Oxygen around the comet 67P became a mystery to scientists

Found in the vicinity of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko oxygen casts doubt on the theory of evolution of the Solar system

The Rosetta spacecraft has detected molecular oxygen O2 in the cloud of gas, dust and ice particles around comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This unexpected discovery challenges the modern theory of the formation of the Solar system. The fact that molecular oxygen reacts quickly with other chemicals and without special conditions could not be maintained since the formation of the Solar system.

The origin of the oxygen molecules around the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko remains a mystery

The mass spectrometer probe Rosetta has discovered water during filming in September 2014 and March 2015, when the comet 67P approached the Sun. To the surprise of scientists, in the cloud around the comet was a lot of O2: 3.8 per cent relative to the water — the most common substance in the cloud. The origin of this oxygen remains a mystery. The study’s lead author Andre Bieler (André Bieler), a physicist from the University of Michigan in Ann arbor, said that his team has already ruled out the theory about the formation of oxygen under the influence of energetic particles such as Photons and electrons that “break” water molecules.

Most likely, the oxygen left over from the formation of the comet. Billions of years ago in the process of gas molecules, water, dust ice and the stones formed the nucleus of the comet. When it approaches the Sun and heats up, the gas evaporates and creates a cloud around the comet O2. This is a good version, but many models of the early Solar system it is excluded because most of the oxygen generally combines with hydrogen, i.e. becomes in the water. Therefore, it is difficult to imagine a situation in which highly active oxygen could persist for billions of years. This is only possible at a certain temperature and initial abundance of oxygen.

To crack the secrets of the oxygen of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will need additional observations and experiments.

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