NASA announces the discovery of a new solar system like ours


A comparison of the distance of Kepler-90 planets to their star and our sun. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Wendy Stenzel)

For the first time in history, humans have now discovered a solar system with as many planets as our own, the expert astronomers revealed.

NASA’s Kepler space telescope discovered an eighth planet in a distant star system known as Kepler-90, which was made possible with help from Google’s advanced AI machine learning system.

Artist’s impression of the eighth planet. Kepler 90-i is likely rocky, and doesn’t have a thick atmosphere, according to experts. Temperatures on the surface are ‘scorching,’ at around 800 degrees F or 426 C

AI is becoming more and more advanced each day with machine learning, which in this case allowed it to spot the difference between patterns associated with planets, and other types of patterns in the universe that could be false positives.

“After showing our model 15,000 signals, the neural network learned how to distinguish patterns from actual planets from patterns that are caused by other objects,” said Christopher Shallue, senior software engineer at Google AI in Mountain View, California.

A comparison of the distance of Kepler-90 planets to their star and our sun. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Wendy Stenzel)

“Just as we expected, there are exciting discoveries lurking in our archived Kepler data, waiting for the right tool or technology to unearth them,” said Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s Astrophysics Division in Washington. “This finding shows that our data will be a treasure trove available to innovative researchers for years to come.”

The family of eight exo-planets — planets that orbit a star that isn’t our sun — orbit the Kepler-90 star, which looks similar to our sun, and is over 2500 light years from Earth.

Artist’s impression of the planet’s surface (NASA)

“The Kepler-90 star system is like a mini version of our solar system,” said NASA’s Andrew Vanderburg, an astronomer at the University of Texas. “You have small planets inside and big planets outside, but everything is scrunched in much closer.

“These results demonstrate the enduring value of Kepler’s mission,” said Jessie Dotson, Kepler’s project scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “New ways of looking at the data – such as this early-stage research to apply machine learning algorithms – promises to continue to yield significant advances in our understanding of planetary systems around other stars. I’m sure there are more firsts in the data waiting for people to find them.”

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Obaid Haroon

Obaid is a perpetual reader, writer, martial artist, medieval weapon enthusiast, and occasional engineer. He contains multitudes.

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