In a new twist in a landmark exploration, Europe’s comet-chasing Rosetta mission has found that its target, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has no magnetic field, scientists reported on Tuesday.
A robot lab sent down to the Comet 67/P last November found no evidence that its nucleus was magnetised, they said.
The finding could sweep away a key theory on the formation of comets and other Solar System bodies, said investigator Hans-Ulrich Auster.
“If comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is representative of all cometary nuclei, then we suggest that magnetic forces are unlikely to have played a role in the accumulation of planetary building blocks greater than one metre (3.25 feet) in size,” he said.
The finding was published in the journal Science and presented simultaneously at a meeting of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna.
It was based on measurements sent home by the washing machine-sized lab, Philae, which Rosetta lowered onto the comet’s surface last November.
The landing did not go smoothly — a mishap that turned out to be a boon for magnetic measurements, said the team.
The probe, which weighs 100 kilogrammes (220 pounds) on Earth but less than a feather in the comet’s weak gravity, bounced off the hard surface a few times before settling at an angle in a dark ditch.
“This complex trajectory turned out to be scientifically beneficial to the ROMAP team,” said a European Space Agency (ESA) statement, referring to the onboard instrument Rosetta Lander Magnetometer and Plasma Monitor.
“The unplanned flight across the surface actually meant we could collect precise magnetic field measurements with Philae at the four points we made contact with, and at a range of heights above the surface,” added Auster.
Philae had enough stored battery power for 60 hours of experiments. It sent home reams of precious data before going into standby mode on November 15.
From analysis of the data, “we conclude that Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is a remarkably non-magnetic object,” said Auster.
Comets are clusters of primordial dust and ice orbiting the Sun star in elliptical circuits.
The 1.3-billion-euro ($1.4-billion) Rosetta mission hopes to unlock some of the secrets of comets, which some astrophysicists believe may have “seeded” Earth with some of the ingredients for life.
Donald Trump: ‘My life has always been a fight’
The full interview with President Donald Trump finally aired on ABC Sunday, revealing the shocking way that he views his life.
Trump lamented that he's had such a hard life, as the son of multi-millionaires who paid to get him out of trouble multiple times.
"You're a fighter. You, you, it feels like you're in a constant kind of churn--" host George Stephanopoulos began.
"Yeah, uh, my life has always been a fight," Trump said. "And I enjoy that I guess, I don't know if I enjoy it or not, I guess -- sometimes I have false fights like the Russian witch hunt. That's a false fight. That's a made-up, uh, hoax. And I had to fight that."
The right-wing scored more in years of Trump than eight years of George W. Bush: report
President George W. Bush oversaw eight years that restricted rights, banned LGBTQ equality, appointed anti-choice judges and so much more. But under Donald Trump's presidency, social conservatives have managed to roll back any progress made by President Barack Obama's leadership.
A new Axios report listed out any anti-LGBTQ, anti-women and anti-poor policies.
“He campaigned saying that he would be a good friend to LGBT people,” James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, told VOX. "Actions speak far louder than words. And what he's done has been a wreck."
Pete Buttigieg says ‘statistically’ we’ve already had a gay president — meet President James Buchanan
In an interview with Axios, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said that "statistically" it makes sense that out of the 45 presidents in American history, one of them was LGBT. Statistics aside, the reality is that former President James Buchanan has prompted historians to question.
The moment came when the Axios HBO show questioned what the young mayor would do when he's attacked for being "too gay."
"Republicans claimed that John Kerry was a traitor in Vietnam. That Barack Obama was a Muslim. If you were to win the nomination, they'll say you're too young, too liberal, too gay to be commander-in-chief. You are young. You are a liberal. You are gay. How will you respond?" asked Mike Allen.