|arya||Date: Thursday, 29-October-2015, 9:07 PM | Message # 1|
Scientists have detected molecules of oxygen in the hazy halo of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko — an unexpected discovery that may challenge theories about the formation of the Solar System. The detection, made by an instrument on board the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft, was reported today (28 October) in Nature1.
“As soon as we got close enough to the comet, we actually found it right away,” says André Bieler, a physicist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and lead author of the paper. Bieler says that he was surprised by both the presence and abundance of molecular oxygen (O2) because it is usually quick to react with other chemicals.
From September 2014 to March 2015, as 67P made its way closer to the Sun, Bieler and his colleagues used a mass spectrometer on Rosetta to sniff the molecules swirling around the comet and identify their chemical composition. They found on average that O2 makes up 3.8% of the cloud relative to the most abundant substance, water.
Read more/full article/source - http://www.nature.com/news....1.18658