Note: This question is related to Average DeltaV applied to a comet during outgassing?

Rocket engines have a parameter called "specific impulse," which is the measurement (in seconds) of how efficient the propellant consumption is. As comets propel themselves via geysers near perihelion, I am wondering how efficient this process is in terms of specific impulse. Has this been directly measured?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "how efficient" it is, or by "comets propel themselves"? Neither of these is clear. Comets outgas. It causes velocity changes. But efficiency - how would you define it? $\endgroup$
    – Rory Alsop
    Nov 12 '21 at 17:24
  • $\begingroup$ @RoryAlsop See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_impulse, how much mass is ejected per unit velocity change. $\endgroup$ Nov 12 '21 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ I don't have any misunderstanding as to what specific impulse is. But what does your question mean? What are you trying to ask? $\endgroup$
    – Rory Alsop
    Nov 12 '21 at 18:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Since $v_e = g_0 I_{sp}$ this is equivalent to asking what the effective velocity of cometary outgassing is and avoid the confusion with rockets. You could just as for typical or average velocity. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Nov 14 '21 at 10:50
  • $\begingroup$ It's been modeled link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s10569-020-09973-5.pdf not sure if it's ever been measured. $\endgroup$ Nov 14 '21 at 13:17

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