“I wouldn’t be surprised if Planet Nine has already been imaged in one of the large sky surveys currently underway, but, if not, it will be hard for it to hide from the Vera Rubin Observatory once it starts operations in a few years,” Caltech’s Michael Brown told The Daily Galaxy. Brown, along with Caltech’s Konstantin Batygin, presented the first evidence that there might be a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit through the outer solar system in 2016.
Perhaps someday in the near future the first signal from an alien intelligence will be detected by artificial intelligence. The future of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms for finding exoplanets hidden in datasets was paved by one such algorithm developed by the University of Texas at Austin in partnership with Google in 2019 to probe the entire Kepler 2 data set of approximately 300,000 stars. The method is equally applicable to Kepler’s successor planet-hunting mission, TESS, which launched in April 2018.
“The Kepler and K2 missions just keep on giving!” Harvard astrophysicist, David Latham told The Daily Galaxy. “Operations ended more than three years ago when the spacecraft ran out of fuel, but we continue to mine the data archives for celestial gems.”
“With its larger size and atmosphere,” exoplanetologist Diana Dragomir told The Daily Galaxy, “TOI-1231b promises to give us a glimpse into the rate of atmospheric evaporation caused by its M dwarf star, which we then hope to extrapolate from in order to learn more about atmospheric escape for terrestrial M dwarf planets, too.”