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Artificial Intelligence Can Now Be Put To Use For Planet-hunting Missions

The University of Texas astronomers along with Google are working on putting artificial intelligence (AI) to use and uncover two more unknown planets in the Kepler space telescope records. The things that the traditional techniques could not find can now be explored by the current new technology.  K2 which is one of Kepler’s extended missions has helped hunt down the two planets. The team led Anne Dattilo has an algorithm developed with the capability of moving through the complete data captured by Kepler so as to rummage the signals missed out by traditional planet-hunting methods. The basic plan is to find all the missed planets hidden in Kepler data.

The NASA Sagan member Andrew Vanderburg and Google engineer Christopher Shallue had for the first time in 2017 made use of AI to find a planet orbiting a Kepler star that is known to anchor. This discovery has helped locate another system similar to our Solar System. The new algorithm helps spot the difference in data captured at the time of Kepler’s extended mission, K2, and one collected during the actual mission of the spacecraft. The continuous movement of the spacecraft makes K2 data analysis more difficult. The difference was spotted after a mechanical breakdown. This had left the spacecraft with a wobble as the completion of the task was important, thus AI had to take it into consideration.

There have been thousands of planets already found by the Kepler and K2 missions around other stars. Thus, the use of AI is to help ease the search through the uniformly set data. The size and noises around make the finding difficult and this is where the AI comes into play and corrects the ones we have missed out. The two planets spotted by the team are similar to the ones found in K2. The planets are close to its host star, hot, larger than Earth, and also have short orbital periods. K2-293b is one of them found in the constellation Aquarius orbiting a star 1,300 light-years away and the other one is K2-294b located in the same constellation orbiting a star 1,230 light-years away. For further confirmation, the Smithsonian Institution’s Whipple Observatory and the Gillett Telescope at Gemini Observatory were used. The AI concept can help probe the complete K2 data set consisting of about 300,000 stars in the future. It can be useful for TESS, Kepler’s successor planet-hunting mission, as well that ended last year.

Andrew Conover

Andrew Conover has done Masters in Atmospheric Sciences and manages the science domain at our publication. He is associated with us from last 2 Years. Andrew looks after science-related content and believes every new project is a prospect to raise the bar. His success mantra is taking a big concept and working on it with laser sharp focus. He is very clear with his workflow and believes in helping others with his valuable opinions and knowledge regarding space science. Outside of work, Andrew is a proud dad and plays football in leisure time. He also keeps tabs on all the Science-related events around and makes it a point to attend it and share his experience about it.

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