Large heterogeneities in comet 67P as revealed by active pits from sinkhole collapse

Vincent, Jean-Baptiste and Bodewits, Dennis and Besse, Sébastien and Sierks, Holger and Barbieri, Cesare and Lamy, Philippe and Rodrigo, Rafael and Koschny, Detlef and Rickman, Hans and Keller, Horst Uwe and Agarwal, Jessica and A'Hearn, Michael F. and Auger, Anne Thérese and Barucci, Antonella and Bertaux, Jean-Loup and Bertini, Ivano and Capanna, Claire and Cremonese, Gabriele and Da Deppo, Vania and Davidson, Björn and Debei, Stefano and De Cecco, Mariolino and El-Maarry, Mohamed Ramy and Ferri, Francesca and Fornasier, Sonia and Fulle, Marco and Gaskell, Robert and Giacomini, Lorenza and Giacomini, Olivier and Guilbert-Lepoutre, Aurélie and Gutierrez-Marques, P. and Gutiérrez, Pedro J. and Güttler, Caster and Hoekzem, Nick and Höfner, Sebastian and Hviid, Stubbe F. and Ip, Wing-Huen and Jorda, Laurent and Knollenberg, Jörg and Kovacs, Gabor and Kramm, Rainer and Kührt, Ekkehard and Küppers, Michael and La Forgia, Fiona and Lara, Luisa M. and Lazzarin, Monica and Lee, Vicky and Leyrat, Cédric and Lin, Zhong-Yi and Moreno, Josè J. Lopez and Lowry, S.C. and Magrin, Sara and Maquet, Lucie and Marchi, Simone and Marzari, Francesco and Massironi, Matteo and Michalik, Harald and Moissl, Richard and Mottola, Stefano and Naletto, Giampiero and Oklay, Nilda and Pajola, Maurizio and Preusjer, Frank and Scholten, Frank and Thomas, Nicolas and Toth, Imre and Tubiana, Cecilia (2015) Large heterogeneities in comet 67P as revealed by active pits from sinkhole collapse. Nature, 523 . pp. 63-66. ISSN 0028-0836. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/nature14564) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14564

Abstract

Pits have been observed on many cometary nuclei mapped by spacecraft. It has been argued that cometary pits are a signature of endogenic activity, rather than impact craters such as those on planetary and asteroid surfaces. Impact experiments and models cannot reproduce the shapes of most of the observed cometary pits, and the predicted collision rates imply that few of the pits are related to impacts. Alternative mechanisms like explosive activity have been suggested, but the driving process remains unknown. Here we report that pits on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko are active, and probably created by a sinkhole process, possibly accompanied by outbursts. We argue that after formation, pits expand slowly in diameter, owing to sublimation-driven retreat of the walls. Therefore, pits characterize how eroded the surface is: a fresh come- tary surface will have a ragged structure with many pits, while an evolved surface will look smoother. The size and spatial distribution of pits imply that large heterogeneities exist in the physical, structural or compositional properties of the first few hundred metres below the current nucleus surface.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy > QB651 Planets, Minor
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Physical Sciences > Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences
Depositing User: Stephen Lowry
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2015 13:40 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2015 10:01 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/53451 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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