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

Elmaarry, Mohamed Ramy; Thomas, Nicolas; Gracia Berná, Antonio; Marschall, Raphael; Auger, A. T.; Groussin, O.; Mottola, S.; Pajola, M.; Massironi, M.; Marchi, S.; Hoefner, S.; Preusker, F.; Scholten, F.; Jorda, L.; Kuehrt, E.; Keller, H. U.; Sierks, H.; A'Hearn, M. F.; Barbieri, C.; Barucci, M. A.; ... (2015). Fractures on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko observed by Rosetta/OSIRIS. Geophysical Research Letters, 42(13), pp. 5170-5178. American Geophysical Union 10.1002/2015gl064500

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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 200K and thermal gradients of similar to 15K/min at perihelion are possible. Finally, we suggest that fractures could be a facilitator in surface evolution and long-term erosion.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Elmaarry, Mohamed Ramy; Thomas, Nicolas; Gracia Berná, Antonio; Marschall, Raphael and Pommerol, Antoine

Subjects:

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

ISSN:

0094-8276

Publisher:

American Geophysical Union

Language:

English

Submitter:

Katharina Weyeneth-Moser

Date Deposited:

14 Jun 2016 14:15

Last Modified:

14 Jun 2016 14:15

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/2015gl064500

Web of Science ID:

000358691300012

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.81655

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/81655

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