While a large portion of the population is focused on another “galaxy far, far away” on Thursday, Dec. 14, NASA will still announce its new “planet-hunting” discoveries in a 1 p.m. press conference.
The press conference can be followed along with at NASA.gov/live, the space agency’s social media channels and most likely its YouTube page. NASA says in a news release that the new discoveries were made using its Kepler space telescope with help from Google’s machine learning.
NASA doesn’t go into too much detail on the press conference when it comes to the discoveries or Google’s involvement. As for the Kepler space telescope, it was launched in 2009 with the goal of finding how common planets outside of Earth’s solar system are.
“The discovery was made by researchers using machine learning from Google,” the space agency says in the release. “Machine learning is an approach to artificial intelligence, and demonstrates new ways of analyzing Kepler data.”
NASA says the Kepler telescope is able to find planets by staring at a single patch of the sky and then detecting a drop in a star’s brightness, which happens when a planet passes in front of it.
Eight years after it launched, NASA says the telescope has them believing there could be at least one planet orbiting every single star in the sky.