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Science AMA Series: We’re planet hunters from NASA, Google AI, and The University of Texas, Austin. Ask us anything!
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Ask us about NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope’s latest discovery, which was made using machine learning from Google. Machine learning is an approach to artificial intelligence, and demonstrates new ways of analyzing Kepler data. Please post your questions here. We’ll be online from 12:00-1:30 pm PT (3:00-4:30 pm ET, 20:00-21:30 UTC), and will sign our answers. Ask us anything! Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington Christopher Shallue, senior software engineer at Google AI in Mountain View, California Andrew Vanderburg, astronomer and NASA Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Texas, Austin Jessie Dotson, Kepler project scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley Kartik Sheth, program scientist, Astrophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington UPDATE (10:44 am PT): Today, December 14, 2017, researchers announced our solar system now is tied for most number of planets around a single star, with the recent discovery of an eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star 2,545 light years from Earth. The planet was discovered in data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope. For more info about the discovery, visit https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/artificial-intelligence-and-nasa-data-used-to-discover-eighth-planet-circling-distant The newly-discovered Kepler-90i –a sizzling hot, rocky planet that orbits its star once every 14.4 days – was found using machine learning from Google. Machine learning is an approach to artificial intelligence in which computers “learn.” In this case, computers learned to identify planets by finding in Kepler data instances where the telescope recorded signals from planets beyond our solar system, known as exoplanets. The discovery came about after researchers Andrew Vanderburg and Christopher Shallue trained a computer to learn how to identify exoplanets in the light readings recorded by Kepler – the miniscule change in brightness captured when a planet passed in front of, or transited, a star. Inspired by the way neurons connect in the human brain, this artificial “neural network” sifted through Kepler data and found weak transit signals from a previously-missed eighth planet orbiting Kepler-90, in the constellation Draco. We’ll be back to answer your questions at 12 pm PT. Ask us anything! UPDATE (1:40 pm PT): That’s all the time we have for today. Thanks for joining us. To learn more about NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft, visit www.nasa.gov/kepler. Follow us on social media at https://twitter.com/nasakepler and https://www.facebook.com/NASAsKeplerMission/. Proof: https://twitter.com/NASAKepler/status/941406190046552065