NASA to make major announcement Thursday, will reveal new Kepler discovery

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The American space agency has scheduled a press conference for Thursday, December 14, which will be addressed by scientists who were involved in the study of thousands of planets discovered by the Kepler space telescope.

Until Kepler, scientists had no idea there were so many planets beyond our solar system.

The planet-hunting Kepler telescope launched in 2009 and has delivered a plethora of new information and discoveries. The discovery was driven by Google's machine-learning artificial intelligence software. The "internet went aflutter" using his theory in relationship to the odd discovery, Wright said, but he cautioned, "you should reserve the alien hypothesis as a last resort".

The press conference will also be streamed lived on NASA's website. "Thanks to Kepler's treasure trove of discoveries, astronomers now believe there may be at least one planet orbiting every star in the sky", the press release states.

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It found the majority of them on its first mission, between 2009 and 2013, but has continued to find more in its extended K2 mission, which began in 2014.

The telescope is presently on its second mission called "K2", and this time, it is more dedicated to discovering exoplanets on a limited basis.

Thirty exoplanets exist in habitable zones. Kepler-11, imagined here by an artist, is a sun-like star orbited by six planets. This has confirmed the existence of 178 exoplanets to date, with 515 further potential planets.

NASA's press release added that the discovery involved machine learning that "demonstrates new ways of analyzing Kepler data", but has remained cryptic about what the rest of the conference is going to be about. This has afforded new opportunities to research not only exoplanets, but also young stars, supernovae, and other celestial bodies. Attendees will include Paul Hertz, the director NASA's Astrophysics division in Washington D.C., as well as Christopher Shallue from Google.

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