Sonic Pings from Malaysian Plane: Sounds In The Water
Listening to underwater sounds may be the deciding factor in us determining the location of the plane and solving this mystery. Locator beacons attached to the missing Malaysian plane are designed to emit high-pitched signals, or pings, for 30 days after they get wet (Friday was day 35) according to CNN.
Trevor Cox, author of The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World, described to NPR how sound travels "more efficiently [in water] than in air. It's the same kind of process in the fact that you've got a wave, and air is being passed from air molecule to air molecule, whereas in water it's being passed from water molecule to water molecule. It just happens to be that in water it goes further, which is another reason why aquatic animals like to use it — because it can travel huge, great distances underwater in a way that it never would do in the air."