Looking for People and Answers
As wonderful an advance as this NASA system is, it would not have helped us find Joe because Joe did not have a personal locator beacon -- I highly recommend that all you travelers invest in one of these babies. It may save your life and your family a lifetime of heartache and frustration.
In the meantime, NASA (or someone) needs to come up with a visual system that does not rely on a beacon signal. High-altitude, high-resolution photography is the way to go in search and rescue, it is the best-kept secret of the SAR world. If you'd like to know more about this, contact Chris Rowley, who runs Volunteer Image Analysts for Search and Rescue (VIASAR). If you're missing a person at sea or on land, high-alt, high-res photography should be a central and immediate part of your operation. Demand it from the powers that be. I can almost guarantee they've never heard of it.