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Results from comet lander reveal different story about Solar System

(Xinhua)    08:53, April 15, 2015

LONDON, April 14 -- New results of investigations by Europe's comet lander Philae showed that the target comet has no magnetic field of its own, giving a different view of how the solar system was formed, according to a report released Tuesday by the Imperial College London.

The Philae lander, carrying an array of scientific instruments, detached from the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft in November 2014. It landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko after a descent of several hours to start analysing the comet's surface and atmosphere.

The spacecraft and lander used magnetometers to measure the comet's magnetism and these determined that it had no detectable magnetic field, according to the report.

Imperial College London is involved in the Rosetta project, providing measurements in support of the lander magnetometer.

Chris Carr of the Department of Physics said this is quite surprising, since they have moon rock samples and meteorites which show more magnetism than 67P.

Comets are extremely old and pristine objects, left over from when the solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago. If comets were magnetised, it might help explain how some of the early building blocks of the solar system began to clump together.

However, the discovery on 67P suggests it's unlikely that magnetism played a role in the aggregation of solar-system bodies such as comets.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Yao Chun)

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