Constraints from Comets on the Formation and Volatile Acquisition of the Planets and Satellites

K. E. Mandt, O. Mousis, B. Marty, T. Cavalié, W. Harris, P. Hartogh, K. Willacy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Comets play a dual role in understanding the formation and evolution of the solar system. First, the composition of comets provides information about the origin of the giant planets and their moons because comets formed early and their composition is not expected to have evolved significantly since formation. They, therefore serve as a record of conditions during the early stages of solar system formation. Once comets had formed, their orbits were perturbed allowing them to travel into the inner solar system and impact the planets. In this way they contributed to the volatile inventory of planetary atmospheres. We review here how knowledge of comet composition up to the time of the Rosetta mission has contributed to understanding the formation processes of the giant planets, their moons and small icy bodies in the solar system. We also discuss how comets contributed to the volatile inventories of the giant and terrestrial planets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-342
Number of pages46
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Atmospheres
  • Comets
  • Giant planets
  • Moon formation
  • Solar system formation
  • Terrestrial planets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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