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Space Science Reviews

, 214:115 | Cite as

Origin of Molecular Oxygen in Comets: Current Knowledge and Perspectives

  • Adrienn Luspay-Kuti
  • Olivier Mousis
  • Jonathan I. Lunine
  • Yves Ellinger
  • Françoise Pauzat
  • Ujjwal Raut
  • Alexis Bouquet
  • Kathleen E. Mandt
  • Romain Maggiolo
  • Thomas Ronnet
  • Bastien Brugger
  • Ozge Ozgurel
  • Stephen A. Fuselier
Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Ices in the Solar System

Abstract

The Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) instrument onboard the Rosetta spacecraft has measured molecular oxygen (O2) in the coma of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G) in surprisingly high abundances. These measurements mark the first unequivocal detection of O2 in a cometary environment. The large relative abundance of O2 in 67P/C-G despite its high reactivity and low interstellar abundance poses a puzzle for its origin in comet 67P/C-G, and potentially other comets. Since its detection, there have been a number of hypotheses put forward to explain the production and origin of O2 in the comet. These hypotheses cover a wide range of possibilities from various in situ production mechanisms to protosolar nebula and primordial origins. Here, we review the O2 formation mechanisms from the literature, and provide a comprehensive summary of the current state of knowledge of the sources and origin of cometary O2.

Keywords

Molecular oxygen Comets Radiolysis Ice Astrobiology 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This review would not have been possible without the work of the many scientists, engineers, and technicians involved in the Rosetta mission, and of the ROSINA instrument and science team. A.L.-K. and K.E.M. acknowledge support from NASA grant 80NSSC18K1620. A.L.-K. and S.A.F. gratefully acknowledge support from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL), subcontract no. 1496541. The work by O.M., T.R., and B.B. was carried out thanks to the support of the A*MIDEX project (no. ANR-11-IDEX-0001-02) funded by the “Investissements d’Avenir” French government program, managed by the French National Research Agency. O.M. also acknowledges support from CNES (Centre National d’Études Spatiales). J.I.L. was a Moore Distinguished Scholar in Planetary Science at Caltech during the preparation of this chapter. The LCT team benefited from the support of the CNRS-INSU national program PCMI, and of the DIM ACAV+ regional program of Ile de France. A.B. is funded by the Cassini Project through JPL subcontract 1405853, and by the ROSINA project through JPL subcontract 129600. The work by K.E.M. was supported by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration JPL Subcontract 1585002. The work by R.M. was supported by the Belgian Science Policy Office via PRODEX/ROSINA PEA90020 and 400010770. The authors would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments, which helped improve this paper.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adrienn Luspay-Kuti
    • 1
  • Olivier Mousis
    • 2
  • Jonathan I. Lunine
    • 3
    • 8
  • Yves Ellinger
    • 4
  • Françoise Pauzat
    • 4
  • Ujjwal Raut
    • 5
  • Alexis Bouquet
    • 5
    • 6
  • Kathleen E. Mandt
    • 1
  • Romain Maggiolo
    • 7
  • Thomas Ronnet
    • 2
  • Bastien Brugger
    • 2
  • Ozge Ozgurel
    • 4
  • Stephen A. Fuselier
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Applied Physics LaboratoryJohns Hopkins UniversityLaurelUSA
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille, UMR CNRS 7326Aix-Marseille Université & OSU PythéasMarseilleFrance
  3. 3.Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary ScienceCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  4. 4.CNRS, Laboratoire de Chimie Théorique, LCTSorbonne UniversitéParisFrance
  5. 5.Department of Space ResearchSouthwest Research InstituteSan AntonioUSA
  6. 6.Department of Physics and AstronomyUniversity of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA
  7. 7.Royal Institute for Space AeronomyBrusselsBelgium
  8. 8.Division of Geological and Planetary SciencesCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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