Isotopic composition of CO2 in the coma of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko measured with ROSINA/DFMS

Abstract : Measurements of isotopic abundances in cometary ices are key to understanding and reconstructing the history and origin of material in the solar system. Comets are considered the most pristine material in the solar system. Isotopic fractionation (enrichment of an isotope in a molecule compared to the initial abundance) is sensitive to environmental conditions at the time of comet formation. Therefore, measurements of cometary isotope ratios can provide information on the composition, density, temperature, and radiation during formation of the molecules, during the chemical evolution from the presolar cloud to the protosolar nebula, and the protoplanetary disk before accretion in solid bodies. Most isotopic abundances of 12C/13C and 16O/18O in comets to date are in agreement with terrestrial abundances. Prior to the Rosetta mission, measurements of 12C/13C in comets were only available for HCN, CN, and C2 and for 16O/18O in H2O. Measurements of 12C/13C in comets were only available from ground based observations and remote sensing, while 16O/18O in H2O had also been measured in-situ. To date, no measurements of the CO2 isotopologues in comets were available. This paper presents the first measurements of the CO2 isotopologues in the coma of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P). Methods. We analyzed measurements taken by the Double Focusing Mass Spectrometer (DFMS) of the ROSINA experiment on board the ESA spacecraft Rosetta in the coma of 67P. The CO2 isotopologues results for 67P are: 12C/13C = 84 ± 4, 16O/18O = 494 ± 8, and 13C16O2/12C18O16O = 5.87 ± 0.07. The oxygen isotopic ratio is within error bars compatible with terrestrial abundances but not with solar wind measurements. Conclusions. The carbon isotopic ratio and the combined carbon and oxygen isotopic ratio are slightly (14%) enriched in 13C, within 1σ uncertainty, compared to solar wind abundances and solar abundances. The small fractionation of 12C/13C in CO2 is probably compatible with an origin of the material in comets from the native cloud.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2017, 605, A50 (8 p.). 〈10.1051/0004-6361/201630140〉
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Soumis le : mardi 1 août 2017 - 19:15:40
Dernière modification le : vendredi 13 avril 2018 - 11:18:04

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Myrtha Hässig, Kathrin Altwegg, Hans Balsiger, Jean-Jacques Berthelier, André Bieler, et al.. Isotopic composition of CO2 in the coma of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko measured with ROSINA/DFMS. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2017, 605, A50 (8 p.). 〈10.1051/0004-6361/201630140〉. 〈insu-01571239〉

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