NASA Used Google AI to Mine Kepler Telescope Data and Found Two New Planets

Software engineers and astronomers collaborated to look at data from the Kepler space telescope and discovered worlds orbiting distant stars that human eyes have so far missed.

Published On 12/14/2017
11:49 PM EST
Animation: Distant Exoplanet Transiting Its Star | Google
Kepler-90 is a Sun-like star, but all of its eight planets are scrunched into the equivalent distance of Earth to the Sun. The inner planets have extremely tight orbits with a “year” on Kepler-90i lasting only 14.4 days. In comparison, Mercury’s orbit is 88 days. Consequently, Kepler-90i has an average surface temperature of 800 degrees Fahrenheit, and is not a likely place for life as we know it. The structure of the Kepler-90’s system hints that the eight planets around Kepler-90 may have formed more spread out, like the planets in our own solar system, and then somehow migrated to the orbits we see them in today. | NASA/Ames Research Center/Wendy Stenzel
The Kepler space telescope has produced more than 30,000 signals of possible planets circling distant stars. Researchers taught a computer to “learn” how to identify the weak signals of a planet crossing its star using a neural network. A search for new worlds around 670 known multiple-planet systems using this machine-learning technique yielded not one, but two discoveries: Kepler-90i and Kepler-80g. | NASA