Artificial Intelligence Discovered Two New Planets

The two new planets are found near the constellation Aquarius.

Two new planets have been recently discovered using artificial intelligence.
Image from John Smith / Flickr

The vastness of the universe is unfathomable. Humans have come just as far in terms of understanding the universe even with the smartest minds combined. It is so vast that humans have only explored an area comparable to a glass of sand on a beach. But humans don’t falter; scientists, astronomers, and researchers from different organizations and academia have dedicated their lives in the continuous discovery of the mystery that the universe holds.

It is through the hard work of these people that we, humans, have discoveries now and then. But it seems like astronomers have found an unlikely ally with technology. As technology progressed and innovations grow, scientists have new and exciting tools that help them in studying the space and its elements.


One of these tools is artificial intelligence (AI) that analyzes patterns, trends, and other forms of data to learn from them. Recently, a soon-to-be-published study has revealed the discovery of two new plants through the help of artificial intelligence by analyzing the data of the retired mission vehicle, Kepler. The article will soon be published in The Astronomical Journal and would lay down further details to the discovery of the two new planets using an algorithm and deep learning.

The technology used on the astronomical breakthrough was designed by Anne Dattilo and can be used to detect signals that are omitted or missed by traditional methods to detect planets. The artificial intelligence allowed the data collected during Kepler’s extended K2 mission as it differed considerably from those obtained during the initial spacecraft mission. Kepler also constantly oscillated.

Aside from Dattilo, who designed the system, other team members include NASA Sagan member at Austin University, Andrew Vanderburg, and Google engineer Christopher Shallue. Vanderburg explained how the said algorithm and other artificial intelligence systems would play an essential role in studying the universe and the search for Earth-like planets shortly.

“If we want to know the total number of extrasolar planets, we need to know the number of planets we have discovered, but also the number of planets that have escaped our detection. That’s where AI comes in,” he explains.

“Artificial intelligence will help us to analyze the data in a uniform way, even if each star was surrounded by a planet the size of the Earth, we will not find them all when we look with Kepler. We know there are many planets that we don’t see for these reasons.”

Dubbed as K2-293b and K2-294b, the two new planets were discovered to be located in the constellation of Aquarius. The researchers revealed that they gravitate around a star located respectively 1300 and 1230 light-years from our solar system. Datillo suggests that the two newly discovered planets are “typical of the planets found at K2″ and are located near their stars.

“They are located very close to their stars, have short orbital periods, and are hot. They are also a little larger than the Earth. “

Planets are also not the ones that have been recently discovered through the help of previously collected data and technology. Last week, researchers suggested that they may have found lichen-like microorganisms in Mars using photograph analysis.

The researchers argue that a fungus-like ‘growth’ found on Mars is indicative of a microbial life that could have been existing in the planet. The paper cites their observations of the photos taken by the retired Opportunity Rover.


According to the co-author of the paper, Dr. Regina Dass of the Department of Microbiology, School of Life Sciences in India, the suspected microorganism has spores on the surrounding surface. “There are no geological or other abiogenic forces on Earth which can produce sedimentary structures, by the hundreds, which have mushroom shapes, stems, stalks, and shed what looks like spores on the surrounding surface,” she said.

Nonetheless, the findings of the researchers are inconclusive. Meaning, there is not enough evidence to support the claims that what has been observing is a life form and there is also not enough evidence to prove the contrary. The paper disclaims that similarities in morphology are not proof of life existence. They said that their evidence is circumstantial and not rise to the level of “extraordinary evidence” thus precluding “extraordinary claims.” Although collectively, the evidence, in total, weighs in favor of biology, we can only conclude that the question of life on Mars remains unanswered,” the researchers said.


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