Geomorphology of the Imhotep region on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from OSIRIS observations
Publication date: 13 May 2015
Authors: Auger, A.-T., et al.
Journal: Astronomy & Astrophysics
Copyright: ESO 2015
Accepted for publication: 12 May 2015
Context. Since August 2014, the OSIRIS Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) onboard the Rosetta spacecraft has acquired high spatial resolution images of the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, down to the decimeter scale. This paper focuses on the Imhotep region, located on the largest lobe of the nucleus, near the equator.
Aims. We map, inventory, and describe the geomorphology of the Imhotep region. We propose and discuss some processes to explain the formation and ongoing evolution of this region.
Methods. We used OSIRIS NAC images, gravitational heights and slopes, and digital terrain models to map and measure the morphologies of Imhotep.
Results. The Imhotep region presents a wide variety of terrains and morphologies: smooth and rocky terrains, bright areas, linear features, roundish features, and boulders. Gravity processes such as mass wasting and collapse play a significant role in the geomorphological evolution of this region. Cometary processes initiate erosion and are responsible for the formation of degassing conduits that are revealed by elevated roundish features on the surface. We also propose a scenario for the formation and evolution of the Imhotep region; this implies the presence of large primordial voids inside the nucleus, resulting from its formation process.