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Processing of Cometary Grains at the Nucleus Surface

  • Max K. Wallis
  • Sirwan Al-Mufti
Conference paper

Abstract

Cometary material inevitably undergoes chemical changes before and on leaving the nucleus. In seeking to explain comets as the origin of many IDPs (interplanetary dust particles), an understanding of potential surface chemistry is vital. Grains are formed and transformed at the nucleus surface; much of the cometary volatiles may arise from the organic material. In cometary near-surface permafrost, one expects cryogenic chemistry with crystal growth and isotope. This could be the hydrous environment where IDPs form. Seasonal and geographic variations imply a range of environmental conditions and surface evolution. Interplanetary dust impacts and electrostatic forces also have roles in generating cometary dust. The absence of predicted cometary dust ‘envelopes’ is compatible with the wide range of particle structures and compositions. Study of IDPs would distinguish between this model and alternatives that see comets as aggregates of core-mantle grains built in interstellar clouds.

Keywords

Interstellar Cloud Interplanetary Dust Cometary Dust Nucleus Surface Dust Envelope 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Max K. Wallis
    • 1
  • Sirwan Al-Mufti
    • 1
  1. 1.School of MathematicsUniversity of Wales/CardiffWalesUK

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