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    The pristine interior of comet 67P revealed by the combined Aswan outburst and cliff collapse

    Pajola, M. and Höfner, S. and Vincent, J.B. and Oklay, N. and Scholten, F. and Preusker, F. and Mottola, S. and Naletto, G. and Fornasier, S. and Lowry, S. and Feller, C. and Hasselmann, P.H. and Güttler, C. and Tubiana, C. and Sierks, H. and Barbieri, C. and Lamy, P. and Rodrigo, R. and Koschny, D. and Rickman, H. and Keller, H.U. and Agarwal, J. and A’Hearn, M.F. and Barucci, M.A. and Bertaux, J.-L. and Bertini, I. and Besse, S. and Boudreault, S. and Cremonese, G. and Da Deppo, V. and Davidsson, B. and Debei, S. and De Cecco, M. and Deller, J. and Deshapriya, J.D.P. and El-Maarry, Mohamed Ramy and Ferrari, S. and Ferri, F. and Fulle, M. and Groussin, O. and Gutierrez, P. and Hofmann, M. and Hviid, S.F. and Ip, W.-H. and Jorda, L. and Knollenberg, J. and Kovacs, G. and Kramm, J.R. and Kührt, E. and Küppers, M. and Lara, L.M. and Lin, Z.-Y. and Lazzarin, M. and Lucchetti, A. and Lopez Moreno, J.J. and Marzari, F. and Massironi, M. and Michalik, H. and Penasa, L. and Pommerol, A. and Simioni, E. and Thomas, N. and Toth, I. and Baratti, E. (2017) The pristine interior of comet 67P revealed by the combined Aswan outburst and cliff collapse. Nature Astronomy 1 (5), 0092. ISSN 2397-3366.

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    Abstract

    Outbursts occur commonly on comets1 with different frequencies and scales2,3. Despite multiple observations suggesting various triggering processes4,5, the driving mechanism of such outbursts is still poorly understood. Landslides have been invoked6 to explain some outbursts on comet 103P/Hartley 2, although the process required a pre-existing dust layer on the verge of failure. The Rosetta mission observed several outbursts from its target comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, which were attributed to dust generated by the crumbling of materials from collapsing cliffs7,8. However, none of the aforementioned works included definitive evidence that landslides occur on comets. Amongst the many features observed by Rosetta on the nucleus of the comet, one peculiar fracture, 70 m long and 1 m wide, was identified on images obtained in September 2014 at the edge of a cliff named Aswan9. On 10 July 2015, the Rosetta Navigation Camera captured a large plume of dust that could be traced back to an area encompassing the Aswan escarpment7. Five days later, the OSIRIS camera observed a fresh, sharp and bright edge on the Aswan cliff. Here we report the first unambiguous link between an outburst and a cliff collapse on a comet. We establish a new dust-plume formation mechanism that does not necessarily require the breakup of pressurized crust or the presence of supervolatile material, as suggested by previous studies7. Moreover, the collapse revealed the fresh icy interior of the comet, which is characterized by an albedo >0.4, and provided the opportunity to study how the crumbling wall settled down to form a new talus.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2018 16:14
    Last Modified: 17 Oct 2018 16:14
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/24736

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