Ion irradiation of carbonaceous chondrites: a new view of space weathering on primitive asteroids

C. Lantz, R. Brunetto, M.A. Barucci, S. Fornasier, D. Baklouti, J. Bourçois, M. Godard

In Press, Accepted Manuscript, Available online 16 December 2016


• New ion irradiations on several carbonaceous chondrites to simulate space weathering
• Evidence for a dependence to initial composition
• Modifications revealed in the MIR range
• Proposed model to describe space weathering effects on primitive asteroids”

“We present an experimental study on ion irradiation of carbonaceous chondrites, simulating solar wind irradiation on primitive asteroids, to better constrain the space weathering processes of low albedo objects. The irradiations were performed on pressed pellets of the CV Allende, CO Frontier Mountain 95002 and Lancé, CM Mighei, CI Alais, and ungrouped Tagish Lake meteorites, as well as on some silicate samples (olivine and diopside). We used 40 keV He++ with fluences up to 6· 1016 ions/cm2 corresponding to timescales of 103-104 years for an object in the Main Belt. Reflectance spectra were acquired ex situ before and after irradiations in the visible to mid-infrared range (0.4 – 16 μm). Several spectral modifications are observed. In the MIR range, we observe a shift of the phyllosilicates (near 3 and 10 μm) and silicates (near 10 μm) bands toward longer wavelength. In the visible-NIR range, spectral darkening and reddening are observed for some samples, while others show spectral brightening and blueing. Results are also compared with previous irradiation on ordinary and carbonaceous chondrites. We find that the spectral modifications in the visible range are correlated with the initial albedo/composition. We propose a model for space weathering effects on low albedo objects, showing that those with initial albedo between 5 and 9 % shall not suffer SpWe effects in the visible range. These experiments provide new clues on spectroscopic features modifications within the visible-infrared ranges that could be detected in situ by future sample return missions (Hayabusa-2/JAXA and OSIRIS-REx/NASA).”