Search for Malaysia Flight 370 a "literal race against time," expert Michio Kaku says

This handout Satellite image made available by the AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) shows a map of the areas searched between March 18 and March 20, 2014 for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. Handout, Getty Images

The area of the Indian Ocean where potential plane debris was found via satellite may present a number of challenges as the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continues, according to one expert.

"CBS This Morning" contributor Michio Kaku, a physics professor at the City University of New York, said the area is "quite turbulent, and even a gentle current of five miles an hour could carry debris of hundreds of miles across."

The search -- now focused some 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia -- is "literal race against time," according to Kaku. "The black box has a beacon, but that beacon has a battery -- a battery with a life 30 days," he explained. "And we've already lost two weeks, so of the window of opportunity is closing very rapidly."

"(The black box) -- that's where the smoking gun is," Kaku continued. "The smoking gun is not the debris on the surface of the water. It's in the black box and if we don't find it this the next few weeks, it means we are blind. We're blind because there's no more beacon to guide our submarines, and we're going to have to use robot submarines. Humans cannot operate two miles under the ocean."

The satellite imagery that captured the debris was taken by a U.S. company called DigitalGlobe four days ago, Norah O'Donnell reported.

Kaku said more images are going to be pored over in the coming days, but real-time photographs aren't available now. "Right now, it's quite turbulent in that area. Four days ago, we had a clear shot at the debris. Now it's much less so and that's why we're dumping buoys in the area to measure the atmospheric conditions and the drift of the ocean currents. ... The window of opportunity is closing very soon."

  • Amanda Cochran

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