Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the most abundant species in cometary nuclei, but because of its high volatility, CO2 ice is generally only found beneath the surface. We report the infrared spectroscopic identification of a CO2 ice-rich surface area located in the Anhur region of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Spectral modeling shows that about 0.1% of the 80- by 60-meter area is CO2 ice. This exposed ice was observed a short time after the comet exited local winter; following the increased illumination, the CO2 ice completely disappeared over about 3 weeks.We estimate the mass of the sublimated CO2 ice and the depth of the eroded surface layer. We interpret the presence of CO2 ice as the result of the extreme seasonal changes induced by the rotation and orbit of the comet.
|Number of pages||4|
|State||Published - 23 Dec 2016|