Abstract & Final Report

After 2.5 years from the end of the mission, the data provided by the ESA/Rosetta mission still leads to important results about 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (hereafter 67P), belonging to the Jupiter Family Comets. Since comets are among the most primitive bodies of the Solar System, the understanding of their formation and evolution gives important clues about the early stages of our planetary system, including the scenarios of water delivery to Earth.

At the present state of knowledge, 67P’s activity has been characterized by measuring the physical properties of the gas and dust coma, by detecting water ice patches on the nucleus surface and by analyzing some peculiar events, such as outbursts.

This ISSI International Team aims at building a more complete scenario of the 67P activity during different stages of its orbit. The retrieved results in terms of dust emission, morphology and composition will be linked together in order to offer new insights about 67P formation and evolution.

In particular the main goals of the project are:

  1. Retrieval of the activity degree of different 67P geomorphological nucleus regions in different time periods, by reconstructing the motion of the dust particles revealed in the coma
  2. Identification of the main drivers of cometary activity, by studying the link between cometary activity and illumination/local time, dust morphology, surface geomorphology, dust composition.

The project will shed light on how (and if) cometary activity is related to surface geology and/or composition or is just driven by local illumination. The physical and compositional properties of the emitted dust give information about the state and the exposition time (i.e., on the evolution) of the surface and sub-surface layers where it is originated, and how they change during the comet orbit.

The Team will exploit the great amount of data provided by the ESA/Rosetta orbiter, in particular the GIADA dust detector, the VIRTIS imaging spectrometer, the OSIRIS camera, the MIDAS atomic force microscope and the COSIMA and ROSINA dust and gas mass spectrometers, respectively. Cross-correlation among these data will allow combining different pieces of information (dust composition and morphology, nucleus composition, emission rate, geology), which, thanks to the support of dust models and laboratory measurements of cometary analogs, will lead to our goals.

The proposing team is composed of members from teams of the above listed instruments and is strongly skilled in the analysis of Rosetta data.

The first four months of activity are dedicated to goal #1 [WP Traceback, Leader A. Longobardo] and will end with a summary meeting at ISSI facilities and an overview paper. A similar schedule is foreseen in the following 20 months for goal #2 [WP Data Fusion, Leader A. Longobardo], for which two meetings are planned. The ISSI support will be necessary and fundamental to organize meetings at ISSI facilities, which will allow a quick and effective interaction among the team members. The project goals are well in line with the ISSI scientific activities.


Read the full proposal

Final Team Meeting Report