AirAsia plane
AirAsia planeReuters

Search and rescue teams have detected pings from the black boxes of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 on Friday - a major step in discovering what caused the plane to crash last month over the Java Sea with 162 people on board.

An Indonesian research ship had picked up the pings while sailing through the Java Sea on Thursday afternoon according to the New York Times, and stated that they may have uncovered the location of both boxes. 

"Black boxes" are the crucial components of any commercial aircraft which record the plane's movements and technical settings at any given time in the Flight Data Recorder, as well as audio from the cockpit in the Cockpit Voice Recorder.

This sensory and audio data is crucial in any air crash investigation, and often reveals the true causes of any air mishap. 

The flight left Juanda International Airport (JIA) on December 28, 2014 a few minutes after its regularly scheduled flight time of 5:35 a.m. local time and was due to arrive in Singapore three hours later, at 8:30 a.m.  

The aircraft lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control while flying over Pulau Belitung at 7:24 a.m. local time - 42 minutes after departure and an hour before it was scheduled to land. The plane appeared to have crashed due to inclement weather, authorities said, based on recordings between the pilot and Air Traffic Control. 

This is the second major break in the case this week, after authorities announced Wednesday that they had found the tail section of the plane, an Airbus A320-200. The tail is where the black boxes are also housed.

Indonesian search and rescue divers are resuming attempts Friday to lift the tail section out of 100 feet of water, after their attempts were stymied Thursday by poor weather conditions. 

Bodies and debris from the plane were uncovered by the divers last week.