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Session 42 - Solar Systems.
Display session, Tuesday, January 16
North Banquet Hall, Convention Center

[42.12] A Precollision Model of Gas Release from Comet P/Shoemaker--Levy 9

D. C. Boice, J. Benkhoff (SwRI)

The objective of this study is to characterize the gas release rates of the major volatile ices of comet P/Shoemaker--Levy 9 after breakup and prior to impact using a computer model of the surface layers of a cometary nucleus. We assume that the breakup exposes fresh surface regions undepleted in volatile ices and we investigate the time-dependent changes in the surface layers as they become depleted in volatiles prior to the collision and release gas into the coma. The surface layer model solves the one-dimensional, time-dependent mass and heat flux equations through a porous medium. The medium consists of dust and four volatile species. The comet is followed along its orbit and is allowed to rotate. The results of several comet simulations are presented to compare and contrast the effects model parameters, such as, dust-to-ice mass fraction, rotation state, mixing ratio of volatiles, on the dusty gas environment surrounding the fragments of comet P/Shoemaker--Levy 9.

This research was supported by the NSF Planetary Aeronomy Program.

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