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Artificial Intelligence Is Letting Scientists Classify Planets And Predict The Probability Of The Existence Of Life

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Scientists have enlisted the help of artificial intelligence programs to classify planets and predict the probability of life. This could help determine which planets are worthy of further study and which ones aren't.

Using artificial intelligence, scientists may be able to shed some light on new planets that are being discovered.

Artificial Neural Networks

A team based at Plymouth University is using artificial neural networks (ANNs) to classify planets into categories to determine the probability of life. These planets are being classified into five different types. They are broken down into present-day Earth, early Earth, Mars, Venus, or Titan, a moon of Saturn.

In all five of the categories, the planets are rocky and have atmospheres present. They're also the most likely planets in the solar system to have the possibility of life. Scientists are using ANNs because they are good at being able to identify patterns that are too complex for human brains to process.

Out of the worlds presented in the categories, only Earth has life present. This program would allow scientists to prioritize which planets should receive further study. To train the ANNs, atmospheric observations of the five planets were input into the network. It uses these inputs to classify each planet into a planetary type.

Researchers were able to get the profiles from NASA's Planetary Spectrum Generator at the Goddard Space Flight Center. They were able to get over a hundred spectral profiles of each of the five planets.

Spectral Profiles

Atmospheric observations are also known as spectra. Training the program with different spectral profiles can save researchers time by allowing them to focus on the most promising planets that could be harboring life. Scientists involved in the development of the program are already touting the benefits.

Angelo Cangelosi, one of the supervisors on the project, says that this method has already been used for classifying exoplanets. Researchers on the project are hoping to be able to use information gathered with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and the European Space Agency's Atmospheric Remote-sensing Exoplanet Large-survey.

A probability of life metric was developed using factors such as atmosphere and the orbit of the planets.

New exoplanets are found all the time, and scientists are predicting that they may be able to harbor life. Knowing which systems to study stops scientists from searching in systems that don't have the possibility for alien life based on the profiles that were submitted. 

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