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Enstatite chondrites and achondrites as asteroidal resourcesThe highly reduced nature of the enstatite meteorites (chondrites and achondrites) differs from that of all other types of stony meteorites. The silicates in the enstatite meteorites contain almost no FeO. In addition, many normally lithophile elements such as Na, Ca, Mg, Cr, and Ti display chalcophilic behavior. A study of the chemistry and mineralogy of the enstatite meteorites was undertaken to determine their resource potential. On average, about 99 percent of the volume of an enstatite achondrite, or aubrite, consists of only four silicate minerals: enstatite, Na-rich plagioclase, diopside, and forsterite, with enstatite being by far the most abundant mineral. The remaining one percent of the volume consists of troilite, kamacite, and trace amounts of oldhamite, daubreelite, ferromagnesian albandite, and schreibersite. Thus, the aubrites can be considered as a possible source for large quantities of Mg, Si, and O, but are of little interest as a source of anything else. The enstatite chondrites appear to be more promising candidates for resource utilization. The chondrites are generally divided into two groups: EH (high iron, fine-grained, with abundant chondrules); and EL (low iron, coarse-grained, with little or no evidence of chondrules). Metallic Ni-Fe makes up roughly 20-25 weight percent of each type of enstatite chondrite. These meteorites are also a good source of nitrogen. This is due in part to the presence of osbornite and sinoite. The latter mineral is restricted to EL chondrites, which typically have a higher bulk nitrogen content than the EH chondrites. Three valuable metals, Cr, Mn, and Ti, are concentrated in a few distinct sulfide phases in the enstatite chondrites. These sulfide phases are troilite and niningerite in EH chondrites and troilite, daubreelite, and ferroan alabandite in EL chondrites.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Hutson, M. L.
(Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Lewis, John S.
(Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: Resources of Near-Earth Space: Abstracts
Subject Category
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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