Indian astronomers find 60 planets in space like Earth | Tech News

Indian astronomers find 60 planets in space like Earth

Earth-like planets have been found by a team of Indian astronomers using AI technology. Here’s how they did it.

| Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 00:01 IST
Indian Astronomers found 60 potentially habitable planets like Earth. (AFP)
Indian Astronomers found 60 potentially habitable planets like Earth. (AFP)

In recent decades, thousands of exoplanets have been discovered indicating that our Milky Way Galaxy has many more planets than thought. Though, the important question that always pops up is if there are other planets that could support life. In other words, are there any planets out there just like Earth? Now we have the answers! Using an Artificial Intelligence-based algorithm, a team of Indian astronomers discovered a few planets with similar characteristics to Earth out there in space. That means we have found living and breathing planets that may be very much like Earth! The team of astronomers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics along with astronomers from BITS Pilani, Goa campus have devised this new approach - an anomaly detection method to find more Earth-like planets.

How did this method find the Earth-like planets

The anomaly detection method is based on the theory that Earth is an anomaly, with the possibility of a few other anomalies among thousands of data points. According to the study, out of around 5000 confirmed planets, there are 60 potentially habitable planets and nearly 8000 candidate planets. The evaluation is based on their near similarities to Earth. These planets could be considered anomalous cases among a large number of 'non-habitable' exoplanets. Scientists considered Earth as the only habitable planet among thousands of planets, which defined it as an anomaly.

However, given a large number of exoplanets discovered, identifying those rare anomalous instances by characterising them in terms of planetary parameters, types, populations, and, ultimately, habitability potential, necessarily requires knowledge of multiple planetary parameters gleaned from observations. This requires hours of telescope time to observe the planets. Obviously, manually scanning thousands of planets and identifying planets that are possibly comparable to Earth almost seems impossible due to the huge amount of time it would take. Hence, Artificial Intelligence has been utilised to do this job.

The developed AI-based method, called Multi-Stage Memetic Binary Tree Anomaly Identifier is actually based on the concept of 'meme', which is basically an idea that gets transferred from one to another. Scientists mentioned that "A meme indicates cross-cultural evolution in posterity and, therefore, can induce new learning mechanisms as generations pass." Hence, this method can be used as a rapid screening tool for assessing the habitability of properties. The study used the proposed technique to identify 60 planets with anomalous characteristics identical to Earth.

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First Published Date: 12 Feb, 10:05 IST