Cosmochemical implications of CONSERT permittivity characterization of 67P/CG

A. Herique, W. Kofman, P. Beck, L. Bonal, I. Buttarazzi, Essam Heggy, J. Lasue, A. C. Levasseur-Regourd, E. Quirico, S. Zine

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Analysis of the propagation of the Comet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radiowave Transmission (CONSERT) signal throughout the small lobe of the 67P/CG nucleus has permitted us to deduce the real part of the permittivity, at a value of 1.27 ± 0.05. The first interpretation of this value, using the dielectric properties ofmixtures of ices (H2O, CO2), refractories (i.e. dust) and porosity, led to the conclusion that the comet porosity lies in the range 75-85 per cent. In addition, the dust-to-ice ratio was found to range between 0.4 and 2.6 and the permittivity of dust (including 30 per cent porosity) was determined to be lower than 2.9. This last value corresponds to a permittivity lower than 4 for a material without any porosity. This article is intended to refine the dust permittivity estimate by taking into account updated values of the nucleus densities and dust/ice ratio and to provide further insights into the nature of the constituents of comet 67P/CG. We adopted a systematic approach: determination of the dust permittivity as a function of the volume fraction of ice, dust and vacuum (i.e. porosity) and comparison with the permittivity of meteoritic, mineral and organic materials from literature and laboratory measurements. Then different composition models of the nuclei corresponding to cosmochemical end members of 67P/CG dust are tested. For each of these models, the location in the ice/dust/vacuum ternary diagram is calculated based on available dielectric measurements and confronted to the locus of 67P/CG. The number of compliant models is small and the cosmochemical implications of each of them is discussed, to conclude regarding a preferred model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S516-S532
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • Comets: general
  • Comets: individual: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
  • Solid state: refractory
  • Solid state: volatile
  • Techniques: radar astronomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Herique, A., Kofman, W., Beck, P., Bonal, L., Buttarazzi, I., Heggy, E., Lasue, J., Levasseur-Regourd, A. C., Quirico, E., & Zine, S. (2016). Cosmochemical implications of CONSERT permittivity characterization of 67P/CG. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 462, S516-S532.