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Color, Composition, and Thermal Environment of Kuiper Belt Object (486958) Arrokoth

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Monday, February 17, 2020

W.M. Grundy, M.K. Bird, D.T. Britt, J.C. Cook, D.P. Cruikshank, C.J.A. Howett, S. Krijt, I.R. Linscott, C.B. Olkin, A.H. Parker, S. Protopapa, M. Ruaud, O.M. Umurhan, L.A. Young, C.M. Dalle Ore, J.J. Kavelaars, J.T. Keane, Y.J. Pendleton, S.B. Porter, F. Scipioni, J.R. Spencer, S.A. Stern, A.J. Verbiscer, H.A. Weaver, R.P. Binzel, M.W. Buie, B.J. Buratti, A. Cheng, A.M. Earle, H.A. Elliott, L. Gabasova, G.R. Gladstone, M.E. Hill, M. Horanyi, D.E. Jennings, A.W. Lunsford, D.J. McComas, W.B. McKinnon, R.L. McNutt Jr., J.M. Moore, J.W. Parker, E. Quirico, D.C. Reuter, P.M. Schenk, B. Schmitt, M.R. Showalter, K.N. Singer, G.E. Weigle II, A.M. Zangari

(Submitted on 17 Feb 2020)

The outer Solar System object (486958) Arrokoth (provisional designation 2014 MU69) has been largely undisturbed since its formation. We study its surface composition using data collected by the New Horizons spacecraft. Methanol ice is present along with organic material, which may have formed through radiation of simple molecules. Water ice was not detected. This composition indicates hydrogenation of carbon monoxide-rich ice and/ or energetic processing of methane condensed on water ice grains in the cold, outer edge of the early Solar System. There are only small regional variations in color and spectra across the surface, suggesting Arrokoth formed from a homogeneous or well-mixed reservoir of solids. Microwave thermal emission from the winter night side is consistent with a mean brightness temperature of 29±5 K.

Comments: 31 pages, 8 figures

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)

DOI: 10.1126/science.aay3705

Cite as: arXiv:2002.06720 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2002.06720v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Will Grundy]

[v1] Mon, 17 Feb 2020 00:08:50 UTC (1,900 KB)

https://arxiv.org/abs/2002.06720

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