The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH370 was dramatically narrowed last week due to a mathematical analysis of satellite signals from the plane. Contact was lost with the plane’s main communication system just after 1am Malaysian time on Saturday 8 March. However, the system automatically responded to regular hourly signals from the satellite network for a further seven hours. After careful analysis of this handful of data points, the search now focuses on an area in the southern Indian Ocean, off the coast of Western Australia.

The analysis was done by Inmarsat, a satellite communications company based in London that was originally established by the International Maritime Organisation in 1979 to enable ships to to call for help in an emergency, no matter how far they were out to sea. The company now provides satellite communications in many different situations including aviation – it’s thanks to them that you are able to make calls and use the internet when flying thousands of metres above the ocean.