Spectroscopic observations of the Moon at the lunar surface

1,2Yunzhao Wu, 3Bruce Hapke
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 484, 145-153 Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2017.12.003]
1Key Laboratory of Planetary Sciences, Purple Mountain Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210034, China
2Space Science Institute, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau, China
3Department of Geology and Environmental Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Copyright Elsevier

The Moon’s reflectance spectrum records many of its important properties. However, prior to Chang’E-3 (CE-3), no spectra had previously been measured on the lunar surface. Here we show the in situ reflectance spectra of the Moon acquired on the lunar surface by the Visible-Near Infrared Spectrometer (VNIS) onboard the CE-3 rover. The VNIS detected thermal radiation from the lunar regolith, though with much shorter wavelength range than typical thermal radiometer. The measured temperatures are higher than expected from theoretical model, indicating low thermal inertia of the lunar soil and the effects of grain facet on soil temperature in submillimeter scale. The in situ spectra also reveal that 1) brightness changes visible from orbit are related to the reduction in maturity due to the removal of the fine and weathered particles by the lander’s rocket exhaust, not the smoothing of the surface and 2) the spectra of the uppermost soil detected by remote sensing exhibit substantial differences with that immediately beneath, which has important implications for the remote compositional analysis. The reflectance spectra measured by VNIS not only reveal the thermal, compositional, and space-weathering properties of the Moon but also provide a means for the calibration of optical instruments that view the surface remotely.

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