Simulation of surface regolith gardening and impact associated melt layer production under ns-pulsed laser ablation

1Aleksandra N. Stojic et al. (>10)
Icarus (in Press) Link to Article []
1Institut für Planetologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Wilhelm – Klemm Str. 10, 48149 Münster, Germany
Copyright Elsevier

The effect of surface regolith gardening and melt layer production produced by space weathering (SW) (owing to micrometeorite [according to comment rev#1] bombardment) of surficial regolith layers of airless planetary surfaces was investigated in an experimental setup by using laser-induced ablation of powdered analog material (synthetic Fo100) under vacuum with a ns-pulsed infrared laser. The investigated analog pellets were prepared from the fine fraction (< 1 μm) up to a grain size of 280 μm, which resembles the uppermost regolith surface of many airless planetary bodies. The Fo-powder was pressed into shape to form a pellet. We focused here on nanometer-sized structural modifications that are induced in the relocated grains, sputtered off ejecta material and melt sprinkles that formed away from the craters caused by laser irradiation of the pressed pellet surface. The ejecta particles were redistributed over the entire pellet surface and beyond. The forming sputter film, melt sprinkles and ballistically ejected grains were caught on carbon film grids positioned nearby the craters. The grids were investigated with a transmission electron microscope (TEM) to discern between the distinct deposition types that were formed by ejecta condensate and partially molten ejected nanometer-size analog grains. Apart from a heavily modified pellet surface, we found that deposited droplets are mostly amorphous with minor nanocrystalline subdomains. Eight out of ten droplets show distinct incipient crystallization stages. This indicates at a relatively high amount of amorphous regolith material at the incipient stage of SW for airless bodies, if the regolith is altered via micrometeorite bombardment.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s