Feeds

Inmarsat: Doppler effect helped 'locate' MH370

Mind you, we still haven't found the wreckage

Intelligent flash storage arrays

As air and sea searches continue to try and identify and retrieve wreckage from Malaysia Airlines MH370's presumed crash site in the southern Indian Ocean, Inmarsat has briefed Reuters on how it estimated the path the flight took.

Since relatively early in the search for the flight, reference has been made to the seven “pings” Inmarsat satellites received from the aircraft after it stopped communicating with air traffic control.

Initially, those pings gave two possible tracks for MH370: one heading north-west, which gave rise to a huge number of conspiracy theories suggesting it had been hijacked and landed somewhere on that path; and one heading towards the Indian Ocean.

Inmarsat has now told Reuters it took a second look at the satellite pings, focussing on how much they deviated from the notional frequency of the transmitter, to try and decide which of the two paths the aircraft took.

If we ignore the Reuter's “19th century physics” angle, that's still an impressively accurate frequency resolution: taking the cruising velocity of the aircraft as around 250 m/second, its impact on a 1 GHz signal would be a change of around 0.08 per cent, even if MH370 had been flying directly at the satellite.

With Inmarsat at geostationary orbit, the Doppler effect on signals from the aircraft must truly be tiny. It's no surprise, then, that before releasing its results, Inmarsat passed its analysis to another company to check before making its announcement.

A discussion of the analysis has been published by the Malaysian Ministry of Transport, here.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the area offering the best prospects to locate wreckage is probably in the vicinity of the Southeastern Indian Ridge, a zone of underwater volcanoes that hasn't been surveyed for more than 20 years. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Criticism of Uber's journo-Data Analytics plan is an Attack on DIGITAL FREEDOM
First they came for Emil – and I'm damn well SPEAKING OUT
'It is comforting to know where your data centres are.' UK.GOV does NOT
Plus: Anons are 'wannabes', KKK says, before being pwned
Google's whois results say it's a lousy smut searcher
Run whois google.com or whois microsoft.com. We dare you, you PIG◙◙◙◙ER
Holy vintage vehicles! Earliest known official Batmobile goes on sale
Riddle me this: are you prepared to pay US$180k?
'Open source just means big companies can steal your code.' O RLY?
Plus: Flame of the Week returns, for one night only!
NEWSFLASH: It's time to ditch dullard Facebook chums
Everything hot in tech, courtesy of avian anchor Regina Eggbert
Hey, you, PHONE-FACE! Kickstarter in-car mobe mount will EMBED your phone into your MUG
Stick it on the steering wheel and wait for the airbag to fire
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.