Almost a week after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was reported missing, it is still a mystery – with no trace of debris, no proof of a terrorist attack, no message from the crew – and the world is left puzzled about its fate and what has become of the 239 souls that were on board. While the world has brainstormed for possible explanations, it has been an emotional torture for loved ones of those who are missing. No one has any idea as to whether the passengers are still alive or dead by now.
MSN News reports about the advantages and limitations of technology today - the sophisticated technology that has drawn quite the attention to itself, due to the incident.
In an era of high-tech gadgets, Internet, robots, self-driven cars, how could a plane as big as a Boeing just disappear? When today's state-of-the-art technology can even make it possible for an ordinary person to trace the location of another person? Flight MH370 has made us face the sad reality, that our location cannot be tracked when we are flying.
But planes nowadays also have Internet access. Passengers can read detailed maps and know their exact location. And the irony is, in a multi-linked world like ours, a Boeing 777-200ER vanishes without any electronic trace, giving the rescue team a hard time searching the open waters in an area covering thousands of square miles.
So far, the search team's efforts have yet to pay off.
The Washington Post reported that they had an idea, as the reach of our contemporary technology has its limitations. The reason that people can be traced on land is because their phones connect to a telecommunication tower. If there is no service, the territory is unchartered.
Air travel nowadays sees more use of mobile devices on planes, but such use requires a special base station for the plane to send communications to a satellite, which then reports to the ground. Having this service or not depends completely on how the plane is equipped.
Phones do carry GPS chips, but these are types that require a constant data connection.
Wi-Fi could be the technology that might have helped, as mobile devices on cruising planes would have been linked with the Internet until other communication systems went down. If the Malaysian Airlines plane had Wi-Fi, any of its passengers may have left a post on the Internet, unless perhaps there was a very sudden incident of fatal malfunction or a violent crash; and that aspect is also part of the mystery.