Decay of COSAC and Ptolemy mass spectra at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
1 Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
2 Earth Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 2-12-1-IE-1 Ookayama, Meguro-ku, 152-8550 Tokyo, Japan
3 Department of Physical Sciences, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK
4 University of Bremen, Institute for Applied and Physical Chemistry, Leobener Str. 5, 28359 Bremen, Germany
5 German Aerospace Center, DLR, 51147 Cologne, Germany
6 Leiden Observatory, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
7 Space Policy Institute, George Washington University, 20052 Washington DC, USA
8 CREEST, Universities Space Research Association appointed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
9 PIIM, UMR 7345, Avenue Normandie-Niemen, 13013 Marseille, France
10 Space Technology Ireland, Ltd., Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland
11 LISA, UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris-Est Créteil & Université Paris-Diderot, 94000 Créteil, France
12 Univ. Versailles St.-Quentin, Sorbonne Univ., UPMC Univ. Paris 06; CNRS/INSU, LATMOS-IPSL, 4 place Jussieu 75005 Paris, France
Received: 19 December 2016
Accepted: 25 January 2017
Context. The Rosetta lander Philae successfully landed on the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 12 November 2014. Philae is equipped with two gas analysers: The Cometary Sampling and Composition experiment (COSAC) and the gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer Ptolemy.
Aims. COSAC is designed for in situ analysis of organic molecules on 67P while Ptolemy is optimised to measure ratios of stable isotopes.
Methods. On 12 to 14 November 2014, both instruments measured the organic composition of the comet nucleus material through seven measurements in sniffing mode during Philae’s hopping and at its final landing site Abydos. We compare the temporal evolution of intensities of several ion species identified by both mass spectrometers. For COSAC, this is the first analysis of the temporal behaviour of the measured ion species.
Results. All ion species showed the highest intensities in the first spectra measured by both instruments approximately 20 to 30 min after Philae’s first touchdown at Agilkia, and a decay during the six consecutive measurements at Abydos. Both instruments measured an almost identical decay of the water peak (m/z 18), and CO (m/z 28) behaved similarly. In the COSAC measurements, the peak at m/z 44 decays much slower than all the other ion species, including the water peak. In particular, the m/z 44 peak decays much slower in the COSAC measurements than in the Ptolemy data. This supports our earlier interpretation that COSAC analysed, for the first time, a regolith sample from a cometary nucleus in situ, while Ptolemy measured cometary gas from the ambient coma. The m/z 44 peak measured by COSAC was likely dominated by organic species, whereas the peak measured by Ptolemy was interpreted to be mostly due to CO2. Ion species heavier than m/z 30 tend to decay somewhat slower in the COSAC measurements than in the Ptolemy data, which may be related to differences in the exhaust designs between both instruments.
Key words: astrochemistry / comets: individual: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko / comets: general / astrobiology / space vehicles: instruments
© ESO, 2017