Constraining the parameter space of comet simulation experiments

Kaufmann, Erika and Hagermann, Axel (2018). Constraining the parameter space of comet simulation experiments. Icarus, 311 pp. 105–112.



Our interpretation of the data returned by Rosetta and other cometary missions is based on the predictions of theoretical models and the results of laboratory experiments. For example, Kossacki et al. (2015) showed that 67P's surface hardness reported by Spohn et al. (2015) can be explained by sintering. The present work supports Rosetta's observations by investigating the hardening process of the near-surface layers and the change in surface morphology during insolation. In order to create as simple an analogue as possible our sample consists of pure, porous H2O ice and carbon black particles. The observations suggest that translucence of the near-surface ice is important for enabling subsurface hardening. As an end product of our experiments we also obtained carbon agglomerates with some residual strength.

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