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NASA to Announce AI's Role in Finding new Planets--Live Stream Here Today

Vadim Sadovski |

Vadim Sadovski |

NASA will be holding a conference about a mysterious “discovery beyond our solar system” made by Google AI.

*Update* Google AI machine learning discovered an 8th planetary body, Kepler-90i in the Kepler-90 system, which makes it the only other system discovered with as many planets as our own Solar System.

The Kepler mission, since 2009, has discovered 4,496 candidate exoplanets, among which 2,337 have been confirmed with further investigation to be exoplanets.

Then, after four years of continuously surveying stars and planetary systems, the Kepler spacecraft and telescope was brought to a halt after losing the second of its four reaction wheels.

The mission didn’t stop though, as the new K2 mission officially started in May 2014 to expand upon Kepler’s findings. Since then it has detected hundreds (515) of other candidate exoplanets out of which 178 have been confirmed.

The latest exoplanet discovery made thanks to Google AI. Click To Tweet

K2’s latest discoveries are not the result of a new observation, but rather a new analysis of the mountain of data already collected by the telescope during its first four years of operation.

This suggests that other potential exoplanets are waiting to be revealed just by digging further into Kepler’s terabytes of data.

Now, NASA has gone a step further by recruiting Google’s AI to sift through the data and the results seem to be very promising as yet another discovery is to be announced soon.

NASA to Reveal the Latest Discovery Using Exoplanet-Hunting AI

NASA is preparing to hold a teleconference following the latest exoplanet discovery made by the Kepler space telescope, in collaboration with Google’s AI.

The event will take place on Thursday, December 14, at 1 p.m. EST, and will be streamed live on the NASA website.

Live Stream NASA’s Kepler/Google AI announcement here. Follow this link at 3 p.m. EST to join a Reddit AMA with NASA.

Around the web, different outlets reported the story using words like “major” or “breakthrough” discovery, but we don’t want to jump to any rash conclusions, and we’ll have to wait for the press conference.

In the press release, NASA said about the “latest” Kepler discovery:

“The discovery was made by researchers using machine learning from Google. Machine learning is an approach to artificial intelligence, and demonstrates new ways of analyzing Kepler data.”

Judging by that, and the fact that the conference will be animated by four participants (three from NASA and one from Google AI), it’s probable that the discussion will revolve around the use of machine learning to analyze Kepler data.

There’s a new exoplanet, sure, but the “breakthrough” might be more about the way it’s been discovered, not the discovery per se. But, we may be wrong, and Kepler has detected a cool finding.

Last February, NASA made a similar announcement prior to holding a conference where it revealed Trappist 1, a single star with seven rocky Earth-sized planets.

Be sure to stay tuned as we’ll keep up with this story to bring you any new updates as they become available.

What do you think AI found in the Kepler data?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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