Ying Liao (Origin Space/NCU); Ian Lin Lai (University of Bern); Liang Liang Yu (Macau University of Science and Technology); Wing Huen Ip (NCU)
Comet 133P/Elst-Pizarro is the first discovered and one of the best-characterized main-belt comets. As officially selected as a prime target of the first Chinese small-body mission, models investigating 133P’s activity and the near-nucleus environment by integrating our knowledge of previous missions and observations would be very useful in the mission planning and instrument designs. Here we present comprehensive simulations from models representing 133P’s thermal, gas, and dust environments by considering different initial conditions such as spin axes, activity distributions, and orbital positions. Results show that different spin axes and orbital positions alter the surface temperature dramatically but hardly affects the subsurface temperature. In addition, local outgassing activities possibly driven by the exposed ice patches on the nucleus surface may be a better explanation for 133P's behavior given certain constraints derived from previous observations.