Surface changes on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko suggest a more active past

Elmaarry, Mohamed Ramy; Groussin, O.; Thomas, Nicolas; Pajola, M.; Auger, A.-T.; Davidsson, B.; Hu, X.; Hviid, S. F.; Knollenberg, J.; Güttler, C.; Tubiana, C.; Fornasier, S.; Feller, C.; Hasselmann, P.; Vincent, J.-B.; Sierks, H.; Barbieri, C.; Lamy, P.; Rodrigo, Rafael; Koschny, D.; ... (2017). Surface changes on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko suggest a more active past. Science, 355(6332), pp. 1392-1395. American Association for the Advancement of Science 10.1126/science.aak9384

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The Rosetta spacecraft spent ~2 years orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, most of it at distances that allowed surface characterization and monitoring at submeter scales. From December 2014 to June 2016, numerous localized changes were observed, which we attribute to cometary-specific weathering, erosion, and transient events driven by exposure to sunlight and other processes. While the localized changes suggest compositional or physical heterogeneity, their scale has not resulted in substantial alterations to the comet’s landscape. This suggests that most of the major landforms were created early in the comet’s current orbital configuration. They may even date from earlier if the comet had a larger volatile inventory, particularly of CO or CO₂ ices, or contained amorphous ice, which could have triggered activity at greater distances from the Sun.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Elmaarry, Mohamed Ramy; Thomas, Nicolas; Rodrigo, Rafael and Pommerol, Antoine


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering




American Association for the Advancement of Science




Dora Ursula Zimmerer

Date Deposited:

14 Nov 2017 16:28

Last Modified:

14 Nov 2017 16:35

Publisher DOI:





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