Geologic mapping of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s Northern hemisphere

Giacomini, L.;Massironi, M.;El-Maarry, M. R.;Penasa, L.;Pajola, M.;Thomas, N.;Lowry, S. C.;Barbieri, C.;Cremonese, G.;Ferri, F.;Naletto, G.;Bertini, I.;La Forgia, F.;Lazzarin, M.;Marzari, F.;Sierks, H.;Lamy, P. L.;Rodrigo, R.;Rickman, H.;Koschny, D.;Keller, H. U.;Agarwal, J.;A’Hearn, M. F.;Auger, A. -T.;Barucci, M. A.;Bertaux, J. -L.;Besse, S.;Bodewits, D.;Da Deppo, V.;Davidsson, B.;De Cecco, M.;Debei, S.;Fornasier, S.;Fulle, M.;Groussin, O.;Gutierrez, P. J.;Güttler, C.;Hviid, S. F.;Ip, W. -H.;Jorda, L.;Knollenberg, J.;Kovacs, G.;Kramm, J. -R.;Kührt, E.;Küppers, M.;Lara, L. M.;Moreno, J. J. Lopez;Magrin, S.;Michalik, H.;Oklay, N.;Pommerol, A.;Preusker, F.;Scholten, F.;Tubiana, C.;Vincent, J. -B. 2016. Geologic mapping of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s Northern hemisphere. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 462, S352-S369, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stw2848

The Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS), the scientific imaging system onboard the Rosetta mission, has been acquiring images of the nucleus of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko since 2014 August with a resolution which allows a detailed analysis of its surface. Indeed, data reveal a complex surface morphology which is likely the expression of different processes which occurred at different times on the cometary nucleus. In order to characterize these different morphologies and better understand their distribution, we performed a geologic mapping of comet’s 67P Northern hemisphere in which features have been distinguished based on their morphological, textural and stratigraphic characteristics. For this purpose, we used narrow-angle camera images acquired in 2014 August and September with a spatial scale ranging from 1.2 to 2.4 m pixel(-1). Several different geologic units have been identified on the basis of their different surface textures, granulometry and morphology. Some of these units are distinctive and localized, whereas others are more common and distributed all over the Northern hemisphere. Moreover, different types of linear features have been distinguished on the basis of their morphology. Some of these lineaments have never been observed before on a comet and can offer important clues on the internal structures of the nucleus itself. The geologic mapping results presented here will allow us to better understand the processes which affected the nucleus’ surface and thus the origin and evolutionary history of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

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