22-year-old student discovers two planets using artificial intelligence
- Apr 10, 2019
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A team led by Anner Dattilo at the University of Texas at Austin created an AI algorithm to filter data from the Kepler telescope
Discovering new planets is not an easy task, especially since there is still a lot of space to be unraveled. Today, NASA's space telescopes and other scientific bodies are already gathering a giant amount of data, which will take years to analyze. However, Anne Dattilo, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, decided to optimize the work, and with the help of Artificial Intelligence (IA) to study data from the Kepler (NASA) space telescope, she found two new exoplanets.
The 22-year-old girl led researchers who designed a computer algorithm that could detect the faint clues of planets orbiting stars using the Kepler telescope. The latter eventually developed mechanical problems, and while collecting data during a mission (K2), traditional planets detection algorithms simply did not work due to sensor movement.
Thus, an especially designed AI was required to account for this movement and effectively cancel it, allowing the computer to identify the falls in brightness associated with a planet passing in front of a distant star. The two planets Dattilo's team found are "both very typical of the planets found in K2," she said. "They are very close to their host star, have short orbital periods and are hot. They are slightly larger than the Earth. "
Now, the new AI algorithm should continue to help astronomers find many other planets lost and hidden in Kepler and other data sets. The two new discovered planets are called K2-293b and K2-294b and are about 1,300 light-years from Earth. Now they can be added to Kepler's legacy, which detected more than 2,500 planets during his multiple observation missions.