Comets and Asteroids

Laboratory Experiments To Understand Comets

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
August 23, 2023
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Laboratory Experiments To Understand Comets
Setups for astrochemistry of (pre-)cometary ices analogues, deposited as thin (nm-µm) layers. (a) Ultra-high vacuum and cryogenic setup, with sample monitoring by infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry (Lauck et al. 2015). (b) Another setup, with UV irradiation of the sample (Oba et al. 2017). Various irradiation and monitoring techniques can be used. (c) Refractory organic residue on a sample substrate (Auge et al. ´ 2016). Reproduced by permission of the AAS. — astro-ph.IM

In order to understand the origin and evolution of comets, one must decipher the processes that formed and processed cometary ice and dust. Cometary materials have diverse physical and chemical properties and are mixed in various ways.

Laboratory experiments are capable of producing simple to complex analogues of comet-like materials, measuring their properties, and simulating the processes by which their compositions and structures may evolve. The results of laboratory experiments are essential for the interpretations of comet observations and complement theoretical models.

They are also necessary for planning future missions to comets. This chapter presents an overview of past and ongoing laboratory experiments exploring how comets were formed and transformed, from the nucleus interior and surface, to the coma. Throughout these sections, the pending questions are highlighted, and the perspectives and prospects for future experiments are discussed.

Olivier Poch, Antoine Pommerol, Nicolas Fray, Bastian Gundlach

Comments: 36 pages, 13 figures, Chapter accepted for publication on February 24th 2023, now in press for the book Comets III, edited by K. Meech, M. Combi, D. Bockelee-Morvan, S. Raymond and M. Zolensky, University of Arizona Press
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)
Cite as: arXiv:2308.11338 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2308.11338v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
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Submission history
From: Olivier Poch
[v1] Tue, 22 Aug 2023 10:33:48 UTC (4,848 KB)
Astrobiology, Astrochemistry,

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