124 results found
Bockelée-Morvan D, Filacchione G, Altwegg K, et al., 2019, AMBITION -- Comet nucleus cryogenic sample return (white paper for ESA's voyage 2050 programme), Publisher: arXiv
This white paper proposes that AMBITION, a Comet Nucleus Sample Returnmission, be a cornerstone of ESA's Voyage 2050 programme. We summarise some ofthe most important questions still open in cometary science after the successesof the Rosetta mission, many of which require sample analysis using techniquesthat are only possible in laboratories on Earth. We then summarisemeasurements, instrumentation and mission scenarios that can address thesequestions, with a recommendation that ESA select an ambitious cryogenic samplereturn mission. Rendezvous missions to Main Belt comets and Centaurs arecompelling cases for M-class missions, expanding our knowledge by exploring newclasses of comets. AMBITION would engage a wide community, drawing expertisefrom a vast range of disciplines within planetary science and astrophysics.With AMBITION, Europe will continue its leadership in the exploration of themost primitive Solar System bodies.
Thousands of exoplanets have now been discovered with a huge range of masses, sizes and orbits: from rocky Earth-like planets to large gas giants grazing the surface of their host star. However, the essential nature of these exoplanets remains largely mysterious: there is no known, discernible pattern linking the presence, size, or orbital parameters of a planet to the nature of its parent star. We have little idea whether the chemistry of a planet is linked to its formation environment, or whether the type of host star drives the physics and chemistry of the planet’s birth, and evolution. ARIEL was conceived to observe a large number (~1000) of transiting planets for statistical understanding, including gas giants, Neptunes, super-Earths and Earth-size planets around a range of host star types using transit spectroscopy in the 1.25–7.8 μm spectral range and multiple narrow-band photometry in the optical. ARIEL will focus on warm and hot planets to take advantage of their well-mixed atmospheres which should show minimal condensation and sequestration of high-Z materials compared to their colder Solar System siblings. Said warm and hot atmospheres are expected to be more representative of the planetary bulk composition. Observations of these warm/hot exoplanets, and in particular of their elemental composition (especially C, O, N, S, Si), will allow the understanding of the early stages of planetary and atmospheric formation during the nebular phase and the following few million years. ARIEL will thus provide a representative picture of the chemical nature of the exoplanets and relate this directly to the type and chemical environment of the host star. ARIEL is designed as a dedicated survey mission for combined-light spectroscopy, capable of observing a large and well-defined planet sample within its 4-year mission lifetime. Transit, eclipse and phase-curve spectroscopy methods, whereby the signal from the star and planet are differentiated using know
Hajra R, Henri P, Myllys M, et al., 2018, Cometary plasma response to interplanetary corotating interaction regions during 2016 June-September: a quantitative study by the Rosetta Plasma Consortium, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol: 480, Pages: 4544-4556, ISSN: 0035-8711
Four interplanetary corotating interaction regions (CIRs) were identified during 2016 June–September by the Rosetta Plasma Consortium (RPC) monitoring in situ the plasma environment of the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P) at heliocentric distances of ∼3–3.8 au. The CIRs, formed in the interface region between low- and high-speed solar wind streams with speeds of ∼320–400 km s−1 and ∼580–640 km s−1, respectively, are characterized by relative increases in solar wind proton density by factors of ∼13–29, in proton temperature by ∼7–29, and in magnetic field by ∼1–4 with respect to the pre-CIR values. The CIR boundaries are well defined with interplanetary discontinuities. Out of 10 discontinuities, four are determined to be forward waves and five are reverse waves, propagating at ∼5–92 per cent of the magnetosonic speed at angles of ∼20°–87° relative to ambient magnetic field. Only one is identified to be a quasi-parallel forward shock with magnetosonic Mach number of ∼1.48 and shock normal angle of ∼41°. The cometary ionosphere response was monitored by Rosetta from cometocentric distances of ∼4–30 km. A quiet time plasma density map was developed by considering dependences on cometary latitude, longitude, and cometocentric distance of Rosetta observations before and after each of the CIR intervals. The CIRs lead to plasma density enhancements of ∼500–1000 per cent with respect to the quiet time reference level. Ionospheric modelling shows that increased ionization rate due to enhanced ionizing (>12–200 eV) electron impact is the prime cause of the large cometary plasma density enhancements during the CIRs. Plausible origin mechanisms of the cometary ionizing electron enhancements are discussed.
Heritier K, Galand M, Henri P, et al., 2018, Plasma source and loss at comet 67P during the Rosetta mission, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Vol: 618, ISSN: 0004-6361
Context.The Rosetta spacecraft provided us with a unique opportunity to study comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from a closeperspective and over a two-year time period. Comet 67P is a weakly active comet. It was therefore unexpected to find an active anddynamic ionosphere where the cometary ions were largely dominant over the solar wind ions, even at large heliocentric distances.Aims.Our goal is to understand the different drivers of the cometary ionosphere and assess their variability over time and over thedifferent conditions encountered by the comet during the Rosetta mission.Methods.We used a multi-instrument data-based ionospheric model to compute the total ion number density at the position ofRosetta. In-situ measurements from the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) and the Rosetta PlasmaConsortium (RPC)–Ion and Electron Sensor (IES), together with the RPC–LAngmuir Probe instrument (LAP) were used to computethe local ion total number density. The results are compared to the electron densities measured by RPC–Mutual Impedance Probe(MIP) and RPC–LAP.Results.We were able to disentangle the physical processes responsible for the formation of the cometary ions throughout thetwo-year escort phase and we evaluated their respective magnitudes. The main processes are photo-ionization and electron-impactionization. The latter is a significant source of ionization at large heliocentric distance (>2 au) and was predominant during the lastfour months of the mission. The ionosphere was occasionally subject to singular solar events, temporarily increasing the ambientenergetic electron population. Solar photons were the main ionizer near perihelion at 1.3 au from the Sun, during summer 2015.
Heritier KL, Altwegg K, Berthelier J-J, et al., 2018, On the origin of molecular oxygen in cometary comae, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2041-1723
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