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    Fractures on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko observed by Rosetta/OSIRIS

    El-Maarry, Mohamed Ramy and Thomas, N. and Gracia-Berná, A. and Marschall, R. and Auger, A.-T. and Groussin, O. and Mottola, S. and Pajola, M. and Massironi, M. and Marchi, S. and Höfner, S. and Preusker, F. and Scholten, F. and Jorda, L. and Kührt, E. and Keller, H.U. and Sierks, H. and A'Hearn, M.F. and Barbieri, C. and Barucci, M.A. and Bertaux, J.-L. and Bertini, I. and Cremonese, G. and Da Deppo, V. and Davidsson, B. and Debei, S. and De Cecco, M. and Deller, J. and Güttler, C. and Fornasier, S. and Fulle, M. and Gutierrez, P.J. and Hofmann, M. and Hviid, S.F. and Ip, W.-H. and Knollenberg, J. and Koschny, D. and Kovacs, G. and Kramm, J.-R. and Küppers, M. and Lamy, P.L. and Lara, L.M. and Lazzarin, M. and Lopez Moreno, J.J. and Marzari, F. and Michalik, H. and Naletto, G. and Oklay, N. and Pommerol, A. and Rickman, H. and Rodrigo, R. and Tubiana, C. and Vincent, J.-B. (2015) Fractures on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko observed by Rosetta/OSIRIS. Geophysical Research Letters 42 (13), pp. 5170-5178. ISSN 0094-8276.

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    The Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS) experiment onboard the Rosetta spacecraft currently orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov‐Gerasimenko has yielded unprecedented views of a comet's nucleus. We present here the first ever observations of meter‐scale fractures on the surface of a comet. Some of these fractures form polygonal networks. We present an initial assessment of their morphology, topology, and regional distribution. Fractures are ubiquitous on the surface of the comet's nucleus. Furthermore, they occur in various settings and show different topologies suggesting numerous formation mechanisms, which include thermal insulation weathering, orbital‐induced stresses, and possibly seasonal thermal contraction. However, we conclude that thermal insolation weathering is responsible for creating most of the observed fractures based on their morphology and setting in addition to thermal models that indicate diurnal temperature ranges exceeding 200 K and thermal gradients of ~15 K/min at perihelion are possible. Finally, we suggest that fractures could be a facilitator in surface evolution and long‐term erosion.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): comets, fractures, Rosetta, OSIRIS, Comet 67P
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2018 11:40
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:45


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