Comet 67P: A Comet with No Magnetic Field and It’s Giving NASA some Food for Thought

The Rosetta robotic space probe along with its lander module, Philae, which performed a detailed study of Comet 67P discovered by two Soviet astronomers Klim Ivanovych Churyumov and Svetlana Ivanovna Gerasimenko, has gathered scientific evidence that the comet does not have a magnetic field.

Hans-Ulrich Auster, co-principal investigator on Romap, in a competent statement, relayed that they found no magnetic field on the four points they used to measure up the comet’s magnetism, the very small variation they saw were not caused by the comet, they are really external fields. The results suggest that magnetic forces do not render a major role in the accumulation of planetary building blocks – a discovery they accept as true to all comets.

This was made possible with the aid of the Romap instrument on board the Rosetta orbiter and Philae, the lander module of Rosetta. This Romap instrument is designed to answer questions regarding theories suggesting that star and planet formation need a magnetic field to accelerate the growth of the Solar System. Auster, in a statement, assumed that Comet 67P is descriptive of the other comets since the investigators only have this comet to study, it might be that it is completely different on the other side of comet, or it could be that this comet is different to all other comet.

Since Philae landed in the shadow of a cliff, it could not utilize its solar panels for energy; nevertheless, the scientists are hoping that the lander will wake up from hibernation as the comet comes to perihelion, closest approach to the Sun, on August 13, 2015. Auster is very optimistic because the lander is equipped with a switch which activates the lander if the temperature increases to minus 45 degrees Celsius.

The annual European Geosciences Union General Assembly will be the venue where the latest science findings from the Rosetta mission will be made known.

 

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