"... replica plane parts having been set adrift.."
I'd expect 'drifting on ocean currents' to be an example of a Chaotic system. If so, then you could drop two identical items into the ocean only a meter (or seconds if moving) apart, and those two items would end up very widely separated.
It's called 'Sensitive Dependence on Initial Conditions'.
I highly recommend James Gleick's book 'Chaos - the making of a new science'. The concepts are 'life changing' if you're unaware of the real world implications of this very subtle topic. Literally, the real world makes more sense after reading the book.
Presumably the boffins working on this already know this, and will apply the correct analysis to draw out the correct conclusions.