Sun, April 08, 2012
Technology > Science

Scientists find magnetic reconnection in Venusian magnetotail

2012-04-08 06:31:42 GMT2012-04-08 14:31:42(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

HEFEI, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Scientists from China, the United States and Austria have jointly found the magnetic reconnection in the near-Venus magnetotail.

The findings, issued in the latest Science Magazine released on Friday, are likely to promote research into climate change on Venus and help find solutions to similar problems on Earth, said Professor Zhang Tielong, the team leader with University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) based in Hefei, capital of Anhui province.

Supported by China's national natural science foundation, the project was jointly conducted by USTC, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Science.

The findings were based on observations with the Venus Express magnetometer and a low-energy particle detector, said Zhang.

Venus Express is a spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency.

The magnetic reconnection may explain the auroras around Venus, and the atmosphere escape that led to the tranformation of the planet rich in water 4 billion years ago to its current state, Zhang said.

Similar to Earth in bulk, density and quality, Venus was once considered the planet which was most likely to have life. However, the temperature on the planet can reach 400 degrees Celsius and it has no water.

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