Quantifying the effects of submicroscopic metallic iron on VIS–NIR spectra of lunar soils

1,2,3Yanhua Peng et al. (>10)
Icarus (in Press) Link to Article [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2023.115493]
1Institution of Meteorites and Planetary Materials Research, Key Laboratory of Planetary Geological Evolution at Universities of Guangxi Province, Guilin University of Technology, Guilin 541004, China
2Center for Lunar and Planetary Sciences, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang 550081, China
3Nanning College of Technology, Guilin 541006, China
Copyright Elsevier

Metallic iron (Fe0) particles with sizes ranging from a few nanometers to the submicroscopic scale and formed by space weathering are specific components of lunar soil. Previous studies have suggested that the iron significantly alters the optical properties of lunar soil. For example, nanophase metallic iron (npFe0) causes both reddening and darkening of the lunar soil spectrum, and submicroscopic metallic iron (SMFe) only causes darkening. Here, we prepared SMFe particles with an average size of ~180 nm embedded within melt glasses through carbothermal reduction experiments to analogize agglutinated glasses in the lunar soil. We evaluated the effect of SMFe content on visible and near-infrared (VIS–NIR) reflectance spectra of these lunar soil samples simulants. The spectral data show that SMFe content plays a key role in the optical properties of samples, including the average reflectance in the VIS-NIR range (400–2150 nm), and the absorption depth at ~2 μm. A small amount (0.05 wt%) of SMFe mainly causes significant spectral darkening, and the average reflectance is reduced by 50% when the SMFe content rises to 0.36 wt%. Both the average reflectance and the absorption depth at ~2 μm show a negative correlation with the SMFe content. We developed a quantitative model relating the spectral characteristics and the SMFe abundance based on experimental results. Thus, the SMFe contents play a key role in altering spectral characteristics of airless bodies during remote sensing spectroscopic detection.


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