Active pits on Rosetta’s comet

Some of the dust jets emitted from Rosetta’s comet can be traced back to active pits on its surface. They could be the remnants of collapsed cavities

July 03, 2015

Cavities measuring up to a few hundred meters in diameter can be found under the surface of Rosetta’s comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. They can be instable and collapse in a kind of sinkhole process. This is the result of a new study led by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, which analyses images of the comet’s surface. The images show peculiar, pit-like recesses that are unlike ordinary craters and that emit dust and gas into space. In their study the researchers argue that these pits arise when cavities beneath the surface cave in. The results will be published this Thursday in the journal Nature.
 
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