Thermal inertia and roughness of the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from MIRO and VIRTIS observations
Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung,
2 Universität Göttingen, Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
3 Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, CNES, LAM, Marseille, France
4 Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Institut für Planetenforschung, Asteroiden und Kometen, Rutherfordstrasse 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany
5 Physikalisches Institut, Sidlerstr. 5, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
6 INAF–IAPS, Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, Rome, Italy
7 Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
8 National Central University, Graduate Institute of Astronomy, 300 Chung-Da Rd, 32054 Chung-Li, Taiwan
9 LESIA–Observatoire de Paris, CNRS, UPMC, Université Paris-Diderot, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France
10 International Space Science Institute, Hallerstraße 6, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Accepted: 8 May 2018
Aims. Using data from the Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, we evaluate the physical properties of the surface and subsurface of the nucleus and derive estimates for the thermal inertia (TI) and roughness in several regions on the largest lobe of the nucleus.
Methods. We have developed a thermal model to compute the temperature on the surface and in the uppermost subsurface layers of the nucleus. The model takes heat conduction, self-heating, and shadowing effects into account. To reproduce the brightness temperatures measured by the MIRO instrument, the thermal model is coupled to a radiative transfer model to derive the TI. To reproduce the spatially resolved infrared measurements of the VIRTIS instrument, the thermal model is coupled to a radiance model to derive the TI and surface roughness. These methods are applied to Rosetta data from September 2014.
Results. The resulting TI values from both instruments are broadly consistent with each other. From the millimetre channel on MIRO, we determine the TI in the subsurface to be <80 JK−1 m−2 s−0.5 for the Seth, Ash, and Aten regions. The submillimetre channel implies similar results but also suggests that higher values could be possible. A low TI is consistent with other MIRO measurements and in situ data from the MUPUS instrument at the final landing site of Philae. The VIRTIS results give a best-fitting value of 80 JK−1 m−2 s−0.5 and values in the range 40–160 JK−1 m−2 s−0.5 in the same areas. These observations also allow the subpixel scale surface roughness to be estimated and compared to images from the OSIRIS camera. The VIRTIS data imply that there is significant roughness on the infrared scale below the resolution of the available shape model and that, counter-intuitively, visually smooth terrain (centimetre scale) can be rough at small (micrometre–millimetre) scales, and visually rough terrain can be smooth at small scales.
Key words: comets: individual: 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko / planets and satellites: surfaces / instrumentation: spectrographs / methods: data analysis
© ESO 2018
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.