$28m to pave a square !
That puts the cost of searching for a $270m aircraft into perspective. A couple of hundred million is a drop in the bucket when all is considered and very good value compared to a few city squares. Read on to see why.
Once the current search is finished and if nothing is found, Australians could quite properly think that we’ve done our bit and why waste more money ?
Don’t be snowed by desperation to prove the search wrong and salvage what little reputation remains.
In this situation there is no “X marks the spot”, each arc has a minimum +- 10km error factor therefore creating a band 20km wide.
The basic navigation principles for box searches are the same as for triangular fixes. The limits of the search are defined and every point within those limits has an equal probability to every other point. That means that having searched 119,999 square km’s, exactly the same probability exists in that last square km.
Exponential can’t be applied here and the job’s not finished yet.
So what do we do if it’s not found by the 120 thousandth square km ?
Some things are worth more than money and national prestige is an indefinable quality that every nation cherishes.
Australia has become a pariah state over its offshore detention policy and really needs something to polish a very tarnished image, we can’t just leave it to our cricket team to create national pride, that’s a heavy burden for 11 blokes.
An alternative is to keep looking for it. PM Turnbull in his inaugural speech;
"We can't be defensive, we can't future-proof ourselves. We have to recognise that the disruption that we see driven by technology, the volatility in change is our friend if we are agile and smart enough to take advantage of it.
"There has never been a more exciting time to be alive than today and there has never been a more exciting time to be an Australian."
The expression; snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, is appropriate. Australians aren’t quitters so let’s add the success of this task to previous successes and not just rely on sportsmen and women for a sense of national achievement.
Apollo 13 was a seemingly impossible task but NASA brought three astronauts home by creatively working as a team to single-mindedly achieve its objective. Yes it’s a Malaysian aircraft but next time it could be a Qantas and as our continent is surrounded by lots of briny, the skills and experience developed by this enterprise could save future lives.
Other benefits of continuing to search are increased scientific knowledge, maintaining a presence for defence purposes and potential resource discovery. For the last, there doesn’t need to be a hypocritical pretence, a search must be paid for and if costs can be offset in that way, better than giving up. There is much public interest and documentaries could be produced by the national broadcaster to further offset costs and promote Australia.
“We can’t be defensive”. Mistakes have been made, difficult tasks are always error prone and only admitting and correcting those errors will provide future success. Before committing to future action, a complete revision of all data is necessary and a carefully considered plan devised,perhaps encompassing deployment in more than a single area.
Future contracts could include a requirement for Australian nationals to be part of the team, adding to the future skills of a nation ready to show the world what it can do.