San Diego researchers help in search for missing jet

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‘We have to find the aircraft’: Days later, no sign of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370SAN DIEGO -Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared almost half-a-world away, somewhere over Southeast Asia.  Yet, a part of the search for the missing jet is taking place here in San Diego.

“It’s so far away when you look at the physical faraway,” said Eric Frost a Professor and Researcher at San Diego State University, “but really all of this is just connected via the internet.”

On March 8, Malaysia flight 370 disappeared.  Within  minutes of finding out, researchers 14 time zones away, at San Diego State University, jumped into action to help search for the jet.

“In some ways we can do much more here because we have the high end computers,” said Frost.

The team of researchers at SDSU is taking a three pronged approach to its search.

The team is scouring social media from Kuala Lumpar in Malaysia, where the flight originated, for clues.

“You have to go back in time to see  comments made about flight 370,” said Frost,”because really there is no new information.”

Researchers are also gathering imagery of the suspected areas where the flight may be.  They are taking the imagery collected by drones and quadcopters, and stitching it together to create maps.

In addition to that, Waldo Kleynhans, a visiting researcher at SDSU said, “We analyze data primarily from satellites to analyze what is going on, on the surface of the ocean.”

They do this by looking for oil slicks which could point to where the plane went down.

 And as complicated as all of this sounds, everyone can lend a hand with this virtual search for the missing jet.

“It’s completely something that the public can do,” said Frost.

It’s as simple as logging on to and dropping a pin into some of the online imagery, then looking for signs of the wreckage.  The website explains what to look for and walks you through the entire process.

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