During an attempt at becoming the first woman to complete a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. The two were last seen in Lae, New Guinea, on July 2, 1937, on the last land stop before Howland Island and one of their final legs of the flight. She presumably died in the Pacific during the circumnavigation, just three weeks prior to her fortieth birthday. Nearly one year and six months after she and Noonan disappeared, Earhart was officially declared dead. Investigations and significant public interest in their disappearance still continue over 80 years later.
Decades after her presumed death, Earhart was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1968 and the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1973. She now has several commemorative memorials named in her honor around the United States, including an urban park, an airport, a residence hall, a museum, a research foundation, a bridge, a cargo ship, an earth-fill dam, four schools, a hotel, a playhouse, a library, multiple roads, and more. She also has a minor planet, planetary corona, and newly-discovered lunar crater named after her. She is ranked ninth on Flying's list of the 51 Heroes of Aviation.