Astronomers Using AI to Analyze the Universe – Fast

The next generation of powerful telescopes will scan millions of stars and generate massive amounts of data that astronomers will be tasked with analyzing. That’s way too much data for people to sift through and model themselves — so astronomers are turning to AI to help them do it.

How they’re using it:

1) Coordinate telescopes. The large telescopes that will survey the sky will be looking for transient events — new signals or sources that “go bump in the night,” says Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Tom Vestrand.

2) Analyze data. Every 30 minutes for two years, NASA’s new Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will send back full frame photos of almost half the sky, giving astronomers some 20 million stars to analyze. Over 10 years there will be 50 million gigabytes of raw data collected.

3) Mine data. “Most astronomy data is thrown away but some can hold deep physical information that we don’t know how to extract,” says Joshua Peek from the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Why it’s hot:

Algorithms have helped astronomers for a while, but recent advances in AI — especially image recognition and faster, more inexpensive computing power —mean the techniques can be used by more researchers. The new AI will automate the process and be able to understand and identify things that humans may not even know exists or begin to understand.

 “How do you write software to discover things that you don’t know how to describe?There are normal unusual events, but what about the ones we don’t even know about? How do you handle those? That will be where real discoveries happen because by definition you don’t know what they are.” – Tom Vestrand National Laboratory




Wendy’s, servin’ up sass since 1969.

Wendy’s is super funny on Twitter. Their content is very streamlined and brand conscious but their 1:1 engagement is not.

A while ago Wendy’s was roasting everyone.

But a few days ago they going into a tiff with Hardees.

Why its hot

  • Wendy’s engaging with their fans is one thing, but now they’re sassing a HUGE food chain.
  • As social strategists its important to know when to engage and whether or not it makes sense for your brand.
  • Will this backfire? How did they get approval? So many questions…

Take Your Protein Pills and Put Your Helmet On

We’re not alone.

Or rather, our solar system might not be the only solar system in our galactic neighborhood. NASA scientists made headlines and stole newscycle focus for almost a solid hour this week with an announcement: Seven exo-planets have been discovered!

The exo-planets orbit a star named “2MASS J23062928-0502285” or “Trappist-1.” This new celestial family make their home in the constellation Aquarius.

What’s fascinating is how quickly NASA provided the Internet with more than enough shareable content, doing an amazing job of meeting audiences where they live. There’s artist renderings, 360 degree videos, and some fan-fiction. They even did an AMA on Reddit and acquired the URL.

Why is this hot?

NASA is showing the power of adaptability. In an era when science is falling out of popular favor, they’re able to seize available audiences through a combination of imagination and interaction that manages to deliver factual news while encouraging speculation about a future in space.

Space-Based Internet Service

SpaceX recently announced plans to provide broadband Internet service through a global network of about 4,000 micro-satellites starting within five years. The private spaceflight company also revealed that it has raised $1 billion in funding from Google and Fidelity to help make those plans a reality. Elon Musk’s vision is simple, “Our focus is on creating a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date.”


Why It’s Hot:

As telecom companies try to hang on for control of the pipes more and more tech companies see opportunity in challenging the networks that currently exist. These new challengers no longer see their business within country borders but entire continents that are in need of internet access with no answers in site. The next few years will be interesting to see how we will access the information that we are becoming more and more dependent on in our daily lives.