Images: Discovery of 8th Planet in Kepler-90 System with Google AI

Parts of the Program


NASA's exoplanet program includes many different components, from current ground-based telescopes and space-based observatories to future missions.

Exploring the Universe


NASA's Kepler space telescope notices the slight dip in a star's brightness caused by an exoplanet crossing between Earth and that star. The collected data resembles the U-shaped pattern in this image.

Learning Machines


Researchers used machine-learning techniques to spot previously undetected exoplanet signals in Kepler data. The strategy is akin to that used by neural networks in the human brain: A layer of "neurons" performs simple computations and transmits that data to the next layer of "neurons," in essence teaching the computer how to identify objects.

Smart Computers


Kepler has spotted over 30,000 signals of possible exoplanets. Researchers analyzed Kepler data from 670 multiplanet systems using Google machine-learning techniques and detected two more alien worlds — Kepler-90 and Kepler-80g.

A Pattern to Follow?

NASA/Ames Research Center/Wendy Stenzel

The eight known planets in the Kepler-90 system follow a similar setup to our solar system: smaller planets closer to the star and larger planets farther away.

A Compact System

NASA/Ames Research Center/Wendy Stenzel

In the Kepler-90 system, all eight planets are closer to the host star than Earth is to the sun.

Expanding the Universe

NASA/Ames Research Center/Wendy Stenzel

Experts believe there may be more planets in the Kepler-90 system.

Hope for the Future

NASA/Ames Research Center/Wendy Stenzel and The University of Texas at Austin/Andrew Vanderburg

The vast majority of known exoplanet systems harbor just one confirmed world. Kepler-90i offers hope that additional mulitplanet systems will be found.

More Eyes, More Data

NASA/Ames Research Center/Jessie Dotson and Wendy Stenzel

Just 326 exoplanets were known when NASA's Kepler space telescope launched in March 2009. .

It Takes All Kinds

NASA/Ames Research Center/Jessie Dotson and Wendy Stenzel

Kepler has discovered more than 2,500 of the roughly 3,500 exoplanets confirmed to date.

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

Christine Lunsford joined the team in 2010 as a freelance producer and later became a contributing writer, covering astrophotography images, astronomy photos and amazing space galleries and more. During her more than 10 years with, oversaw the site's monthly skywatching updates and produced overnight features and stories on the latest space discoveries. She enjoys learning about subjects of all kinds.