Gas and Dust Activity of the Nucleus of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Some Preliminary Results
The planning of planetary missions and the operations preparation of the instruments payload require a knowledge as much as possible accurate of the target. This knowledge cannot be obtained only from ground based observations and can be integrated by theoretical models. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is the current selected target for the ESA ROSETTA mission. Presently, little is known about this comet, but the successful design of the mission, and in particular of the operations of the on-board scientific instruments, requires some preliminary knowledge of the comet physical parameters, such as surface temperature, percentage of active surface, intensity of gas and dust fluxes, and so on. These quantities cannot be determined only through ground-based observations, so predictive models of the thermal evolution and differentiation of a cometary nucleus can be used. We present here the results of the application of the nucleus evolution model developed at the IASF in Rome to the simulation of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This nucleus model, used as a help in the planning of the VIRTIS instrument operations on Rosetta, is a one-dimensional model giving gas and dust fluxes, evolution of temperatures and composition along the orbit.
KeywordsComet Nucleus Kuiper Belt Dust Production Perihelion Distance Dust Flux
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