NASA Chips In To Help Find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Rahul Srinivas

As the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 enters the second week, even NASA has joined the list of agencies looking for it. According to Space.com, NASA is expected to analyze satellite data and images gathered after Flight 370 disappeared. It would look in to various clues from available data and try to decipher its exact location.

In an email statement to Space.com, NASA spokesperson Allan Beutel said: "Activities under way include mining data archives of satellite data acquired earlier and using space-based assets, such as the Earth-Observing-1(EO-1) satellite and the ISERV camera on the International Space Station, to acquire new images of possible crash sites." He added that the high resolution images from these instruments are good enough to identify objects that measure 98 feet or larger.

NASA also adds that it would be coordinating with the US Geological Survey's Earth Resources Observations and Science Hazard Data Distribution System – both of which are organizations that facilitate the sharing of information whenever the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters is activated. The Charter on Space and Major Disasters was activated by China on March 11, reports CNET. This charter aims to mitigate the effects of natural and man-made disasters by streamlining the delivery of space-acquired data..

In the meantime, conflicting reports continue to emerge regarding the possible fate of the aircraft. In the latest such report, the Associated Press reports that the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may have fallen victim to "an act of piracy." The report goes on to say that the plane might have even safely landed at an unknown location.

In another report, the Wall Street Journal talks about the possibility of the plane having headed in a westerly course after someone intentionally turned off the transponders in order to evade identification. According to them, the plane traveled for 2500 nautical miles for close to 4 hours after radar contact was lost with the aircraft. This indicates that the plane did not crash in the area that was being combed by investigators initially.

India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands too have been in the news with some reports talking about the possibility that the aircraft could have landed on one of the many uninhabited islands that make up the archipelago. The heavily militarized zone of the Andaman and Nicobar Island has a couple of airstrips – all under the control of India and had the plane landed there, we would have already known by now. India has on its part has kept the country's most advanced maritime air surveillance plane, the P-8I Poseidon, on standby should it services be required in the search operation.

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has become amongst the most perplexing and greatest mysteries in the history of modern aviation.

Image via Bing

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