In a short time the black box belonging to Flight MH370 will run out of battery life. That is, if the black boxes on the plane haven't lost power already.
Time is not on the side of the international joint search effort hoping to find the lost airplane.
On Tuesday, it will have been a full month since the Malaysia Airlines flight went missing. It will also mark the anticipated end of the battery life of the black box equipment on the plane.
Experts say it is possible for black boxes to send out signals for up to several days beyond this time limit.
The race is on to confirm possible signals from the jetliner before it's too late.
Three pings have already been detected nearly 1,000 miles off the coast of Perth, Australia.
Angus Houston, who is at the head of a joint agency coordinating the search, considers the latest ping a promising lead.
He said, "In the search so far, it's probably the best information that we have had."
Despite the renewed optimism and interest in the case, Houston warns that confirmation will likely not come overnight. It may be days before it is known if those pings belong to the missing jetliner.
Im cautious but optimistic about the latest lead in finding #Flight370. Prayers for all that have been affected by this horrible tragedy
— Hanney Musawa (@hanneymusawa) April 7, 2014
Hoping and praying this pinging is coming from #Flight370 bc I don't think these families can take one more false lead.
— Tracie Potts (@nbctracie) April 7, 2014
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) April 7, 2014
Malaysian defence minister Hishammudin Hussein echoed the tone of "cautious optimism" as news is released regarding this latest search effort.
He also said that "miracles do happen" and that they will "continue to pray for survivors". Though it's highly unlikely at this stage that survivors will be found.
As for the pings, there were three confirmed signals: The first two lasted two and a half hours and the third a mere thirteen minutes.
It is now a matter of finding a signal again and sending down an underwater vehicle to investigate. Since the water in this part of the ocean is so deep, such items will be operating at their capacity limit.
It is expected that even if an object is located, the act of confirming whether or not it's the missing flight will begin a new and difficult phase of the search process.
Image via YouTube