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Holiday calendar: Amelia Earhart's final resting place?

Newly reported evidence adds support to the claim that famed aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, spent the last days of their lives on Nikumaroro Island in the southwest Pacific Ocean, seen here from more than 400 miles up.

The Ikonos satellite image was taken almost a decade ago, at the request of a group that has long been looking for traces of the missing pair. Earhart and Noonan disappeared in 1937 during their attempt to make a round-the-world flight — and were never found. Their story has inspired a myriad of books and movies, including the recent film "Amelia."

Since the 1980s, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, or TIGHAR, has been engaged in a search effort called The Earhart Project. TIGHAR focused on Nikumaroro Island and commissioned the satellite photo in 2001. The uninhabited coral atoll, part of the Pacific island republic of Kiribati, is about 300 miles southeast of Howland Island, the place Earhart was trying to get to when she and Noonan disappeared.

Now TIGHAR says it has recovered bone fragments from a remote area of Nikumaroro that may have come from a human. DNA tests to be conducted in Oklahoma could confirm whether the bones were indeed of human origin or instead came from a sea turtle. There's even a chance the bones could be genetically linked to Earhart. Other artifacts found on the island — including bits of rouge, a broken mirror from a woman's compact and bottles with melted bottoms — support the view that Earhart and Noonan could have lived there for a while as castaways.

For details, check out this report as well as this follow-up and video. And for more historical mysteries, click through this gallery.

Ikonos' beautiful view of Nikumaroro Island is today's offering from the Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar, which highlights an image of Earth from space every day until Christmas. For still more stunning space imagery, click on the links below:

Update for 1:30 p.m. ET Dec. 19: NBC's Janet Shamlian reports on the new clues in the Amelia Earhart mystery in this video clip from "NBC Nightly News."


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