Determination of lunar ilmenite abundance from remotely sensed dataOf fundamental importance in the utilization of indigenous resources for a future permanently manned lunar base is the identification and mapping of the abundance distribution of the mineral ilmenite, which is currently considered the most readily identifiable and most easily accessible source of oxygen needed for human consumables and spacecraft propellant. Solid state detector array technology now permits the use of ground based multispectral remote sensing techniques to produce maps with better than one kilometer spatial resolution and uncertainties of about two weight-percent TiO2 abundance. An empirical relationship between the weight-percent abundance of titanium dioxide and the 400/560 nm spectral ratio measured in returned lunar samples was used. Because this abundance correlation is valid only for mature lunar mare regolith, the distribution of immature mafic minerals which were found to be correlated primarily with steep slopes exposing bedrock was qualitatively mapped. The first mapping phase focused on the entire lunar nearside at 5.3 km per pixel, and on experiments with more sensitive spectral ratios. Relative spectrophotometry was employed to aid in identifying wavelengths that provide greater spectral contrast. It was found that the 400/730 nm ratio improved the abundance sensitivity by 37 percent, while the 950/730 nm ratio improved mafic mineral contrast about 100 percent. The second mapping phase utilized a large experimental CCD at 280 m per pixel to map the high titanium regions identified in the phase one mapping. The high resolution maps provide data on the small scale (500 m) variations in abundance and their relationship to morphological units.
Larson, S. M. (Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Melendrez, D. E. (Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Johnson, J. R. (Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Singer, R. B. (Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ, United States)
September 6, 2013
January 1, 1992
Publication: NASA Space Engineering Research Center for Utilization of Local Planetary Resources