Submicroscopic metallic iron in lunar soils estimated from the in situ spectra of the Chang’E-3 mission
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Blewett, David T.
Cloutis, Edward A.
Wang, Z., Y. Wu, D.T. Blewett, E.A. Cloutis, Y. Zheng, and J. Chen. "Submicroscopic metallic iron in lunar soils estimated from the in situ spectra of the Chang’E-3 mission." Geophysical Research Letters 44 (2017): 3485-3492. DOI:10.1002/2017GL072652.
Submicroscopic metallic iron (SMFe) created by space weathering has strong effects on the optical properties of the lunar surface. Spectra measured in situ by the visible-near-infrared spectrometer (VNIS) on board the Chang’E-3 Yutu rover were used to investigate optical maturity differences at the CE-3 landing site caused by lander exhaust. SMFe abundances were estimated using Hapke’s radiative transfer model. Analysis of the spectrum for a minimally disturbed soil indicates that it contains 0.368 wt % SMFe, corresponding to an Is/FeO maturity index of ~53 and indicating that the landing site is submature. The soil at a location that was more disturbed contains 0.217 wt % SMFe, suggesting that the material removed by the rocket blast is more weathered than the regolith that remained behind. We conclude that maturity differences related to removal of the finest, highly mature particles play a major role in the observed reflectance changes associated with rocket blast.