NASA and Google, using advanced artificial intelligence or AI, have discovered two new planets in a remote solar system.
Planets outside the solar system or newly discovered exoplanets were found after researchers applied the same AI techniques that help computers recognize images from data collected from the Kepler space telescope.
Jessie Dotson, a Kepler research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, during a news conference said NASA launched Kepler in 2009 to discover new planets that orbitalize other stars. Prior to 2009, NASA recognized only 326 exoplanets, but Kepler helped the agency to discover 2,500 more.
The similarity to our Solar System.
Speaking of the two new planets, NASA focused less on Kepler-80g and more on Kepler-90. It was found to be the eighth planet that orbits the only star in its solar system. This indicates that this solar system somewhat reflects our solar system, in which eight planets orbits a sun.
To detect exoplanets, astronomers need to combine data collected by Kepler and identify “signals” that can indicate potential planets. Although researchers currently have software that helps capture “strong signals” so people can investigate. But, there are also many “weak signals” that are not followed.
Through a partnership with Google, NASA applied so-called nerve networks to assist in analyzing Kepler data.
Christopher Shallue, a senior Google AI software engineer, explains that nerve networks are essentially a software designed to imitate the way the human brain learns.
Researchers used the nerve network to analyze Kepler’s image data of 670 stars, and the nervous network later showed that two “weak signals” were likely to be planets.
“Although the signals were weak, the model was convinced,” Shallue said. Using more traditional methods, NASA said it was able to verify that nervous network choices were really exoplanets.
Despite the remarkable use of artificial intelligence to accelerate the planet’s discovery process, humans are still needed, the researchers explained.
Some anomalies that nerve networks may not have recognized, in fact, turn out to be planets.
Shallue said Google plans to release for free for the public the software used in this project.