NASA Discovers New 'Super-Earth' Planet 2545 Light-Years Away From Us

NASA Discovers New 'Super-Earth' Planet 2545 Light-Years Away From Us

The latest discovery in NASA's Kepler Space Telescope mission shed light onto alien planets in the deepest, darkest corners of space. The newly discovered planet brings the total in the Kepler-80 family to six, five of which are locked into resonant orbits.

"The Kepler-90 star system is like a mini version of our solar system".

"You have small planets inside and big planets outside, but everything is scrunched in much closer".

The research by Google and the University of Texas at Austin that used data from NASA raised the prospects of new insights into the universe by feeding data into computer programs that can churn through information faster and more in-depth than humanly possibly, a technique known as machine learning.

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"Just as we assumed, exciting findings are hiding in our archived Kepler data, waiting for the right tool or technology to uncover them", stated Paul Hertz, director of NASA's Astrophysics Division in Washington.

"In my spare time, I started Googling for "finding exoplanets with large data sets" and found out about the Kepler mission and the huge data set available", he said.

This kind of monitoring had previously been done by using automated tests or the human eye but, as Shallue explained, the new method was able to capture some of the weakest signals that had been previously missed.

While machine learning has earlier been used in searches of the Kepler database, this research shows that neural networks are a promising tool for determining some of the weakest signals of faraway worlds.

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But NASA's leading scientists unfortunately dashed all hopes of finding life in the Kepler system, underlining it is simply too hostile. Its average surface temperature goes beyond 800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is on par with the first planet in our solar system. One light-year equals about 9.5 trillion kilometers (5.8 trillion miles.) The rocky planet is much close to the Kepler-90 star than earth is to our sun and orbits it once every 14.4 days.

In the dataset compiled by Kepler over its four-year missio, n 35,000 possible planetary signals were identified. Once it had "learned" to detect known exoplanet patterns the scientist unleashed it on a series of weaker signals from systems known to already contain planets.

"It would nearly be surprising to me if there weren't any more planets in around that star". Kepler-90i was not the only jewel this neural network sifted out.

With some success demonstrated, Vanderburg and Shallue intend to feed the rest of Kepler's data into the system to see what else they can find.

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While machine learning has been applied before to the Kepler telescope's data, it is believed to be the first time that the technology has unearthed a new world. The result is an incredibly stable system, comparable to the seven planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation operates the flight system with support from the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

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