NASA Uses Google Machine Learning AI to Find New Planet in Distant System


NASA LOGO Blue MeatballWashington, D.C., US, December 14 — Staff from NASA’s Ames Research Center, in Silicon Valley, have trained Google’s machine learning AI to spot even faint signals of small planets in space. This is how they now spotted Kepler-90i, described by NASA as “a sizzling hot, rocky planet that orbits its star once every 14.4 days”.

Brace yourself guys, this is huge. As much as we underestimated artificial intelligence, new exciting things are coming with a little help from these smart systems. And, most likely the future is now.

The Ames Research Center team is leveraging Google ML (machine learning) tech and discovered that our solar system is not what we thought it is. Scientists have found an eighth planet circling the sun-like star Kepler-90, only 2,545 light-years away.

Shortly it means that our solar system and Kepler-90 are now tied for the most number of known planets within a star system. Check out the video below to see exactly how solar systems work.

How did they find Kepler-90i?

There is a machine learning technology, invented by Google, which has possibilities to spot patterns in large datasets.

All datasets were collected by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, that works as a planet hunter. That planet hunter spots the planet’s slight dips in a star’s light that happen when a planet passes in front of its star from Earth’s perspective. It is a movement called a transit.


Transits are artificial intelligence program goals. Astronomer Andrew Vanderburg and Google’s Christopher Shallue, share with the media that they trained the programmes by first showing it how to pick out transits from 15,000 signals they already knew.

Then, they passed to program looking for the data from other 670 star systems with planets. Hoping to find something interesting, that’s how they found Kepler-90i. “We got lots of false positives of planets, but also potentially more real planets,” Vanderburg said in a statement. “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.”

Scientists also found another planet, Kepler-80g, circling a star with five other planets orbiting it. Although it looks like a planet, Kepler-90i it not entirely like the Earth. This planet is made of rock and incredible heat, and the temperature is 800 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is more exciting, Kepler has observed 150,000 stars and already discovered more than 4,000 candidate planets. But Kepler scientists have been even more successful. They announced the discovery of 219 more candidate planets, and few of them are also Earth-like.

YouTube: Artificial Intelligence and NASA Data Used to Discover Eighth Planet Circling Distant Star

Photo credit: NASA
Source: Quotes and data come from a public NASA press release.
Editorial notice: The feature image represents an artist impression of Earth and Kepler-452b. The chart below compares only the size of the planets and not their distance to each other.

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Natasha Saru
Natasha Saru
If you are reading this, you are probably a news addict such as I. Thumbs up! Journalism is my passion and writing the news that matter is my mission. While I’m chasing the breaking stories, in between I’m a foodie and dedicated movie fan.
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