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The Search for Flight MH370


Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, while transitioning between air spaces after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on a flight to Beijing. The Boeing 777, owned by Malaysian Airlines, had its last contact at 1:19 AM with the air traffic controller just as it was about to enter Vietnamese airspace. The plane’s transponder was subsequently turned off at 1:21 AM, which cut off all tracking and communication. The aircraft then turned around but, as its transmitter was turned off, it was not detected by air traffic control. At 1:30 AM, the Malaysian military and civilian radar detected the plane and began tracking it as it flew back over the Malay Peninsula and the Strait of Malacca. However, the tracker lost contact with the plane at 2:22 AM while it was over the Andaman Sea. The last ever known sighting of the plane was at 8:11 AM, nearly six hours after the military lost track of it, over the Indian Ocean. 

The search for the plane was unsuccessful until almost a year later, on July 29, 2015, a piece of debris was found on the coast of a French island called Réunion. Over the next year and a half, 26 more pieces of debris were found along various coasts, but only three could be positively identified as pieces of flight MH370. 17 others were found likely, but not fully positive. One of the verified pieces of MH370 debris actually proved that the plane did not land in the water in a controlled manner. Some think that the plane actually came in at a vertical angle! 

After three years, the search for MH370 died down, and the three governments that were participating in it opted out. These governments include China, Malaysia, and Australia. They said that they would not participate in the search any longer unless some concrete evidence showed up. But recently, some evidence actually narrowed down the search for MH370. This evidence is based on, believe it or not, barnacles.

Barnacles are a type of arthropod, a type of small invertebrate animal that attaches themselves to solid surfaces at a young age. These surfaces consist of boats, rocks, and most importantly, debris. Barnacles found on a piece of an MH370 wing flap have resulted in the newest advancement of the search; narrowing down the vast search site of the Indian Ocean. 

The barnacles found on the wing flap probably attached close to the time of the crash, which means that when scientists investigate the different layers of the MH370 stalker barnacles’ shells, they would be able to identify different aspects of the ocean that the barnacles were in when their layer of shell formed. 

Stalker barnacles follow the ocean current, which means that if the scientists can find the currents at the time of the search, they might be able to find out the whereabouts of the missing plane. 

So, if this recent discovery can convince the nearby governments to resume their search, then maybe the greatest aviation mystery of all time can once and for all be solved.

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About the Contributor
Maren Huss
Maren Huss, Author
My name is Maren Huss, I am in 7th grade, and I rock climb with TeamGrippen. In my free time I enjoy reading, running, climbing, and overall just being outdoors. This allows me to just be myself and relax. My favorite thing to write about is big things happening in the world around us, events that could very well change our lives.

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