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|Title:||The diurnal cycle of water ice on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko||Authors:||DE SANCTIS, MARIA CRISTINA
Barucci, M. A.
Capria, M. T.
Ip, W. -H.
McCord, T. B.
Bibring, J. P.
Tozzi, G. P.
Combe, J. -Ph.
Gudipati, M. S.
Rees, J. M.
|Issue Date:||2015||Journal:||NATURE||Number:||525||Issue:||7570||First Page:||500||Abstract:||Observations of cometary nuclei have revealed a very limited amount of surface water ice, which is insufficient to explain the observed water outgassing. This was clearly demonstrated on comet 9P/Tempel 1, where the dust jets (driven by volatiles) were only partially correlated with the exposed ice regions. The observations of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko have revealed that activity has a diurnal variation in intensity arising from changing insolation conditions. It was previously concluded that water vapour was generated in ice-rich subsurface layers with a transport mechanism linked to solar illumination, but that has not hitherto been observed. Periodic condensations of water vapour very close to, or on, the surface were suggested to explain short-lived outbursts seen near sunrise on comet 9P/Tempel 1. Here we report observations of water ice on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, appearing and disappearing in a cyclic pattern that follows local illumination conditions, providing a source of localized activity. This water cycle appears to be an important process in the evolution of the comet, leading to cyclical modification of the relative abundance of water ice on its surface. <P />||Acknowledgments:||We thank the following institutions and agencies, which supported this work: the Italian Space Agency (ASI, Italy), Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES, France), Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR, Germany), and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA, USA). VIRTIS was built by a consortium from Italy, France and Germany, under the scientific responsibility of the Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali of the INAF (Italy), which also guides the scientific operations. The VIRTIS instrument development for ESA has been funded and managed by ASI, with contributions from Observatoire de Meudon financed by CNES (France), and from DLR (Germany). We also thank the Rosetta Science Ground Segment and the Rosetta Mission Operations. The VIRTIS calibrated data will be available through the ESA’s Planetary Science Archive (PSA) website.||URI:||http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12386/23214||URL:||https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14869||ISSN:||0028-0836||DOI:||10.1038/nature14869||Bibcode ADS:||2015Natur.525..500D||Fulltext:||open|
|Appears in Collections:||1.01 Articoli in rivista|
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