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Comets and Chemical Composition

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It is commonly believed that comets are made of primordial material. As a consequence, they can reveal more information about the origin of our solar system. To interpret the coma composition measurements of comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko that will be collected by the Rosetta mission, models of the coma chemistry have to be constructed. However, programming the chemistry of a cometary coma is extremely complex due to the large number of species and reactions involved. Moreover, such a program needs to be very flexible as one may want to extend, change, or update the set of species, reactions, and reaction rates. Therefore, we developed software to manage a database of species and reactions and to generate code automatically to compute source/loss balances. This database includes the data from the UMIST database and the ion–molecule reactions collected by V.G. Anicich. To use all these databases together, a lot of practical problems need to be solved, but the result is an enormous source of information about chemical reactions that can be used in chemical models, not only for comets but also for other applications.

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Correspondence to S. N. Delanoye.

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Delanoye, S.N., De Keyser, J. Comets and Chemical Composition. Space Sci Rev 130, 73–78 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11214-007-9210-6

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  • Comets: chemical modeling
  • Comets: database