A porosity gradient in 67P/C-G nucleus suggested from CONSERT and SESAME-PP results: an interpretation based on new laboratory permittivity measurements of porous icy analogues.

Abstract : The Rosetta spacecraft made a rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P) in August 2014, soon after the Philae module landed on the small lobe of the nucleus on 12 November 2014. The CONSERT instrument, onboard Rosetta and Philae, sounded the upper part of the interior of 67P with radiowaves at 90 MHz and determined an average of the real part of the permittivity (hereafter ϵ′) equal to about 1.27. The SESAME-PP instrument, onboard Philae, sounded the near-surface of the small lobe in the 400–800 Hz range and determined a lower limit of ϵ′ equal to 2.45. We use a semi-empirical formula obtained from measurements of ϵ′ performed in the laboratory at 243 K on water ice and ice-basaltic dust mixtures, with a controlled porosity in the 31–91% range and a dust-to-ice volumetric ratio in the 0.1–2.8 range, to interpret the results of the two instruments, taking into account the temperature and frequency dependencies. A graphical method is proposed to derive ranges of porosity and dust-mass fraction from a value of ϵ′ derived from observations. The non-dispersive behaviour of ϵ′ below 175 K, allows us to compare the values of ϵ′ obtained by CONSERT and SESAME-PP. We show that the porosity of the small lobe of 67P increases with depth. Based on new measurements of analogues of complex extraterrestrial organic matter, the so-called tholins, we also suggest that, for the dust component in the cometary material, the presence of silicates has more effect on ϵ′ than organic materials.
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Yann Brouet, Anny Chantal Levasseur-Regourd, P. Sabouroux, L. Neves, Pierre Encrenaz, et al.. A porosity gradient in 67P/C-G nucleus suggested from CONSERT and SESAME-PP results: an interpretation based on new laboratory permittivity measurements of porous icy analogues.. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press (OUP): Policy P - Oxford Open Option A, 2016, 462 (Suppl. 1), pp.S89-S98. ⟨10.1093/mnras/stw2151⟩. ⟨insu-01367398⟩

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