NASA has discovered an eighth planet orbiting a Sun-like star named Kepler-90 using Google‘s machine learning tool.
The space agency said Friday the machine learning platform identified the Kepler-90i planet by searching through data from the Kepler Space Telescope.
Researchers Christopher Shallue and Andrew Vanderburg trained a computer, called an artificial neural network, to detect exoplanets in light readings recorded by the Kepler telescope.
Shallue is a senior software engineer at Google who suggested the application of a neural network to Kepler data.
The neural network discovered weak transit signals from the eighth planet that were not detected by previous database searches, NASA noted.
The tool also found a sixth planet in the Kepler-80 system, named Kepler-80g.
Shallue and Vanderburg plan to use their neural network to search through the Kepler telescope’s four-year dataset, which includes more than 150,000 stars.