ESA Satellite Sentinel-1A May Have Found Missing EgyptAir Flight MS804
Satellites are integral for communications, weather forecasts and monitoring land, sea and space activities including natural calamities and in some cases, accidents.
The downing of EgyptAir Flight MS804 last week baffled the world. While authorities are still looking for the plane itself, ESA's Sentinel-1A may have found the crash site as a mile-long oil spill was spotted by the satellite at the Mediterranean Sea.
The European Space Agency's (ESA) fleet of satellites is responsible for 24/7 weather forecasts and for constantly beaming back images of the surface of the Earth.
"Since the plane disappeared, ESA and experts have been scrutinizing satellite data to see if anything could be found to indicate wreckage or oil floating on the sea," said ESA in a report by R&D Magazine.
In a routine imaging session, a long slick oil spill was found by Sentinel-1A near the probably crash site, prompting the search and rescue team to think that the oil may be from Egypt Air Flight MS804.
The plane disappeared on the morning of May 19 on the way to Cairo from Paris. The said image was captured by ESA Sentinel-1A on the same day. ESA said after the plane disappeared, the agency together with the authorities, proceeded to scrutinize data beamed back by the satellite to help in the search for the missing plane. The exact location of the oil spill is at '33°32' N / 29°13' E' which is about 40 km southeast of the last known location of the EgyptAir plane based on the radar said ESA in a statement.
Based on tower communications before the plane went missing, the pilot requested to eject some fuel from the plane because they have too much of it on board and might be hazardous in an emergency landing, according to a news report by CNN. The news also added that some detectors from the lavatory were activated before the radar lost the signal from the plane.
However, the agency said that there is no guarantee yet if the spill was indeed from the missing plane. But the search teams, in cooperation with ESA, are still working with the satellite images in order to find debris from the missing EgyptAir Flight MS804.