WorldView-2: The satellite that could have found Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
Published on Mar 21, 2014 10:13 AM
The WorldView-2, a satellite owned by US satellite company DigitalGlobe, has been confirmed as the satellite that provided Australian authorities with the images that appear to show two objects in the Indian Ocean 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth that may be related to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
DigitalGlobe confirmed this in a statement saying, "The satellite images were captured on March 16 by our WorldView-2 satellite at a resolution of approximately 50 cm. Working with our customers, DigitalGlobe continues to task our satellites to collect imagery of a wide area that includes the waters around where the possible debris was identified yesterday."
WorldView-2 was launched on October 8, 2009 and is among four others that company owns. It takes a new image of any place on earth every 1.1 days (1 day , 2 hours and 24 minutes).
DigitalGlobe also explained that the lengthy duration of the analysis effort was due to the "the extraordinary size of the current search area".
"Our constellation of five high-resolution imaging satellites captures more than 3 million square kilometres of earth imagery each day, and this volume of imagery is far too vast to search through in real time without an idea of where to look."
The company is is also using Tomnod, a crowdsourcing platform with over 250,000 volunteers. Volunteers are assigned a batch of satellite images to examine and asked to pin or tag possible signs of plane wreckage, life rafts, oil spills or any interesting or suspicious objects.
"We have been applying our satellite resources over a broader area than the official search area, while only focusing the efforts of our Tomnod crowdsourcing volunteers on the search areas identified by authorities. The efforts of millions of online volunteers around the world allowed us to rule out broad swaths of ocean with some certainty."
Other governments including the US have also been imagery from DigitalGlobe for their own search efforts.
No conclusions have been reached about the origins of the debris or objects shown in the imagery.