Special Issue Reports

The nonmagnetic nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

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Science  31 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6247, aaa5102
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa5102

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Knowledge of the magnetization of planetary bodies constrains their origin and evolution, as well as the conditions in the solar nebular at that time. On the basis of magnetic field measurements during the descent and subsequent multiple touchdown of the Rosetta lander Philae on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P), we show that no global magnetic field was detected within the limitations of analysis. The Rosetta Magnetometer and Plasma Monitor (ROMAP) suite of sensors measured an upper magnetic field magnitude of less than 2 nanotesla at the cometary surface at multiple locations, with the upper specific magnetic moment being <3.1 × 10−5 ampere–square meters per kilogram for meter-size homogeneous magnetized boulders. The maximum dipole moment of 67P is 1.6 × 108 ampere–square meters. We conclude that on the meter scale, magnetic alignment in the preplanetary nebula is of minor importance.

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