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The refractory-to-ice mass ratio in comets

Abstract : We review the complex relationship between the dust-to-gas mass ratio usually estimated in the material lost by comets, and the refractory-to-ice mass ratio inside the nucleus, which constrains the origin of comets. Such a relationship is dominated by the mass transfer from the perihelion erosion to fallout over most of the nucleus surface. This makes the refractory-to-ice mass ratio inside the nucleus up to 10 times larger than the dust-to-gas mass ratio in the lost material, because the lost material is missing most of the refractories which were inside the pristine nucleus before the erosion. We review the refractory-to-ice mass ratios available for the comet nuclei visited by space missions, and for the Kuiper Belt Objects with well-defined bulk density, finding the 1-σ lower limit of 3. Therefore, comets and KBOs may have less water than CI-chondrites, as predicted by models of comet formation by the gravitational collapse of cm-sized pebbles driven by streaming instabilities in the protoplanetary disc.
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Submitted on : Friday, June 24, 2022 - 4:15:15 PM
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Marco Fulle, J. Blum, S. F. Green, B. Gundlach, A. Herique, et al.. The refractory-to-ice mass ratio in comets. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2019, 482, pp.3326-3340. ⟨10.1093/mnras/sty2926⟩. ⟨insu-03704146⟩



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