Color, composition, and thermal environment of Kuiper Belt object (486958) Arrokoth

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. ScipioniJ. 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, 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, A. M. Zangari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The outer Solar System object (486958) Arrokoth (provisional designation 2014 MU69) has been largely undisturbed since its formation. We studied its surface composition using data collected by the New Horizons spacecraft. Methanol ice is present along with organic material, which may have formed through irradiation 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, which suggests that 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 kelvin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaay3705
JournalScience
Volume367
Issue number6481
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 28 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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    Grundy, W. M., Bird, M. K., Britt, D. T., Cook, J. C., Cruikshank, D. P., Howett, C. J. A., Krijt, S., Linscott, I. R., Olkin, C. B., Parker, A. H., Protopapa, S., Ruaud, M., Umurhan, O. M., Young, L. A., Dalle Ore, C. M., Kavelaars, J. J., Keane, J. T., Pendleton, Y. J., Porter, S. B., ... Zangari, A. M. (2020). Color, composition, and thermal environment of Kuiper Belt object (486958) Arrokoth. Science, 367(6481), [eaay3705]. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aay3705