Could thermal help find the missing plane – flight MH370?
During the past week the compelling news story of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flight MH370 has dominated the media and leaves many questions unanswered. The flight left Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am local time on Saturday 8th March with 227 passengers and 12 crew en route to Beijing. Numerous theories are floating around – did the plane crash into water, did the plane divert and land elsewhere or is there another explanation? At present no one knows!
What do we know so far? After an hour in flight all communication with the Boeing 777 was lost, it is now believed that the ACARS communication system was disabled but for around 7 and a half hours after take-off satellite signals were still received (known as “pings”). The final signals received would have been at a stage where the was only enough fuel left for around an hours further flight – therefore given the final “ping” location , the plane could be located anywhere throughout Kazakhstan, Central Asia or the Southern Indian Ocean.
So by all accounts the plane could possibly have landed amongst vast expanses of uninhabited terrain? With this in mind the passengers and crew are hopefully all alive. There are now over 25 Countries assisting in the pursu
it to search for the missing plane with air, sea and ground efforts in place. Of course, we may think – how can a Boeing 777 disappear? This is a large aeroplane – around 70m in length with a wingspan of 60m – difficult to miss? Perhaps that is not the case if located under a dense forested areas or secluded caves or coves. But with around 230 people in the vicinity of the plane we have an added variable of a lot of thermal energy! Each passenger has a body temperature to maintain and in the area of an aeroplane with no remaining fuel and unused for over a week (hence the temperature would not be high or notable) a large group of people clustered together in a normally uninhabited area would likely emit a large thermal radiation signal. Integrating thermal vision into the search could therefore potentially provide leads to these missing people!
Of course, it is speculation as to whether the passengers are still located in the same vicinity as the aeroplane but even in a potentially unpopulated area a large group of people together would emit a thermal signal unlike that of the surroundings. Thermal imagery could prove a very useful tool in the search for this missing airline and the members of families waiting back home for news of their loved ones.
Thermal Vision Research LTD is the leading specialist in designing and building bespoke thermal solutions for commercial and medical applications. With over 30 years of experience there is no one who understands Thermal imaging better, investing in ongoing research – the performance, technology and applications on offer are advancing daily.