Did NASA Just Find Alien Life? Kepler Discovery Changes Everything


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has called a press conference on Thursday to announce a "new" discovery by its planet-hunting Kepler space telescope that can be the turning point in its hunt for alien life.

What we do know is that Shallue and Vanderburg have been collaborating on an effort that uses machine learning to find new planet candidates in Kepler data (PDF link), which would be deemed inconclusive using more traditional analysis methods.

The Friday release said the Kepler mission, NASA's most prolific exoplanet finder in history, hit a major breakthrough with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

NASA and Google have an announcement to make, but you'll have to wait until Thursday to find out what it is. Furthermore, recent reports have revealed that NASA cited Google's machine learning played a pivotal role in the highly anticipated discovery. It will take place Thursday, December 14 at 1 p.m. EST.

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Kepler's initial mission was completed in 2012. Thanks to its discoveries, scientists now believe there to be at least one planet orbiting every star in the sky.

The telescope is presently on its second mission called "K2", and this time, it is more dedicated to discovering exoplanets on a limited basis. There are 30 in habitable zones, meaning they exist at the right distance from their nearest stars to possibly host extraterrestrial life.

As per details released by NASA for the event, the news will focus on a discovery made using artificial intelligence from Google. Kepler-11, imagined here by an artist, is a sun-like star orbited by six planets. Attendees will include Paul Hertz, the director NASA's Astrophysics division in Washington D.C., as well as Christopher Shallue from Google. This has afforded new opportunities to research not only exoplanets, but also young stars, supernovae, and other celestial bodies.