Rosetta/VIRTIS-M spectral data: Comet 67P/CG compared to other primitive small bodies.

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Maria Cristina De Sanctis1, Fabrizio Capaccioni1, Gianrico Filacchione1, Stephan Erard2, Federico Tosi1, Mauro Ciarniello1, Andrea Raponi1, Giuseppe Piccioni1, Cedric Leyrat2, Dominique Bockelée-Morvan2, Pierre Drossart2 and Sonia Fornasier2, (1)IAPS-INAF, Rome, Italy, (2)LESIA Observatoire de Paris, Meudon, France
VIRTIS-M, the Visible InfraRed Thermal Imaging Spectrometer, onboard the Rosetta Mission orbiter (Coradini et al., 2007) acquired data of the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in the 0.25-5.1 µm spectral range. The initial data, obtained during the first mission phases to the comet, allow us to derive albedo and global spectral properties of the comet nucleus as well as spectra of different areas on the nucleus.

The characterization of cometary nuclei surfaces and their comparison with those of related populations such as extinct comet candidates, Centaurs, near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), and primitive asteroids is critical to understanding the origin and evolution of small solar system bodies.

The acquired VIRTIS data are used to compare the global spectral properties of comet 67P/CG to published spectra of other cometary nuclei observed from ground or visited by space mission. Moreover, the spectra of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko are also compared to those of primitive asteroids and centaurs. The comparison can give us clues on the possible common formation and evolutionary environment for primitive asteroids, centaurs and Jupiter-family comets.

Authors acknowledge the funding from Italian and French Space Agencies.


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