NASA will be holding a ‘major press conference’ at 1 p.m. EST Thursday, Dec. 14.
According to reports from NASA’s website, the discovery is set to announce the latest finding made by the planet-hunting Kepler Space Telescope, in collaboration with Google’s innovative Artificial Intelligence.
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has observed a staggering 150,000 stars and continues offering astronomers with unprecedented information about a wide range of celestial objects in the universe.
The Kepler Space Telescope has been an extremely ‘important tool’ used by astronomers who have identified more than 2,5000 planets, with around 2,000 more planets waiting to be analyzed.
According to NASA, the new discovery “was made by researchers using machine learning from Google. Machine learning is an approach to artificial intelligence, and demonstrates new ways of analyzing Kepler data.”
The briefing participants are:
- 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
The Kepler Space Telescope manages to discover distant alien worlds by observing tiny diminutions of brightness caused when a planet crosses their host star from the perspective of the spacecraft.
In a similar ‘major press conference’ last year, NASA announced the incredible discovery of nine planets in orbit around the star TRAPPIST-1, some of which are believed to support life as we know it.
Despite the fact that NASA has been cagey with details surrounding what they have discovered, many researchers believe the discovery will be focused around exoplanets.
The Kepler space telescope completed its main mission in 2012. In 2014, the spacecraft received a mission upgrade called K2, through which the space telescope continues exploring the cosmos in search for alien planets and other curious cosmic phenomena.
Astronomers note how important Kepler has been in our understanding of the universe.
Prior to Kepler’s launch in 2009, astronomers were unaware of the number of planets beyond our solar system.
Kepler’s data has helped experts get an idea of the number of exoplanets in the universe, and astronomers now believe there could be at least ONE planet orbiting every star in the sky.
Teleconference audio and visuals will stream live at https://www.nasa.gov/live
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