A new map of the seafloor near western Australia could help the search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which has been missing since March 8th. It likely went off course and crashed into the southeast portion of the Indian Ocean. Thus far, no evidence of the plane has been found.
The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau has said more complete ocean floor mapping has already begun, but it could take months to complete. It is a major undertaking. In fact, Mars is actually better mapped than the part of the ocean floor in question.
In the meantime, two ocean mapping experts have created a new model based on available. "It is a very complex part of the world that is very poorly known," said Walter Smith, one of the two scientists who put together the map.
Smith worked with Karen Marks to create a map of the MH370 search area. They used data from satellites, which measure bumps and dips in the ocean surface. This information can then be used to create a topographical map of the ocean floor. The map they created can give at least a rough guide of the ocean floor as the search continues and Australia's mapping process is still underway.
A Chinese ship, the Zhu Kezhen, is also aiding in the seafloor mapping process. They have been mapping the region and after they have completed their process, they can use sonar to search for pieces of the missing plane.
Of course, this is all useful only if the plane is indeed under the water (which is really, really likely is) and in the general location of the search area. There are still some MH370 truthers who claim aliens, the government, or some combination of the two were to blame.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.