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New MH370 analysis again suggests plane came down outside search area

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Now this is intersting

There is however the open question - if the area was under observation by a satellite during the window after the supposed crash why the data was not offered to Australia earlier.

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Go

Re: Now this is intersting

My guess - no one looked at it at the time. Satellites are taking photos constantly as they orbit around the world. More then likely data from this area was simply marked as being uninteresting/extremely low priority (it is the middle of the ocean after all), stored and forgotten about. Only after someone starts running some other analyses, do the owners of the data realise, hey actually we have pics from that area, hmm maybe we should have a look.

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Re: Now this is intersting

And will there not, somewhere, be satellite photos of the plane* itself, as opposed to just non-natural artefacts floating on the surface of the ocean?

*or recoverable images of what could conceivably have been the plane?

Still more questions than answers.

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Re: Now this is intersting

@lglethal

I get where you're coming from, but I find it unlikely. Surely, after such a high profile incident, anybody with satellite imagery would have a check to see if they have anything of potential use? I'd be pretty amazed if the US military didn't have stuff as well. I imagine they keep a significant proportion of the world under watch all the time to track ship movements etc.etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Now this is intersting

"And will there not, somewhere, be satellite photos of the plane* itself"

Probably not. Read the document and look at the images. They're clusters of anomalies that together indicate a non-natural item floating in the sea - specifically, much larger than a plane due to it being dispersed. They are not photographs of obvious debris. It's a collection of dots that an algorithm has detected as probably man-made objects. The dataset for this is enormous.

Also, while it's true that the whole earth is being photographed by satellites, it's certainly not at the same time. The reason images like this were found is because they're (relatively) static and not time-sensitive.

Consider this - the number of planes caught mid-flight on Google Earth (for example) is fleetingly rare when you take into account the sheer number of planes in the air across the globe.

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Re: Now this is intersting

@ Mad Mike

Not necessarily. You have to remember that a satellites trajectory is determined at Launch. Often, the data coming down is automatically programmed with codes for high priority/low priority, and anything over ocean would almost certainly be marked as low priority and so never actually sent to be looked at by human eyes.

Once that sort of system is in place, People dont tend to think about what other parts of the globe are covered in their low priority pile. Part of that thinking comes from the fact that in the past, all that data would never have been stored in the first place - cheap storage solutions let us keep everything now, but we are talking Terabytes of data per satellite per year which are never being looked at. Until you actually have a reason to check something out your not going to go looking in that low priority pile. If the French Researchers didnt think of it at the time, then it would only be that because of something else being researched, that they realised that maybe they have this data.

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Re: Now this is intersting

"Not necessarily. You have to remember that a satellites trajectory is determined at Launch. Often, the data coming down is automatically programmed with codes for high priority/low priority, and anything over ocean would almost certainly be marked as low priority and so never actually sent to be looked at by human eyes."

The broad parameters of the trajectory are set at launch, but they do adjust their trajectory whilst in orbit, especially spy satellites to see specific items of interest. What's regarded as low/high priority is really related to what the purpose of the satellite is. I imagine DoD satellites are as interested in the ocean as they are in land masses. They want to monitor ships etc. and see what's happening. Similarly, an ocean surveillance civilian satellite is also more interested in the ocean than land masses.

However, regardless of this, you would have thought these organisations are aware of what they have and what has been photographed and therefore, even if it's low priority, would take a look at it.

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Re: Now this is intersting

@voland's right hand - "if the area was under observation by a satellite during the window after the supposed crash why the data was not offered to Australia earlier."

These are subtle artifacts in images "objects 'probably not natural'"and outside the search area. In many ways it's the same as the physical search, you mark out an area and start looking through that. The imagery analysts may have been combing through all their data but were simply looking at pictures too far south. Only when they've taken a longer look further afield have they (possibly) spotted something.

Don't forget this isn't something that was automated so would taken time even for a small area and the images were from 2 weeks after the plane disappeared.

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Re: Now this is intersting

@Mad Mike - "you would have thought these organisations are aware of what they have and what has been photographed and therefore, even if it's low priority, would take a look at it."

But they may have already done that before these pictures were taken. The story points out that the images were from 2 weeks after the event. The owners may have already reviewed their data stocks and worked on those. Notwithstanding that it was a manual exercise to go through all the imagery and you would have started within the search area, not outside it.

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Re: Now this is intersting

However, regardless of this, you would have thought these organisations are aware of what they have and what has been photographed and therefore, even if it's low priority, would take a look at it.

Take the various organizations, the number of satellites, and the time scale (weeks), we're talking about yottabytes of data to sort through, mostly manually.

For example: A lot of data gathered by NASA during the seventies was lost, either because the format it was in was obsoleted before anyone had time to examine it, or it was lost or corrupted over time, because there was so much data gathered, and only so many people (a few thousand) to examine it.

Data collection is easy, going through it all takes a lot of time, manpower, and resources.

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Re: Now this is intersting

I understand that many low-earth orbit satellites (around 700km above the earth) designed for ground mapping switch off many of their systems when over the sea to conserve power and also reduce sensitivity to radiation. In addition to this, a plane moving at 700km/hr with a satellite passing by at 30,000km/hr would be unlikely to be recorded by the satellite designed to map the ground.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Now this is intersting

And why the hell would the french ministry of defense that satellite images of basically the most desolate region of earth?

To get good photos of whales?

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Re: Whales?

My thought too. If this mystery has proved anything it is that the plane went down in the Middle of Nowhere.

'Course, France has a property, Reunion, "nearby" and this is going off-topic but :

http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/french-forces-in-indian-ocean/

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Re: Now this is intersting

There was a an effort at the time for internet volunteers to view satellite imagery of the area

http://www.tomnod.com/campaign/mh370_indian_ocean/map/1fvxaydo

The drift calcs now suggest looking in an area previously excluded so no one was looking. IIRC the search range was extended several times and the possible locations changed several times based on new information from the engine polling and satellite signal processing.

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Re: Now this is intersting

And why the hell would the french ministry of defense that satellite images of basically the most desolate region of earth?

The most-desolate region on Earth has been under intense observation ever since the Vela incident. It is the only place on Earth where you can test a nuke and nobody can attribute it to you (unless they sieve through months worth of data backlog).

That is why it is being observed quite carefully nowdays. At least more carefully than you would expect from observation of such a desolate area.

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I'm assuming that the flight data recorder and voice recorders are both solid state, but has any analysis been done to see how long this equipment can store/hold data for submerged in sea water?

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Good question. Assuming the sealed units are still sealed and no water ingress then the data should be safe for years. The x days limit for finding the boxes referred to the life of the batteries for the locating pingers.

Solid state devices tend to be quite resilient, not had an issue with USB drives being washed and tumble dried, obviously submerged at depth in salt water for years is a lot more extreme but if it's seal is in tact there is a chance.

If they find the plane and can get the rapid data logger from the cockpit too that would be a huge revelation for them as it may contain data the black box doesn't.

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If we take Air France 447, that being the longest period (before MH370) for a modern day jet to go missing, it took about 2, 2 1/2 years to recover the black box and data recorders and download the data from them. I don't recall there being an issue in the data corrupting.

However, like you point out, this is only if the box is still sealed. No one knows how fast the jet went down, or in to what terrain, and how far down it went or how much crap landed on top of it either. So to me I would assume the box's seal has been comprimised, so surely it would help the eventual recovery efforts to know what to expect from data chips that have been swimming in sea water for 5 years.

It'd be interesting to know if there's been any studies done on that anyway.

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"I would assume the box's seal has been compromised"

If it's solid state chips it would make sense to encapsulate them as well as seal the box - does anyone know if that is done?

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"assuming that the flight data recorder and voice recorders are both solid state"

I thought they specifically weren't. They used to be wire recorders, so they would by indestructible (ish), even after fire or immersion.

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@Blotto

And if Airbus, L3 and DRS Leonardo have anything to do with it, *every* Airbus rolling off the assembly line from 2019 will have a black box fitted that can/will eject itself from an airframe upon impact and, if this occurs underwater, float to the surface.

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One of the AF447 recorders (don't recall whether it was the FDR or CVR) was mildly beaten up and some of the chips needed reworking before being read out. Otherwise it was all fine.

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Guess what. So called Black Boxes* are designed to survive a crash, including fire and immersion. Nothing is perfectly indestructible and nothing lasts for ever but these things have a pretty good survival record.

* They're actually painted a hi-vis orange color for obvious reasons.

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Anonymous Coward

The plane probably went down relatively intact or there would have been a lot more debris to find.

I've always suspect that the US (or Russia) probably know from military intelligence tech where the plane went down but to release that information would be to reveal their capabilities in terms of tracking all flights.

I guess the plane will only be found when the cause is taken up by a curious billionaire. I wouldn't be shocked for someone like James Cameron to be the guy that finds it.

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Big Brother

" ... the US (or Russia) [China, etc.] probably know from military intelligence tech where the plane went down but to release that information would be to reveal their capabilities in terms of tracking all flights."

Of course.

Just because it is a huge empty strech of sea does not mean that it is not watched by satellites, albeit maybe not as closely as other, busier parts of the planet. I'm quite sure that at least the approximate whereabouts of the plane is known to them but it is not important, more important is not showing your cards.

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"The plane probably went down relatively intact or there would have been a lot more debris to find."

That only applies for a low speed crash (Air France 445 stalled into the water, so was going extremely slowly)

MH370 most likely went in at speed, in cruise configuration, based on analysis of the flaperon that was found. When Swissair 111 went down off at speed off St Johns, most of the pieces found on the surface less than 2 hours later were smaller than 10cm and what came off the seafloor was much the same size.

Couple that with not looking in the right area for quite some time afterwards and the odds are good that the surface debris field dispersed before the visual checks started.

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Pint

"...Swissair 111 went down....off St Johns..."

AB mentioned, "...When Swissair 111 went down off at speed off St Johns..."

No. Near Halifax, Nova Scotia. Not St Johns, Newfoundland.

Off Peggy's Cove specifically, perhaps 30-40 km outside of Halifax in total.

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Anonymous Coward

Water is a bit hard if you hit it at high speed and so large pieces may not necessarily still exist and be floating around after two weeks. If Bob Ballard was still active I'd have had money on him finding it.

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It will be found

In the last place they look, or not at all.

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Re: It will be found

It will be found In the last place they look

Of course.

They aren't going to carry on looking after they find it, are they?

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Holmes

Re: It will be found

Well of course it will be in the last place they look - when they find it, they'll stop looking.

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Trollface

Re: It will be found

Of course we'll keep looking! So they find some aluminum bits and claim success. It's certain to only be fake debris (from shredding other aircraft) scattered about for a search team to find. It's all part of the coverup! The blood conspiracy between Malaysia, China, the Illuminati, 4Chan, PETA, and Wikipedia must never be exposed!

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Mayday

I don't suppose it would be difficult to have a beacon that ejects from the plane *before* it crashes. If you fed the flight data into something as small as a Rasberry Pi surely it could determine several easy parameters.

For example if roll, pitch or yaw exceed normal bounds

Airspeed increasing

Less than 1000 ft altitude

Landing gear not deployed

Engines not functioning or at full throttle.

Then eject an EPIRB with a parachute attached. (parachute for crashes on land) A clever system would squirt a sub-set of the black box data into the EPIRB before ejection.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epirb

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Re: Mayday

It's more complication and expense. Bearing in mind we've not lost that many planes at sea recently, without being able to find them quickly. The cheaper answer is likely to be to use more frequent satellite updates with position, speed, heading and altitude.

Also, you're introducing yet another battery to your planes. One of the water-activated emergency beacons on top of the fuselage caught fire at Heathrow or Gatwick a couple of years ago. Not a problem on the ground, but a bit of a bugger in mid-air. This is another reason why nobody wants to allow any of these systems to have permanent access to power, without a circuit-breaker in the cockpit, which a rogue pilot could then operate.

Also, the expense part is important. I saw a quote from Warren Buffet about 5 years ago that said the entire aviation industry since the 1920s has actually made a loss. Basically it's such an expensive industry already, and does so badly in recessions, that it only survives on regular government subsidies and inputs of shareholders' cash that's then lost.

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Re: Mayday

Almost anything *could* be done. But if a) Wkipedia is correct and b) I skimmed the list right only one other largish civil transport with a passenger load has gone missing in the last 40 years (PIA 404). So that's an awful lot of hardware to buy, maintain and keep 100% serviceable for a very unusual event. And in any case there will doubtless be more telemetry in future which will provide much the same information.

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"regular government subsidies"

You mean DoD, Mod etc.

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Re: Mayday

I'd go one better.

There are guns nowadays issued to police forces that - on weapon discharged - hastily program thousands of tiny chips and then disperse them like confetti - this shows date, time, location, fingerprint used etc. electronically as well as direction of their spread - and in a way that you can't easily fake.

Have the blackbox do something similar on contact with water / high g's. Plane number, last coordinate and heading is a matter of bytes, literally nanoseconds to program via a mass RFID field that would operate evn under water.

Let thousands of tiny, bright, floating specks each contain that data and spread as they want - in air, sea or on land. Find ANY ONE of them, and you have the crash site. Find hundreds you have an idea of spread, confirmation of crash-heading version landing-heading (i.e. was it spinning /turning when it went down), etc.

Then if a plane part washes up on a foreign beach, almost certainly there'd be a couple in the nearby waters / stuck to it that you can pick up with a scanner that passively powers them up.

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Re: Mayday

Already exists. Airbus, L3 Comms and DRS Leonardo have a working prototype that's being tested and is due to be fitted to Airbus airframes from 2019.

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Pint

Re: Mayday

MM reinvented that which already exists, "...have a beacon that ejects..."

Deployable Airfoils with CVR/FDR Memory Modules,and a built-in 406 MHz ELT. Yes, they float.

A company named DRS makes them, perhaps others do too.

They're triggered by Frangible Switches (look like glass bottles sticking out), or a manual button.

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Pint

Re: Mayday "thousands of tiny, bright, floating specks"

You're stealing my idea, LOL.

And... Embed them with little corner reflectors, and optical frequency doublers or phosphor (to make a unique light wavelength) *. Scan with a laser from 20,000 feet and they'll blink back at you.

* Something like that...

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Re: Mayday

It'd be easier to realtime stream crucial data via satellite (location, heading, speed, altitude as a minimum) just like engine data is currently related back to rolls royce. In fact air France crash from Argentina a few years back, before the jet was found all they had was the realtime data which showed iirc conflicting speed info which was due to the frozen pito tubes which directly contributed to the crash as the auto pilot stopped and the pilots where feeding the computer conflicting instructions one erroneously constantly pulling up whilst the captain was pushing down to get air speed to unstall the plane.

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Re: Mayday

Thousands of tiny bright specks in the ocean will quickly attract the attention of krill and plankton feeders. They may die in the act, but I suspect they would vacuum those little guys right up.

On the other hand, this could revolutionize the fish-finder industry.

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What are the chances

That when it is found (if ever) it is just outside the search area they have already done?

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There was a comment on the radio today that a certain government does not want to find it as then there will be pressure to recover it, costing billions

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M7S
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If they do find the voice/data recorders....

...any instance of the data being less than 100% recoverable will have the conspiracy theorists in ecstatic fits for decades over the cover up of the assassination/timetraveller bodyswap/UFO attack/whatever.

Of course if the data is 100% recovered then that just proves to them it is all faked, as nothing could last that long underwater....

The one with the Oceanic Airlines logo on, thank you

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Windows

Re: If they do find the voice/data recorders....

Seeing how the Titanic of the Crazed Fools of the West his going, there will be a personal message of Putin mysteriously found on that black box.

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Rolls Royce GPS engine telemetry says landing at Diego Garcia

Constant in-flight telemetry shows normal landing, taxi and shut-down sequence at

CIA base on Diego Garcia....visit AbelDanger.org

Field McConnell was Marine fighter pilot, NW Airlines captain

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