On the attempts to measure water (and other volatiles) directly at the surface of a comet

Wright, I. P.; Sheridan, S.; Morgan, G. H.; Barber, S. J. and Morse, A. D. (2017). On the attempts to measure water (and other volatiles) directly at the surface of a comet. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 375(2094), article no. 20150385.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2015.0385

Abstract

The Ptolemy instrument on the Philae lander (of the Rosetta space mission) was able to make measurements of the major volatiles, water, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, directly at the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. We give some background to the mission and highlight those instruments that have already given insights into the notion of water in comets, and which will continue to do so as more results are either acquired or more fully interpreted. On the basis of our results, we show how comets may in fact be heterogeneous over their surface, and how surface measurements can be used in a quest to comprehend the daily cycles of processes that affect the evolution of comets.

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