The military aircraft scouring a vast swath of the Indian Ocean for remnants of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet got their best lead yet Thursday after analyzed satellite images showed what could be plane debris off the Australian coast. But the search processes for pinpointing any possible wreckage, and culling its key black-box information, is still a near-impossible task, experts say. "It's the middle of nowhere," an oceanography professor in Australia told NBC News. "Any search there would be incredibly challenging. It could take years." Tom Costello underscored the challenges Thursday evening in a special Nightly Extra live discussion with NBC News' Ann Curry. "It's entirely possible that the wreckage is on the bottom of the ocean hundreds of miles" from where the satellite images were taken, given how long ago they were taken and how strong the currents in the area, he said.
In this March 16, 2014 satellite imagery provided by Commonwealth of Australia - Department of Defence on Thursday, March 20, 2014, a floating object is seen at sea next to the descriptor which was added by the source. Australia's government reported Thursday, March 20, 2014 that the images show suspected debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner floating in an area 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth Australia. (AP Photo/Commonwealth of Australia - Department of Defence)
Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 Updated at 4:34 PM PDT