The research project, in collaboration with the New Zealand Defence Technology Agency and DMC International Imaging, identified 54 satellites currently only taking images of land, which could take photos of the oceans and inland waters.
 
Dr Nigel Bannister from the university’s department of Physics and Astronomy believes regularly updated images of the seas from these satellites could reduce search areas for missing ships to just a few hundred square miles.

A system able to do that would potentially cut search and rescue times for vessels and significantly improve crews’ chances of survival.