Malaysia plane 5 questions: Experts need time to analyze newly released data

Exclusive: MH370 satellite data released

    Just Watched

    Exclusive: MH370 satellite data released

Exclusive: MH370 satellite data released 03:34

Story highlights

  • 47-page document released with data about missing Malaysia Flight 370
  • Document contains communication logs between company and plane
  • The data is dense and complicated; experts say it will take weeks to analyze

For the first time in several weeks, authorities have released information about missing Malaysia Flight 370 not previously available to the public.

The problem is, it's very technical and experts said it's going to take them weeks to figure out exactly what it means.

On Tuesday the Malaysian authorities published a 47-page document containing hundreds of lines of communication logs between the airliner that went missing March 8 and Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications company.

Is there anything in the data we didn't already know?

The data is dense and complicated, and even professionals will need time to analyze the logs, experts tell CNN.

Inmarsat VP: The data is right

    Just Watched

    Inmarsat VP: The data is right

Inmarsat VP: The data is right 03:42
MH370 partner: 'We've been deceived'

    Just Watched

    MH370 partner: 'We've been deceived'

MH370 partner: 'We've been deceived' 02:37
Some family unsatisfied with MH370 data

    Just Watched

    Some family unsatisfied with MH370 data

Some family unsatisfied with MH370 data 01:53

But there is some key general information that has emerged. The data includes the seven "handshakes" investigators said helped them conclude that the plane ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean, where the search continues.

"Handshake" is the lingo that Inmarsat uses. It means a signal between the satellite and the plane. The satellite sends a coded signal to the plane essentially asking "Are you there?" and the plane sends a signal conveying "I am here."

Remember it was Malaysian authorities who, in late March, told relatives of the 239 passengers and crew that the aircraft crashed in the southern Indian ocean.

The Malaysian government's decided to release the data now, said Inmarsat CEO Rupert Pearce on CNN's "New Day."

The data constitutes "raw communications logs over our networks," he said.

"That's all the information that we have that passed between our network and the plane during the fateful hours when the flight was lost," Pearce said. "So it's everything -- we put everything out there."

Speaking of handshakes, what's this about a 'partial handshake'?

Inmarsat and Australian officials have addressed something they call a "margin of error" -- or how far the plane could be from the location where authorities believe it crashed. The focus of the search has been the so-called seventh arc, which represents the location of a "partial handshake." Authorities believe that area is where the plane ran out of fuel. When it ran out of fuel, the plane's on-board satellite communications system stopped, and the "partial handshake" was the battery-powered communication's equipment powering up following a power interruption, authorities said.

Angus Houston, the head of the Australian agency coordinating the search, first suggested at a press conference in early April that may have happened.

You've said it's going to take time -- how long exactly?

An international group of experts is reviewing the data from Inmarsat and examining an analysis of the plane's performance -- and that enterprise could take two to three more weeks, Australian Transport Safety Bureau Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan told CNN Tuesday.

MH370: Families call for independent investigations

    Just Watched

    MH370: Families call for independent investigations

MH370: Families call for independent investigations 05:21
Filmmaker defends MH370 movie at Cannes

    Just Watched

    Filmmaker defends MH370 movie at Cannes

Filmmaker defends MH370 movie at Cannes 03:38

On top of that, it's possible that continuing to review the data will further refine or even shift the search area from its current location, Dolan told CNN.

It's not just people involved in the search saying that.

Even Michael Exner, founder of American Mobile Satellite Corporation, a member of a loose confederation of experts who've demanded access to the information, said the information released Tuesday is too limited to verify Inmarsat's conclusion that the plane flew south, into the Indian Ocean.

He joined the chorus of others who called for more time.

But don't the Australians, the leaders of the search, have anything more to say?

For the first time, Australian accident investigators outlined in a detailed report why they believe the plane crashed in the southern Indian ocean. The report, posted Monday on the ATSB's website, includes a map with seven concentric circles representing the "seven handshakes" captured in the Inmarsat data.

This is where aviation experts -- who call themselves av geeks -- can begin their inside baseball debate. To start them off -- the Australians' report explains two key measurements: The first, the Burst Timing Offset (BTO), which allowed investigators to figure out how far away the plane was from the satellite at the time of each "handshake." The second, the Burst Frequency Offset (BFO), which helped investigators estimate the speed and direction of the aircraft, which led to the conclusion that MH370 flew into the southern Indian Ocean.

You've probably seen family members on the news, outraged at the Malaysian government, accusing officials of not being transparent during the investigation. How are relatives reacting to the release of this data?

"It is very technical and we are not experts, so we may ask some other people who can help us," said Steven Wang on CNN Tuesday. His mother was a passenger.

Sarah Bajc, partner of American passenger Philip Wood, told CNN's "New Day" that she believes Malaysian authorities have more information they're not releasing. She suggested that the Malaysian government received the data from Inmarsat and manipulated it before releasing it to the public.

"They're clearly covering something up," she said. "Now, whether they're covering up their own incompetence or they're covering up wrongdoing or they're covering up on behalf of somebody else, for instance another more powerful government, it could be any of those scenarios."

She said that the families have reached out to their own hired experts who are analyzing the data, but that it is too soon to tell if they can draw any conclusions.

READ: CNN's Richard Quest: Is Inmarsat right?

READ: Cannes: Movie maker courts controversy with MH370 thriller

READ: MH370 report: Mixed messages ate up time before official search initiated

      Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

    • nr intv moni basu husbands quiet suffering flight 370_00020822.jpg

      His wife never came home from her flight on MH370, and now K.S. Narendran is left to imagine the worst of possible truths without knowing.
    • This handout photo taken on April 7, 2014 and released on April 9, 2014 by Australian Defence shows Maritime Warfare Officer, Sub Lieutenant Ryan Penrose watching HMAS Success as HMAS Perth approaches for a replenishment at sea while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. Two fresh signals have been picked up Australian ship Ocean Shield in the search for missing Malaysian flight MH370, raising hopes that wreckage will be found within days even as black box batteries start to expire.

      Was the sound of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 striking the water captured by ocean devices used to listen for signs of nuclear blasts?
    •  A crew member of a Royal New Zealand Airforce (RNZAF) P-3K2-Orion aircraft helps to look for objects during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in flight over the Indian Ocean on April 13, 2014 off the coast of Perth, Australia. S

      What was believed to be the best hope of finding the missing plane is now being called a false hope. Rene Marsh explains.
    • Caption:A Chinese relative of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 uses a lighter as she prays at the Metro Park Hotel in Beijing on April 8, 2014. The hunt for physical evidence that the Malaysia Airlines jet crashed in the Indian Ocean more than three weeks ago has turned up nothing, despite a massive operation involving seven countries and repeated sightings of suspected debris. AFP PHOTO/WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

      Involved parties, including the manufacturer Boeing, are bracing for a long public relations siege.
    • The painstaking search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 got a vote of confidence Friday that the effort is headed in the right direction, but officials noted that much work remains.
Credit: 	CNN

      Official: The four acoustic pings at the center of the search for Flight 370 are no longer believed to have come from the plane's black boxes.
    • INDIAN OCEAN (April 14, 2014) -- Operators aboard ADF Ocean Shield move U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 into position for deployment, April 14. Using side scan sonar, the Bluefin will descend to a depth of between 4,000 and 4,500 meters, approximately 35 meters above the ocean floor. It will spend up to 16 hours at this depth collecting data, before potentially moving to other likely search areas. Joint Task Force 658 is currently supporting Operation Southern Indian Ocean, searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Peter D. Blair/RELEASED)

      The underwater search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane will effectively be put on hold this week, and may not resume until August at the earliest.
    • Movie-makers say they have recruited leading Hollywood technicians to bring their experience to mid-air flight sequences.

      Movie-makers in Cannes have announced they're making a thriller based on the disappearance of Malaysian flight MH370.
    • The search for the missing Boeing 777 has gone on for eight weeks now. CNN's David Molko looks back at this difficult, emotional assignment.