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Optical effects of space weathering on lunar soils and the role of the finest fractionLunar soils represent a cumulative product of space weathering and as such they exhibit distinct optical alteration. In comparison to the optical properties of similar rock powders, lunar soils are darker, have weaker diagnostic absorption bands, and exhibit a characteristic red continuum slope between 0.3 and 4.5 microns. Well-developed (mature) lunar soils have a mean grain size of about 60 microns and may contain more than 50 percent agglutinates (complex, glass-welded aggregates) which were previously believed to be the principal carriers of optical alteration resulting from space weathering. A detailed analysis of the spectral reflectance properties of the bulk soil, size separates, and agglutinate separates of several Apollo and Luna soils has been undertaken to evaluate the validity of the agglutinate paradigm for optical effects of space weathering. The data and results are summarized here which indicate that the finest fraction of natural lunar soils, rather than larger complex agglutinates, carries the principal effects of optical alteration. Bidirectional reflectance spectra were obtained using the small sample configuration of the RELAB facility, which accommodates 5-30 mg of material. Spectra are displayed with the labels for individual samples listed in order of brightness.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Pieters, C. M. (Brown Univ. Providence, RI, United States)
Fischer, E. M. (Brown Univ. Providence, RI, United States)
Rode, O. D. (Academy of Sciences USSR, Moscow., United States)
Basu, A. (Indiana Univ. Bloomington., United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Lunar and Planetary Inst., Twenty-Fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 3: N-Z
Subject Category
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19940015909Analytic PrimaryWorkshop on the Martian Northern Plains: Sedimentological, Periglacial, and Paleoclimatic Evolution19940016163Analytic PrimaryTwenty-Fourth Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Part 3: N-Z