NASA is set to make a ‘major announcement’ regarding a breakthrough in its alien-planet-hunting project this evening.
The space agency will be holding a press conference today at 6pm GMT to reveal a new discovery.
What we do know so far is the discovery has been made by the Kepler telescope and more than likely it will concern the latest catalogue of exoplanets.
These are Earth-sized worlds which orbit their own stars, they could also be our best chance at discovering extraterrestrial life on other planets.
The announcement on the NASA website reads:
NASA hosts a media teleconference to announce the latest discovery made by its planet-hunting Kepler space telescope.
The discovery was made by researchers using machine learning from Google. Machine learning is an approach to artificial intelligence, and demonstrates new ways of analysing Kepler data.
NASA’s Kepler space telescope was built to discover other planets similar to Earth which could potentially sustain life, and now it has made a discovery so significant it looks like they’ve got something exciting to share.
The Kepler telescope – named after astronomer Johannes Kepler – was launched on March 7, 2009 – at the time scientists were unsure how many exoplanets existed.
Since becoming an integral part of the process of discovering other planets similar to Earth, it has shown they share many things in common ‘indicating that each star might have its own planet’.
Tweeting from the NASA Kepler and K2 account, they wrote:
Ask us about our planet-hunting @NASAKepler mission’s latest discovery, which was made by researchers using machine learning from @Google, during a @reddit AMA tomorrow at 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET.
Ask us about our planet-hunting @NASAKepler mission’s latest discovery, which was made by researchers using machine learning from @Google, during a @reddit AMA tomorrow at 12 pm PT / 3 pm ET: https://t.co/YgaQ764DTI pic.twitter.com/UYCchW7h9p
— NASA Kepler and K2 (@NASAKepler) December 13, 2017
It completed its main mission back in 2012, however the Kepler telescope is still collecting data. In 2014 it began a new mission, dubbed ‘K2’, to search for more exoplanets and analyse other cosmic mysteries.
Due to the sheer amount of data being transmitted through the telescope scientists on the ground are having trouble keeping up, which is why they’ve introduced Google’s AI program to help with the task at hand.
Kepler’s mission has already led to several major discoveries, like finding other planets in the universe which could support human life, which is what’s expected to be announced later.
In February NASA held a major press conference where they claimed to have discovered the ‘holy grail’ of all solar systems. They believed they discovered a solar system filled with planets similar to our own.
Additionally, they said that three of the seven planets were the ‘holy grail for planet-hunting astronomers’ as they sit within a climate which could, theoretically, allow for alien life to grow.
Speaking to The Independent at the time of the discovery, Astronomer Dr Chris Copperwheat, from Liverpool’s John Moores University, who was part of the international team, claimed:
The discovery of multiple rocky planets with surface temperatures which allow for liquid water make this amazing system an exciting future target in the search for life.
Check back on UNILAD later. More to follow…