Dunes on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Based on photographs of dune-like patterns on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a model suggests that the dunes are generated when vapor flow is emitted from the comet and spreads laterally along the comet’s surface owing to thermal winds, and that the winds are powerful enough to transport grains; the authors suggest that comets may provide insights into erosion and accretion on planetesimals.

Article #16-12176: “Giant ripples on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko sculpted by sunset thermal wind,” by Pan Jia, Bruno Andreotti, and Philippe Claudin.