Water vapor deposition from the inner gas coma onto the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Y. Liao*, R. Marschall, C. C. Su, Jong-Shinn Wu, I. L. Lai, O. Pinzon, N. Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Rosetta has detected water ice existing on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in various types of features. One of particular interest is the frost-like layer observed at the edge of receding shadows during the whole mission, interpreted as the recondensation of a thin layer of water ice. Two possible mechanisms, (1) subsurface ice sublimation and (2) gas coma deposition, have been proposed for producing this recondensation process and diurnal cycles of water ice. Previous studies have demonstrated both mechanisms based on simplified models. More precise and modern models are yet insufficient when addressing the gas-coma-deposition mechanism. We aim to study the recondensation from the inner water gas coma of the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko with more physical constraints including the OSIRIS images, nucleus shape model, and insolation conditions. We compute, for the first time, the backflux distributions from the coma with various boundary conditions. Numerical simulations of this gas-coma-deposition process show that the equivalent water ice deposition can be up to several microns in an hour of accumulation time close to the perihelion passage, which is comparable with the simulation results of the other subsurface-ice sublimation mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Comets: individual (67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko)
  • Methods: numerical


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