Inventory of the volatiles on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Rosetta/ROSINA

Le Roy, Léna; Altwegg, Kathrin; Balsiger, Hans; Berthelier, Jean-Jacques; Bieler, André; Briois, Christelle; Calmonte, Ursina Maria; Combi, Michael R.; De Keyser, Johan; Dhooghe, Frederik; Fiethe, Björn; Fuselier, Stephen A.; Gasc, Sébastien; Gombosi, Tamas I.; Hässig, Myrtha; Jäckel, Annette; Rubin, Martin; Tzou, Chia-Yu (2015). Inventory of the volatiles on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Rosetta/ROSINA. Astronomy and astrophysics, 583, A1. EDP Sciences 10.1051/0004-6361/201526450

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Context. The ESA Rosetta spacecraft (S/C) is tracking comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in close vicinity. This prolonged encounter enables studying the evolution of the volatile coma composition.

Aims. Our work aims at comparing the diversity of the coma of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at large heliocentric distance to study the evolution of the comet during its passage around the Sun and at trying to classify it relative to other comets.

Methods. We used the Double Focussing Mass Spectrometer (DFMS) of the ROSINA experiment on ESA’s Rosetta mission to determine relative abundances of major and minor volatile species. This study is restricted to species that have previously been detected elsewhere.

Results. We detect almost all species currently known to be present in cometary coma with ROSINA DFMS. As DFMS measured the composition locally, we cannot derive a global abundance, but we compare measurements from the summer and the winter hemisphere with known abundances from other comets. Differences between relative abundances between summer and winter hemispheres are large, which points to a possible evolution of the cometary surface. This comet appears to be very rich in CO2 and ethane. Heavy oxygenated compounds such as ethylene glycol are underabundant at 3 AU, probably due to their high sublimation temperatures, but nevertheless, their presence proves that Kuiper belt comets also contain complex organic molecules.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Le Roy, Léna; Altwegg, Kathrin; Balsiger, Hans; Bieler, André; Calmonte, Ursina Maria; Gasc, Sébastien; Hässig, Myrtha; Jäckel, Annette; Rubin, Martin and Tzou, Chia-Yu


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering
500 Science > 530 Physics




EDP Sciences




Martin Rubin

Date Deposited:

13 Jun 2016 15:36

Last Modified:

28 Nov 2020 02:26

Publisher DOI:





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