Astronomers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) in Bengaluru along with those from BITS Pilani, Goa campus have devised a new approach — an anomaly detection method — by which they can identify potentially habitable planets with a high probability. They have used an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based algorithm for this.

What

  1. IIA is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST). And, as per DST, the question that naturally arose was “whether there are other life-harbouring planets and if there is a way to predict which exoplanet can potentially harbour life?”
  2. The AI-based method, named Multi-Stage Memetic Binary Tree Anomaly Identifier (MSMBTAI), is based on a novel multi-stage memetic algorithm (MSMA).
  3. MSMA uses the generic notion of a meme, which is an idea or knowledge that gets transferred from one person to another by imitation.
  4. A meme indicates cross-cultural evolution in posterity and, therefore, can induce new learning mechanisms as generations pass.
  5. The algorithm can act as a quick screening tool for evaluating habitability perspectives from observed properties.
  6. The study identified a few planets which exhibit similar anomalous characteristics as Earth via the proposed technique, which shows reasonably good results, in agreement with what astronomers believe.