The Kepler-90 system is similar to our own with 8 planets, but is not suspected of harboring any life.
Shallue, a senior researcher with Google AI, became excited about the prospects for machine learning in space exploration when he realised just how much data Kepler had gathered over the past four years.
After learning that NASA's Kepler Space Telescope had collected a large dataset on exoplanets-planets that orbit a star outside of our solar system-Shallue started thinking of ways in which artificial intelligence could be used to make sense of all that data. All the eight known planets have a closer orbit to their host star than the Earth has to the sun, taking 365 days to complete one full round. By leveraging the growing sophistication of neural networks, NASA researchers are hopeful that their new high-tech partner will further increase the rate at which they discover new worlds and solar systems like our own.
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It means that life as we know it has no chance of existing, with the planet's average surface temperature believed to exceed 800F (426C).
The small rocky planets in the planetary system are located nearer to its sun just like Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are closer to the sun.
"Kepler has already shown us that most stars have planets", NASA's Director of Astrophysics Divisions, Paul Hertz said. "Machine learning really shines in situations where there is so much data that humans can't search it for themselves".
This kind of monitoring had previously been done by using automated tests or the human eye but, as Shallue explained, the new method was able to capture some of the weakest signals that had been previously missed. It focuses on weak planetary signals - so feeble and numerous it would take humans ages to examine.
"We got lots of false positives of planets but also potentially more real planets", Vanderburg said. He also compared the finding of exoplanets to sifting through rocks with a fine sieve to find jewels. This one, the Earth-sized Kepler-80g, and four of its neighbouring planets form what is called a resonant chain - where planets are locked by their mutual gravity in a rhythmic orbital dance. The result is an extremely stable system, similar to the seven planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system, so precisely balanced that the length of Kepler-80g's year could be predicted with mathematics.