A team of mathematicians has suggested that the reason why no trace was found of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is because it nosedived into the Indian Ocean at a perfect 90-degree angle.
The theory is proposed by Goong Chen and his team of mathematicians from the Texas A&M University in Qatar in a paper published in Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
The mathematicians used applied mathematics, computational fluid dynamics and numerical simulations in the “water entry” problem. They concluded that vertical, or very steep angle, would result in no large bending moment necessary to throw debris across the ocean.
As the vertical water-entry is the smoothest with only small bending moment in contrast with other angles of entry, the aircraft is less likely to experience “global failure” or break-up on entry, the paper says.
Chen said that the wings would have broken off almost immediately and, along with other heavy debris, would have sunk to the bottom of the ocean, leaving little or no trace to be spotted.
“The true final moments of MH370 are likely to remain a mystery until someday when its black box is finally recovered and decoded. But forensics strongly supports that MH370 plunged into the ocean in a nosedive,” Chen said.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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