activity and which can be reasonably attributed to a western castaway.  Once we've pulled those data together and have a sum total of caloric content we can estimate the maximum time a person could survive. Other clues, such as the breeding cycle of sea turtles, and the efficacy of the castaway's apparent water collection/purification procedure, could enter into the equation.  Another factor to consider is protein poisoning, sometimes called "rabbit starvation".  If a person eats nothing but lean protein (fish, birds, clams) the lack of fat causes diarrhea, headache, fatigue, low blood pressure, slow heart rate, and eventually death.

Figuring out her total survival time would be nearly impossible because we have no way of knowing how long she had been on the island before she began living at the Seven Site. There might have been some sort of onshore camp at the northwest end of the island during the time the plane was parked on the reef, but our detailed examination of that area in 2015 left little doubt any sign of such a camp has been obliterated by subsequent storm activity.  Was there another campsite somewhere before she settled at the Seven Site? For a while we thought the site on the southern shoreline where we found the shoe heel in 1991 was an Earhart campsite but, on balance, that hypothesis is not supported.  Did she find and loot the Norwich City supply cache near the southern lagoon passage?  Was that the "sign of previous habitation" that looked to Maude and Bevington like someone had "bivouacked for the night"?  Unfortunately that whole area was later cleared and planted to coconuts.
What would now be left of an interim campsite?  A now-buried fire feature with bird and fish bones?  Artifacts she had with her were likely carried on to the next campsite.  We find them at the Seven Site because it was the end of the trail. 
So going back to wander through  miles of Buka forest with metal detectors would seem to be a fool's errand.
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Randy Conrad

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2019, 11:51:02 PM »

Hey Ric...in reference to your comments about protein poisoning...I'm wandering also if Amelia's use of the elusive freckle ointment jar that was found on the island.. might have also led to her demise with the possibility of mercury poisoning. I'm no scientist on mercury, but from studying about it in high school and from Joe's analysis report on the actual jar found on the island it makes you wonder. Did she use it alot to protect her face from sunburn, and or did she use it as a cup to drink from?
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Matt Revington

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2019, 06:29:27 AM »

I think it's been discussed before but airborne LIDAR (drone or airplane based) would seem to be the best way to search for any lost features in the Buka forest rather than wandering through randomly and clearing the brush.  Lidar shows amazing detail on a lot of old roman sites covered by vegetation and forest in Europe that would be invisible to those on the ground.  I searched for the previous discussion and could not find it but it seemed there doubts how well it would work on the type of soil/coral debris on Niku but it could still be worth a try.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2019, 08:16:46 AM »

I think it's been discussed before but airborne LIDAR (drone or airplane based) would seem to be the best way to search for any lost features in the Buka forest rather than wandering through randomly and clearing the brush. 

A drone-mounted LIDAR survey of the never-inhabited parts of the island might be an effective way to search for features which could then be ground-truthed.  We need to find a prospective vendor/contractor to find out more.
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John Klier

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2019, 02:04:13 PM »

Looking for features on the ground with airborne LiDAR will depend on at least some of the laser pulses getting through the canopy. If the AOI is so dense with vegetation that you can't see the sky it will not give you the desired results.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2019, 03:15:53 PM »

Looking for features on the ground with airborne LiDAR will depend on at least some of the laser pulses getting through the canopy. If the AOI is so dense with vegetation that you can't see the sky it will not give you the desired results.

This is typical Buka forest.
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Matt Revington

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2019, 03:23:07 PM »

There seems to be newer approaches that penetrate foliage fairly efficiently

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170627142839.htm
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John Klier

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2019, 06:39:49 AM »

I remember reading that paper when it came out. I was going to look for it again yesterday so thanks for posting!

As far as I know that tech isn't available on any commercially available LiDAR  sets for unmanned aircraft, at least nothing that I'm currently working with. It's something to keep an eye on.

Another option could be backpack mounted LiDAR.  I use these on occasion.  The obvious drawback is you'd still have to hack your way through the undergrowth but you wouldn't have to cover every square foot. You's only need to make enough passes to give some overlap. The big advantage is you would eliminate the canopy as a barrier and the laser would only need to peak through the undergrowth as you walk.

It might be worth investigating.

There seems to be newer approaches that penetrate foliage fairly efficiently

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170627142839.htm
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2019, 07:23:26 AM »

The obvious drawback is you'd still have to hack your way through the undergrowth but you wouldn't have to cover every square foot. You's only need to make enough passes to give some overlap.

I realize it might seem feasible to someone who has never been there, but the very thought gives me nightmares.
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John Klier

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Re: Now What or What's Next?
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2019, 07:41:19 AM »

I suspected that would be your reaction.  ;)


The obvious drawback is you'd still have to hack your way through the undergrowth but you wouldn't have to cover every square foot. You's only need to make enough passes to give some overlap.

I realize it might seem feasible to someone who has never been there, but the very thought gives me nightmares.
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Jerry Stalheim

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