NASA uses Google AI tech to find new ‘sizzling hot, rocky planet’
NASA has announced artificial intelligence technology developed by Google allowed them to discover another planet in alien system Kepler-90.
The newly discovered Kepler-90i is the eighth planet in the distant system located more than 2,500 light years away from earth, according to Inverse.
“By applying advanced technology called neural network, for the first time, we’ve discovered an eighth planet in a distant planetary system,” Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division director at NASA’s Washington headquarters, said.
“The discovery ties Kepler-90 with our own solar system for having the most known planets.”
Experts relied on an artificial intelligence program developed by Google to analyze data from the Kepler telescope — currently in space with the mission of uncovering unknown planets — to make the discovery.
“Kepler was the first telescope on the ground or in space capable of detecting planets orbiting Sun-like stars,” Hertz said.
The Kepler-90 planets have a similar configuration to our solar system with small planets found orbiting close to their star, and the larger planets found farther away.
(NASA/Ames Research Center/Wendy Stenzel)
Austin astronomer Andrew Vanderburg, who was credited with the discovery along with Google’s Christopher Shallue, noted it’s the first time “we know for sure that our solar system is not the sole record holder for the most planets.”
He added the Kepler system isn’t all that different from ours, though it is significantly smaller in that it’s “scrunched in much closer.”
The first seven planets in Kepler-90 were identified in 2013, but the signal from the eighth planet was so weak it was missed by earlier methods.
“We got lots of false positives of planets but also potentially more real planets,” Vanderburg said. “It’s like sifting through rocks to find jewels. If you have a finer sieve, then you will catch more rocks, but you might catch more jewels as well.”