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    Rosetta’s comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko sheds its dusty mantle to reveal its icy nature

    Fornasier, S. and Mottola, S. and Keller, H.U. and Barucci, M.A. and Davidsson, B. and Feller, C. and Deshapriya, J.D.P. and Sierks, H. and Barbieri, C. and Lamy, P.L. and Rodrigo, R. and Koschny, D. and Rickman, H. and A’Hearn, M. and Agarwal, J. and Bertaux, J.-L. and Bertini, I. and Besse, S. and Cremonese, G. and Da Deppo, V. and Debei, S. and De Cecco, M. and Deller, J. and El-Maarry, Mohamed Ramy and Fulle, M. and Groussin, O. and Gutierrez, P.J. and Güttler, C. and Hofmann, M. and Hviid, S.F. and Ip, W.-H. and Jorda, L. and Knollenberg, J. and Kovacs, G. and Kramm, R. and Kührt, E. and Küppers, M. and Lara, M.L. and Lazzarin, M. and Moreno, J.J. Lopez and Marzari, F. and Massironi, M. and Naletto, G. and Oklay, N. and Pajola, M. and Pommerol, A. and Preusker, F. and Scholten, F. and Shi, X. and Thomas, N. and Toth, I. and Tubiana, C. and Vincent, J.-B. (2016) Rosetta’s comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko sheds its dusty mantle to reveal its icy nature. Science 354 (6319), pp. 1566-1570. ISSN 0036-8075.

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    Abstract

    The Rosetta spacecraft has investigated comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from large heliocentric distances to its perihelion passage and beyond. We trace the seasonal and diurnal evolution of the colors of the 67P nucleus, finding changes driven by sublimation and recondensation of water ice. The whole nucleus became relatively bluer near perihelion, as increasing activity removed the surface dust, implying that water ice is widespread underneath the surface. We identified large (1500 square meters) ice-rich patches appearing and then vanishing in about 10 days, indicating small-scale heterogeneities on the nucleus. Thin frosts sublimating in a few minutes are observed close to receding shadows, and rapid variations in color are seen on extended areas close to the terminator. These cyclic processes are widespread and lead to continuously, slightly varying surface properties.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Earth and Planetary Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2018 17:47
    Last Modified: 17 Oct 2018 17:47
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/24742

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