SAS Pietermaritzburg in 2012

Article: Wired on mapping the sea floor to find a plane

It is an oft-repeated bromide that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the bottom of the sea. There is some truth in this – in fact, an article at states that we know more about Mars than about our own planet’s ocean floor. This deficiency in knowledge was thrown under the spotlight by the loss at sea of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in March 2014.

In order to search for the flight in the Indian Ocean,┬ádepth survey tracks done in the 1960s (before GPS existed) are being combined with satellite sea floor maps, which are based on measurements of the height of the ocean’s surface from space. The resolution of the satellite data is low – about 20 kilometres, so it was further combined with ship tracks and other publicly available information.

You can read more about the map here, and read the full Wired article here.

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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