Google AI helps NASA discover solar system like ours

The data came from the Kepler telescope which Nasa launched into space in 2009 as part of a planet-finding mission that is expected to end next year as the spacecraft runs out of fuel

The data came from the Kepler telescope which Nasa launched into space in 2009 as part of a planet-finding mission that is expected to end next year as the spacecraft runs out of fuel

An eighth planet has been discovered orbiting a star 2,545 light-years from Earth, NASA announced Thursday. The researchers used the artificial intelligence from Google to analyse the data from Kepler- a telescope placed in space.

The discovery also establishes an important role for neural networks and other machine-learning techniques in the hunt for planets outside our own solar neighborhood.

"Kepler 90i is a G0 star a bit lighter than our Sun", said Vanderburg. The exoplanet revolves around its star once every 14.4 days.

This new planet, called Kepler-80g, is roughly the size of Earth and part of a six-planet system around a sun that's cooler than our own. It also discovered a sixth, Earth-sized planet in the Kepler-80 system. "Today Kepler confirms that stars can have large families of planets just like our solar system". "You have small planets inside and big planets outside, but everything is scrunched in much closer", said Andrew Vanderburg, NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow and astronomer at the University of Texas at Austin.

A record-tying eighth planet has been found in a faraway solar system, matching our own in number.

The Kepler Space Telescope has helped NASA discovered thousands of different exoplanets including seven planets in Kepler-90's orbit. "New ways of looking at the data - such as this early-stage research to apply machine learning algorithms - promises to continue to yield significant advances in our understanding of planetary systems around other stars". What's game changing besides our solar system slipping from its unique place, is the ability to use machine learning to detect previously unrecognized exoplanets. After four years it had collected a large dataset containing 35,000 possible planet candidates.

The team used the neural network to look at 15,000 signals that had been previously confirmed as either a planet or a false positive, and the network learned how to distinguish real planets from false signals.

"This is a really exciting discovery, and we consider it to be a successful proof of concept to be using neural networks to identify planets, even in challenging situations where the signals are very weak", said Christopher Shallue, senior software engineer at Google in Mountain View, California. "It's the smallest of the eight planets, and we think it's rocky and the surface is scorching hot".

Why is exoplanet Kepler-90i more in the discussion? In the statement, the agency says that with the help of advanced computer analysis they have identified two new planets around distant stars.

Astronomers have already confirmed the existence of some 2,500 far-away worlds using Kepler data.

A subset of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning is about automating repetitive tasks, essentially training a computer to recognize patterns and categorize data. Their A.I. utilizes artificial "neural networks" modeled after our brain, albeit a far simpler version.

Transits are the dimming of light when planets pass in front of a star.

And while that search was cut short, this AI-based method could allow researchers to go back into the data and fulfill that goal, said Seager, the deputy science director for NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, set to launch next year.

"It would nearly be surprising to me if there weren't any more planets in around that star".

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