SCIENTISTS are mapping the entire ocean floor as part of an ambitious project that could finally find the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
They will use state-of-the-art technology to explore every contour of Earth’s oceans by 2030.
As well as uncovering missing wreckages, scientists behind the scheme hope to map hidden underwater mountains that pose a danger to submarines.
“If you go to the deep water, to the deep sea, right up in the centre of the Indian Ocean or the Pacific Ocean, you actually could miss entire mountains,” team member Geoffroy Lamarche told ABC.
While more than 71% of Earth’s surface is covered in water, we’ve only mapped about 18% of the seafloor.
That means we known more about the landscape of other planets than we do the depths of our oceans.
An international team of scientists is hoping to rectify this by developing new technologies to chart deep below the surface of the sea.
Their project, dubbed Seabed 2030, aims to map the entire ocean floor in just over a decade by upgrading our current mapping systems.
According to the United Nations, a comprehensive map could help global efforts to combat pollution and forecast deadly tsunamis.
It could also help in search and rescue operations, as in the disappearance of the MH370 Malaysian Airlines flight in March 2014.
That’s because a deeper knowledge of the ocean’s contours could give scientists a better understanding of where a crashed plane or vessel may have sunk to.
With their scanning technology, experts at Seabed 2030 hope to enlist the help of fishermen, scientists and ocean transport companies to complete the project.
“Potentially every vessel that goes to sea could be equipped with some sort of sounder that could capture water-depth information and send it back to our centre,” Dr Lamarche said.
Autonomous mapping craft could also be used to chart parts of the ocean rarely visited by commercial boats.
The end result will bolster navigation safety and boost our understanding of Earth’s mysterious deep sea territory.
“People keep saying we don’t want to touch the ocean, it’s too pristine, it’s too rich, but we don’t even know what to conserve,” Dr Lamarche said.
“We need to know what’s there, to know how to conserve it for future generations.”
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It could join forces with a new satellite system set to launch in 2020 that tracks aircraft in real-time.
An Indonesian fisherman claimed in January that he saw the missing MH370 flight fall into the sea “like a broken kite” while insisting he recorded the exact location of the crash.
Mr Khusmin said the aircraft went down in the Strait of Malacca – a narrow shipping lane, west of Kuala Lumpur, where Malaysia Airlines lost contact with MH370 close to Phuket island, Thailand.
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Groundbreaking plan to uncover secret MOUNTAINS buried below sea by mapping the entire ocean floor by 2030