On Dune(s)

Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS

Researchers in France have explained the large dune-like patterns found on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Images collected by the now-retired Rosetta probe and its OIRIS camera revealed the presence of dune-like patterns on the comet’s two lobes and the neck connecting them. Images of the same location, photographed at different times, showed the dunes are on the move.

Dune formation requires two ingredients: sediment grains and wind. Previous studies have proven comet 67P’s surface to be covered in a layer of loose, dusty sediment.

Now, new research suggests temperature and pressure differences between the sunlit and shadowed sides of the comet are significant enough to drive dune-forming winds. … (UPI)

Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS

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