MH370 mystery could finally be solved as new technology sparks hope search could start again
- 17:03, 2 Oct 2021
- Updated: 17:42, 2 Oct 2021
NEW technology could finally solve the mystery of the missing MH370 flight, sparking hopes a new search could start again.
The Weak Signal Propagation Reporter (WSPR) could now be used to accurately calculate the final location of the Malaysian Airlines passenger plane before it disappeared over the Indian Ocean.
4The Weak Signal Propagation Reporter could help track the final location of the MH370
4The missing MH370 flight is regarded as the world's most elusive and expensive aviation mysteryCredit: Athena Picture Agency
Extensive trials of new technology tracking historical data of radio signals bumping off planes have led experts to believe it could hone in on a more specific underwater search area for teams to comb.
The tests were fuelled by the use of the forgotten WSPR system, set up in 2009, which records every interaction between planes in the sky and signals sent from the ground.
The encoded information from each signal is stored in a database every two minutes recording a timestamp, location and drift.
The contact helps provide precise timelines of the path of aircraft, which are notoriously difficult to monitor over such a huge scale of airspace.
When the MH370 disappeared, the database had around 200 signals every two minutes.
Now a number of the detections can be used to track the flight when it went out of range of radar systems.
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British aerospace engineer Richard Godfrey, who conducted the tests, compares the technology to a web of invisible detectors that record movement amongst the clouds.
He told The Times: "Imagine crossing a prairie with invisible trip wires crossing the whole area and going back and forth across the length and breadth.
"Each step you make you tread on particular trip wires and we can locate you at the intersection of the disturbed trip wires. We can track your path as you move across the prairie."
Despite the concept of the missing Boeing 777 setting off invisible "electronic trip-wires" being explored, the busy airspace makes it extremely difficult to confirm if it was the Malaysia Airlines plane.
Godfrey, who is part of a team still trying to locate the plane, used the WSPR technology to track a New Zealand air force Orion aircraft.
He tracked the flight path of the plane, which managed to photograph debris floating in the ocean not long after the MH370 vanished.
The snaps included what appeared to be the remains of a Boeing 777 wing component – but it was never recovered.
Many experts now believe the large panel could have been part of the Malaysia Airlines jet.
The Orion flight has now become the focus of tests using the new technology.
After years of unsuccessful searches, there is hope the Weak Signal Propagation Reporter cold kick off a fresh search into the depths of the sea.
Marine robotics company Ocean Infinity conducted the last search back in 2018, armed with a fleet of unmanned underwater vehicles.
Despite the advanced technology enabling them to cover 50,000 square miles of sea floor, they turned up nothing.
But after the news of the successful WSPR trials, the team have revealed they are open to resuming another search.
"We are always interested in resuming the search whether as a result of new information or new technology," a spokesman said.
He said late next year or early 2023 seemed to be the most "sensible" possible time frame.
Godfrey believes the radio signal database could hold vital clues to the precise flight path of the doomed plane and where it crashed.
It will take two months for specially designed software to wade through the database to find any traces the MH370 may have left.
The world's most elusive and expensive aviation mystery has baffled search teams since the Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared on March 8, 2014.
It vanished from radar after taking off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, bound for Beijing and took an unexplained U-turn from its planned flight path.
Seven years on from flight MH370, some investigators believe the plane's captain made a series of zig-zagging movements to throw off air traffic teams and evade radar systems.
4The floating debris photographed by the Orion aircraft could hold the key to the crash site of the missing MH370Credit: AFP
4The plane, carrying 239 people on board, disappeared after taking off from Kuala LumpurCredit: EPA
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