Quite a few exciting space-related discoveries came to light this week. The dominating space stories this week were perhaps Nasa and Google's artificial intelligence (AI) discovering a distant solar system similar to ours over that is located 2,500 light years away and scientists investigating an interstellar asteroid in the hopes of maybe intercepting an alien signal.
The past week also saw few light-hearted space stories emerge, such as Nasa astronauts aboard the International Space Station getting their very own Star Wars premiere.
IBTimes UK brings you the highlights of the best space stories of the week to keep all you space nerds updated on what's happening in deep space.
Google's AI analysed data collected by Nasa's prolific alien planet hunter – the Kepler telescope – and found a hidden exoplanet named Kepler90i orbiting a sun-like star. The discovery of the exoplanet also revealed that it was the eighth such planet orbiting a single star – the first time ever that this many planets have been found orbiting a single star.
Scientists at Breakthrough Listen, an organisation funded by Russian tycoon Yuri Milner, announced this week that they will be analysing Oumuamua – the first and only interstellar asteroid ever to make its way to our solar system. Astronomers said that they will check to see if the bizarre, cigar-shaped asteroid could be more than just a space rock. Preliminary findings of the research recently released by the astronomers revealed that no alien signal has been observed yet. However, researchers said that they are still processing over 90TB of data collected from Oumuamua.
The best seats for one of the most anticipated movies of the year – Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be bagged by Nasa astronauts. The movie will be screened in space – at the International Space Station – likely making it one of the most exciting movie premieres.
Scientists created a computer simulation that allows researchers to test how dark matter particles that constantly bombard the Earth scatter. The map not only reveals what this may look like but can also help boost scientists' efforts to detect the invisible and mysterious dark matter particles.
In 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts took an epic road trip on the Moon which lasted over four hours. The three Moon buggies that helped the astronauts travel across the lunar surface still remain there and will forever be parked up there. Click here to read more about the details of the lunar road trip.
Nasa recently released new data that was collected by Cassini, before it plummeted to its death around three months ago. Cassini found weird shadows in Saturn's icy rings. Although scientists are still analysing the new data, it is hoped that Cassini's data may help researchers get more insights on how particles behave in Saturn's atmosphere.