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Catalogue POP – Notice individuelle de publication

Capria Maria Teresa, Capaccioni Fabrizio, Filacchione Gianrico, Tosi Federico, De Sanctis Maria Cristina, Mottola Stefano, Ciarniello Mauro, Formisano Michelangelo, Longobardo Andrea, Migliorini Alessandra, Palomba Ernesto, Raponi Andrea, Kührt Ekkehard, Bockelée-Morvan Dominique, Erard Stéphane, Leyrat Cédric, Zinzi Angelo

How pristine is the interior of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko?

Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2017, vol. 469, pp. S685-S694

Référence DOI : 10.1093/mnras/stx2627
Référence ADS : 2017MNRAS.469S.685C

Résumé :

Comets are usually considered to be the most primitive bodies in the Solar System. The level of truth of this paradigm, however, is a matter of debate, especially if by primitive we mean that they represent a sample of intact, unprocessed material. We now have the possibility of analysing the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko with an unprecedented level of detail, but its interior remains largely unprobed and unknown. The questions we address in this paper concern the depth of the processed layers, and whether the comet nucleus, under these processed layers, is really representative of the original material. We applied the Rome model for the thermal evolution and differentiation of nuclei to give an estimation of the evolution and depth of the active layers and of the interplay between the erosion process and the penetration of the heat wave. In order to characterize the illumination regime and the activity on the nucleus, two locations with very different illumination histories were chosen for the simulation. For both locations, the bulk of the activity tends to be concentrated around the perihelion time, giving rise to a high erosion rate. As a consequence, the active layers tend to remain close to the surface, and the interior of the comet, below a layer of few tens of centimetres, can be considered as pristine.

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