Surface changes on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko suggest a more active past

Mohamed Ramy El-Maarry 1, 2 Olivier Groussin 3 Nicholas Thomas 2 Maurizio Pajola 4 Anne-Thérèse Auger 3 Björn Davidsson 5 X. Hu 6 Stubbe F. Hviid 7 Jörg Knollenberg 7 Carsten Güttler 6 Cécilia Tubiana 6 Sonia Fornasier 8 Clément Feller 8 Pedro H. Hasselmann 8 Jean-Baptiste Vincent 7 Holger Sierks 6 Cesare Barbieri 9 Philippe Lamy 3 Rafael Rodrigo 10, 11 Detlef Koschny 12 Horst U. Keller 13, 7 Hans Rickman 14, 15 Michael F. A'Hearn 16 Maria Antonella Barucci 8 Jean-Loup Bertaux 17 Ivano Bertini 9 Sébastien Besse 12 Dennis Bodewits 16 Gabriele Cremonese 18 Vania da Deppo 19 Stefano Debei 20 Mariolino de Cecco 21 Jakob Deller 6 J. D. P. Deshapriya 8 Marco Fulle 22 Pedro J. Gutierrez 23 Marc Hofmann 6 Wing-Huen Ip 24 Laurent Jorda 3 Gabor Kovacs 6 J.-Rainer Kramm 6 Ekkerhard Kührt 7 Michael Küppers 25 Luisa M. Lara 23 Monica Lazzarin 9 Zhong-Yi Lin 24 José J. Lopez Moreno 23 Simone Marchi 26 Francesco Marzari 9 Stefano Mottola 7 Giampiero Naletto 27, 19, 28 Nilda Oklay 6 Antoine Pommerol 2 Frank Preusker 7 Frank Scholten 7 Xian Shi 6
Abstract : The Rosetta spacecraft spent ~2 years orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, most of it at distances that allowed surface characterization and monitoring at submeter scales. From December 2014 to June 2016, numerous localized changes were observed, which we attribute to cometary-specific weathering, erosion, and transient events driven by exposure to sunlight and other processes. While the localized changes suggest compositional or physical heterogeneity, their scale has not resulted in substantial alterations to the comet’s landscape. This suggests that most of the major landforms were created early in the comet’s current orbital configuration. They may even date from earlier if the comet had a larger volatile inventory, particularly of CO or CO2 ices, or contained amorphous ice, which could have triggered activity at greater distances from the Sun.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 1:43:45 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - 11:54:06 AM

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Mohamed Ramy El-Maarry, Olivier Groussin, Nicholas Thomas, Maurizio Pajola, Anne-Thérèse Auger, et al.. Surface changes on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko suggest a more active past. Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2017, 355 (6332), pp.1392 - 1395. ⟨10.1126/science.aak9384⟩. ⟨insu-01511121⟩

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