Scientists 'Googled' data from NASA's Kepler space telescope to discover new planet

Fox News | 12/14/2017 | Staff
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Data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope has been crunched using Artificial Intelligence, helping scientists discover a new planet outside our solar system.

Experts harnessed machine learning technology from Google to spot Kepler-90i, a hot, rocky planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star 2,545 light years from Earth. A light year, which measures distance in space, equals 6 trillion miles.


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Surface - Kepler-90i - Degrees - Fahrenheit - Life

The surface of Kepler-90i is 800 degrees Fahrenheit, making it unlikely that life as we know it could exist there, according to NASA.

By using AI, computers learned to identify planets by trawling Kepler data for instances where the telescope recorded signals from exoplanets far beyond our solar system.

Discovery - System - Number - Planets - Star

The discovery means that our solar system is now tied for most number of planets around a single star, according to NASA.

“We used machine learning to identify planets that were missed by previous searches of Kepler data,” explained Christopher Shallue, senior software engineer at Google AI, during a press conference Thursday. “They key idea is to let the computer learn by example.”

Kepler - Mission - Data - Scientists

“The Kepler mission had collected so much data that it was impossible for scientists to examine it manually,” he added.

Shallue worked with Andrew Vanderburg, an astronomer and NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Texas, Austin, to make the stunning discovery. “For the first time since our solar system planets were discovered thousands of years ago, we know for sure that our solar system is not the sole record holder for the most planets,” Vanderburg said, in a statement.

Experts - Dataset - Kepler - Signals

The experts studied a four-year dataset from Kepler consisting of 35,000 possible planetary signals.

The AI used what is known as a neural network, which is loosely inspired by the structure of the human brain, to trawl the vast trove of...
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