Volume 630, October 2019
Rosetta mission full comet phase results
|Number of page(s)||14|
|Section||Planets and planetary systems|
|Published online||20 September 2019|
Effect of radiative heat transfer in porous comet nuclei: case study of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Institut für Geodäsie und Geoinformationstechnik, Technische Universität Berlin,
Straße des 17. Juni 135,
2 Institut für Geophysik und extraterrestrische Physik, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Mendelssohnstraße 3, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany
3 Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Accepted: 4 April 2019
Context. Radiative heat transfer occurs in a porous medium, such as regolith on planetary bodies. Radiation enhances the efficiency of heat transport through the subsurface, effecting a strong temperature dependence of thermal conductivity. However, this effect has been omitted in many studies of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P).
Aims. We concisely review the method for characterizing radiative heat transfer and present a generic treatment in thermal modeling. In particular, we study the impact of radiative heat transfer on 67P subject to both diurnal and seasonal variations of insolation.
Methods. We adapted a numerical model based on the Crank–Nicolson scheme to estimate the subsurface temperatures and water production rate of 67P, where conductivity may vary with depth.
Results. Radiative heat transfer is efficient during the day near the surface but it dicreases at night, which means that more energy is deposited underneath the diurnal thermal skin. The effect increases with pore size and accordingly, with the size of the constituent aggregates of the nucleus. It also intensifies with decreasing heliocentric distance. Close to perihelion, within 2 au, for example, radiation may raise the temperature by more than 20 K at a depth of 5 cm, compared with a purely conductive nucleus. If the nucleus is desiccated and composed of centimeter-sized aggregates, the subsurface at 0.5 m may be warmed to above 180 K.
Conclusions. Radiative heat transfer is not negligible if the nucleus of 67P consists of aggregates that measure millimeters or larger. To distinguish its role and ascertain the pore size of the subsurface, measurements of temperatures from a depth of ~1 cm down to several decimeters are most diagnostic. The water production rate of the nucleus, on the other hand, does not provide a useful constraint.
Key words: radiation mechanisms: thermal / methods: numerical / comets: general / minor planets, asteroids: general / comets: individual: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
© ESO 2019
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