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Microchemical and Structural Evidence for Space Weathering in Soils from Asteroid Itokawa
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Author and Affiliation:
Thompson, M. S.(Arizona Univ., Lunar and Planetary Lab. Dept. of Planetary Sciences, Tucson, AZ, United States);
Christoffersen, R.(NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United States);
Zega, T. J.(Arizona Univ., Lunar and Planetary Lab. Dept. of Planetary Sciences, Tucson, AZ, United States)
Abstract: The chemistry, microstructure and optical properties of grains on the surfaces of airless bodies are continu-ously modified due to their interactions predominantly with solar energetic ions and micrometeorite impacts. Collectively known as space weathering, this phenomenon results in a discrepancy between remotely sensed spectra from asteroids and those ac-quired directly from meteorites. The return of pristine samples from the asteroid Itokawa provides insight into surface processes on airless bodies and will help in correlating remote sensing data with laboratory analysis of meteorites. Samples and Methods: We examined Itokawa samples RA-QD02-0042-01 and RA-QD-02-0042-02, ultramicrotomed sec-tions of a singular grain prepared by the Hayabusa sample cura-tion team. We analyzed these slices using a 200 keV JEOL 2010F transmission electron microscope (TEM) at Arizona State Uni-versity and a 200 keV JEOL 2500SE TEM at NASA JSC. Both field emission TEMs are equipped with energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometers (EDS) and scanning TEM (STEM) detectors. Results and Discussion: TEM observations reveal that the sectioned grain predominantly consists of a single crystal of low-Ca orthopyroxene, with subsidiary smaller regions of olivine, Fe-Ni sulfide, and Fe-Ni metal. EDS-spectrum imaging and high-resolution TEM (HRTEM) show local, nanocrystalline regions of the outermost 2 to 5 nm of the pyroxene are composed of an Fe-Mg-S-rich and Si- and O-depleted layer that is underlain by a 2- to 5-nm thick amorphous zone enriched in Si. These layers occur in multiple microtome slices and have uniform thicknesses. We also observe localized 'islands' of material on the surface of the pyroxene which HRTEM imaging indicates are amorphous and EDS measurements show are compositionally heterogeneous. A 10- to 60-nm thick partially amorphous zone occurs below the compositionally distinct rim. While this this zone is associated with the compositionally heterogeneous outer layer, it also occurs as a local stand-alone feature on the exterior rim of the grain. Ar-eas of the pyroxene grain rim also exhibit a vesicular texture. The TEM data indicate a complex history of space weather-ing for samples RA-QD02-0042-01 and -02. The outermost layer of nanocrystalline material with varied composition is consistent with previously suggested [3-4] chemical and structural pro-cessing by solar wind ions, with a possible additional role for im-pact vapor deposition [3-4]. The amorphous and compositionally distinct islands on the surface of this grain, similar to lunar glasses, suggest formation through vapor deposition via micrometeor-ite impact events. In comparison, the amorphization and vesicula-tion textures are likely a product of radiation damage from the solar wind. The depth and degree of amorphization, in conjunction with model calculations, will help provide an upper limit on exposure time for these particles.
Publication Date: Oct 16, 2013
Document ID:
20140002417
(Acquired Mar 28, 2014)
Subject Category: LUNAR AND PLANETARY SCIENCE AND EXPLORATION; GEOPHYSICS; CHEMISTRY AND MATERIALS (GENERAL)
Report/Patent Number: JSC-CN-29412
Document Type: Conference Paper
Meeting Information: Hayabusa 2013 Symposium of Solar System Materials; 16-18 Oct. 2013; Sagamihara; Japan
Meeting Sponsor: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency; Tokyo, Japan
Financial Sponsor: NASA Johnson Space Center; Houston, TX, United States
Description: 1p; In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: Copyright; Distribution as joint owner in the copyright
NASA Terms: METEORITE COLLISIONS; SPACE WEATHERING; MICROSTRUCTURE; REMOTE SENSING; GRANULAR MATERIALS; GEOCHEMISTRY; SOILS; ASTEROIDS; TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY; NANOCRYSTALS; OPTICAL PROPERTIES; IMAGING TECHNIQUES
Availability Notes: Abstract Only
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