Learn More
Context. Following the postponement of the launch of the Rosetta spacecraft scheduled in January 2003, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko emerged as the most suitable new target. However a critical issue was the size, that is, the mass of its nucleus, as the surface module Philae was designed to land on a nucleus with a radius no larger than approximately 1.5(More)
The OSIRIS cameras (optical, spectroscopic, and infrared remote imaging system) onboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft observed comet 9P/Tempel 1 for 17 days continuously around the time of NASA's Deep Impact mission. The cyanide-to-water production ratio was slightly enhanced in the impact cloud, compared with that of normal comet activity.(More)
Comets spend most of their life in a low-temperature environment far from the Sun. They are therefore relatively unprocessed and maintain information about the formation conditions of the planetary system, but the structure and composition of their nuclei are poorly understood. Although in situ and remote measurements have derived the global properties of(More)
Images obtained by the Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS) cameras onboard the Rosetta spacecraft reveal that asteroid 21 Lutetia has a complex geology and one of the highest asteroid densities measured so far, 3.4 ± 0.3 grams per cubic centimeter. The north pole region is covered by a thick layer of regolith, which is seen(More)
The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission encountered the main-belt asteroid (2867) Steins while on its way to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Images taken with the OSIRIS (optical, spectroscopic, and infrared remote( )imaging system) cameras on board Rosetta show that Steins is an oblate body with an effective spherical diameter of 5.3(More)
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(More)
Calculations of water production rates and temperatures for rotating irregularly shaped bodies with and without topography are presented. These calculations are compared with the case of a spherical nucleus. For any combination of orbital parameters, rotation axis orientation, spin period, and physical properties of the nucleus (geometric albedo,(More)
The Rosetta spacecraft has investigated comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from large heliocentric distances to its perihelion passage and beyond. We trace the seasonal and diurnal evolution of the colors of the 67P nucleus, finding changes driven by sublimation and recondensation of water ice. The whole nucleus became relatively bluer near perihelion, as(More)
Critical measurements for understanding accretion and the dust/gas ratio in the solar nebula, where planets were forming 4.5 billion years ago, are being obtained by the GIADA (Grain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator) experiment on the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Between 3.6 and 3.4 astronomical(More)
Images from the OSIRIS scientific imaging system onboard Rosetta show that the nucleus of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko consists of two lobes connected by a short neck. The nucleus has a bulk density less than half that of water. Activity at a distance from the Sun of >3 astronomical units is predominantly from the neck, where jets have been seen consistently.(More)