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  The Philae lander reveals low-strength primitive ice inside cometary boulders

O’Rourke, L., Heinisch, P., Blum, J., Fornasier, S., Filacchione, G., Van Hoang, H., et al. (2020). The Philae lander reveals low-strength primitive ice inside cometary boulders. Nature, 586(7831), 697-701. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2834-3.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-5AC2-9 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-5AC3-8
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
O’Rourke, L., Author
Heinisch, P., Author
Blum, J., Author
Fornasier, S., Author
Filacchione, G., Author
Van Hoang, H., Author
Ciarniello, M., Author
Raponi, A., Author
Gundlach, B., Author
Blasco, R.A., Author
Grieger, B., Author
Glassmeier, K.-H., Author
Küppers, M., Author
Rotundi, A., Author
Groussin, O., Author
Bockelée-Morvan, D., Author
Auster, H.-U., Author
Oklay, N., Author
Paar, G., Author
Perucha, M.P.C., Author
Kovacs, G., AuthorJorda, L., AuthorVincent, J.-B., AuthorCapaccioni, F., AuthorBiver, N., AuthorParker, J.W., AuthorTubiana, Cecilia1, Author              Sierks, Holger1, Author               more..
Affiliations:
1Department Planets and Comets, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Society, ou_1832288              

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 Abstract: On 12 November 2014, the Philae lander descended towards comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, bounced twice off the surface, then arrived under an overhanging cliff in the Abydos region. The landing process provided insights into the properties of a cometary nucleus1,2,3. Here we report an investigation of the previously undiscovered site of the second touchdown, where Philae spent almost two minutes of its cross-comet journey, producing four distinct surface contacts on two adjoining cometary boulders. It exposed primitive water ice—that is, water ice from the time of the comet’s formation 4.5 billion years ago—in their interiors while travelling through a crevice between the boulders. Our multi-instrument observations made 19 months later found that this water ice, mixed with ubiquitous dark organic-rich material, has a local dust/ice mass ratio of 2.3+0.2−0.16:1, matching values previously observed in freshly exposed water ice from outbursts4 and water ice in shadow. At the end of the crevice, Philae made a 0.25-metre-deep impression in the boulder ice, providing in situ measurements confirming that primitive ice has a very low compressive strength (less than 12 pascals, softer than freshly fallen light snow) and allowing a key estimation to be made of the porosity (75 ± 7 per cent) of the boulders’ icy interiors. Our results provide constraints for cometary landers seeking access to a volatile-rich ice sample.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2834-3
 Degree: -

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Title: Nature
  Abbreviation : Nature
Source Genre: Journal
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Affiliations:
Publ. Info: London : Nature Publishing Group
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 586 (7831) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 697 - 701 Identifier: ISSN: 0028-0836
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925427238