A little more than a year ago, on 8 March 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 took off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing. It disappeared and never reached its destination.
Conspiracy theories abound as to the whereabouts of the plane. Did it crash? Like the recent germanwings incident, did the pilot commit suicide and take a whole bunch of people with him? Was there some systems failure that caused the electronics of the place to malfunction, sending them way off course until they ran out of fuel? Did the passengers and crew experience hypoxia and become debilitated, brain dead and unable to respond to repeated attempts to contact them?
We may never know. Despite the millions being spent to search for the plane, the earth is about 70% water, and it’s the most unexplored part of our planet. We know so little about the water that gives us life and sustains us.
Of course, the bigger question that has raged for a year is how you can lose a plane that big when it’s become so easy to find a cell phone or give a car directions using a global positioning satellite. Well, like a phone, if you turn off the location finder (in the plane’s case, the transponder), then nobody can locate you. It seems insane that you’d be able to make a plane disappear from radar by flipping a switch, and even more debate rages about allowing the flight crew to be able to do this, but there may be good reasons in some cases. For example, on Facebook people were told to turn off their location finder when tagging pictures with rhinos, to prevent poachers using GPS to locate rhinos and kill them.
In a war, it may be useful to turn off a plane’s transponder to prevent the plane from being tracked by an enemy. But because we don’t know the complex and intricate systems involved with plane tracking, perhaps it’s not that simple. It does remain a mystery though, like Amelia Earhart. And let’s not forget, it took over 70 years to locate the wreck of the Titanic, and they already knew where the ship sank.