Mar 21, 2014

Crazy idea: How to find MH370 in the ocean

Here's a crazy idea on how to increase the chances of locating the missing plane. This is based on the assumption that the flight had indeed crashed in the ocean as many experts seem to believe.
  1. Create a compact sonar device specifically designed to locate plane's missing black box and/or other possible debris. I guess such a device is already available. And if not, we ought to be able to create one by customizing the firmware of an existing hardware. A few good programmers, within a couple of pizza and coke loaded nights, ought to be able to turn this around.
  2. Make this device send a periodic signal to a satellite. If that requires too much power and could drain the on-board battery too fast, let it send signals to a flying receiver such as a AWACS plane. Alternatively, float a few balloons such as the ones Google experimented with in New Zealand for cheap Internet access equipped the appropriate receiver.
  3. Identify a few migratory marine creatures (is that the correct way to refer to them?) such as whales, sharks, and other large fish that move around the Indian Ocean. Attach the device to them and set them free at various locations in the ocean. This might seem too sci-fi, but remember that this is already being done. Marine biology relies on tagging large fish with radio transmitters to study their migration pattern. Also remember National Geographic's critter cam?
  4. Keep resources stand-by to start data-mining and writing analytics code and remove the noise from the data generated by the hardworking creatures.
If the creatures do find us the missing plane, we humans give them something back in return by promising not to hunt or eat them ever! Well, may be for a couple of years giving them enough time to recover from our predatory onslaught!
May be crazy, but given how the world's most advanced existing hardware has yielded nothing so far, I would say there is no harm in trying this out. Provided that there are marine creatures do cover such a large distance and depth and that they can be caught and fitted with the device with relative ease. And provided that we can create these devices small enough, yet with enough battery power to last a few weeks or even couple of months, so as to not to affect their movement.