Six handshakes, then silence

Science  30 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6187, pp. 964-965
DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6187.964

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How can air traffic controllers lose sight of a modern Boeing 777 while it flies thousands of kilometers? In the age of satellite communications and GPS, it shouldn't be hard to track an airliner's location over the ocean or to download its flight recorder data before disaster strikes. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has pointed up holes in the technology and spurred discussions about improving it, but the airline industry has been slow to embrace new techniques.