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Applicant -- 67P's Surface and Layers and New Findings About Asteroid Bennu

Monday, April 29, 2019

The ESA/NASA's Rosetta escorted and observed Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from August 2014 to September 2016 along its orbit around the Sun from 4 AU pre-perihelion to 4 AU post-perihelion. The images of 67P from OSIRIS-Narrow Angle Camera and Wide Angle camera enable us to do detailed studies of the surface and compare it to other comet nuclei. First, we use disk-resolved photometry as a tool to study the geological evolution of cometary nuclei. We characterized smooth areas on 67P, and correlate them to the smooth areas on other comets. We performed an initial identification and preliminary characterization of smooth areas on 67P with Rosetta OSIRIS images, measuring their albedos, colors, phase functions, and compare them with those on other cometary nuclei, putting 67P into the context of other cometary nuclei. Second, we measure and analyze the layered structure on 67P's Hathor cliff and proposed a mechanism for its origin. Third, as a by-product of our researches, we will update the SPICE data and archive geometric backplane data for the visible images of comet 67P, 19P, 81P, 9P and 103P. Currently none of the comet mission datasets provide pixel-wise geometric backplane data (incidence angle, emission angle, phase angle and cometocentric coordinates). This project is going to save comet scientists who need to calculate the observing and illumination geometry for modeling and mapping purposes from going through tedious and redundant processes.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission is surveying the B-type near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu to understand its physical, mineralogical, and chemical properties. The spacecraft arrived at the asteroid on 3 December 2018 and will return to Earth with a surface sample on 24 September 2023. I'll briefly introduce what we have found and what I'm working on for this project.

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