Shocking new evidence may shed light on the fate of missing aviatrix AMELIA EARHART who disappeared over the Pacific nearly 75 years ago.

After departing from Miami on June 1, 1937 in her small Electra plane, the world renowned aviator and her navigator Fred Noonan took flight on a dangerous attempt to circle the globe.

Earhart made a number of stops in South America, Asia and New Guinea on their 29,000 mile trek.

Their last known position was on July 2 near the Nukumanu Islands in the South Pacific, heading towards Howland Island where they vanished without a trace, becoming one of history's greatest aviation mysteries.

Now an enhanced analysis of a photo taken just months later, that was uncovered in 2010 shows what experts think may be the landing gear of her Electra plane jutting out from beneath the waves where she was believed to have disappeared.

The discovery, found in a crashed aircraft,  has sparked a joint venture by the State Department, historians, scientists and salvagers from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery to revisit the island in July 20111 in the hope of finding the remains of Earhart, Noonan and the doomed plane.

 “The most important thing is not whether we find the ultimate answer or what we find, it is the way we look,” explained executive director of the group Ric Gillespie. “We see this opportunity to explore … the last great American mystery of the 20th century as a vehicle for demonstrating how to go about figuring out what is true.”

Oceanographer Robert Ballard, famed for discovering the Titanic, is assisting the expedition, and has dubbed the photo a “smoking gun” — narrowing the search from tens of thousands of square miles to a more manageable target area.

Despite multiple searches, no remains were ever found. Conspiracy theorists believe the doomed flyers were spying for the U.S. government and were captured by Japanese forces prior to America’s entry in World War 2.

The new investigators believe that Earhart, who was 39 at the time of her disappearance, nosedived onto a small reef near an atoll. They survived for a short time in the rugged environs before the damaged craft was swept away but the surf into deeper waters, reported.