Modeling optical roughness and first-order scattering processes from OSIRIS-REx color images of the rough surface of asteroid (101955) BennuOPEN ACCESS 

Pedro H. Hasselmann, Sonia Fornasier, Maria A. Barucci, Alice Praet, Beth E. Clark, Jian-Yang Li, Dathon R. Golish, Daniella N. Della Giustina, Jasinghege Don P. Deshapriya, Xian-Duan Zou, Mike G. Daly, Olivier S. Barnouin, Amy A. Simon, Dante S. Lauretta

Icarus, In press, corrected proof, Available online: 8 October 2020




• Reintroduction of a modeling framework of surface optical roughness adaptable to any scattering law or slope distribution.
• Significant small amount of specular reflection, possibly carbonates or crystalline inclusions in Bennu’s composition.
• Non-Gaussian slope distribution is needed to achieve good photometric correction at large phase angles.”

“The dark asteroid (101955) Bennu studied by NASA’ s OSIRIS-REx mission has a boulder-rich and apparently dust-poor surface, providing a natural laboratory to investigate the role of single-scattering processes in rough particulate media. Our goal is to define optical roughness and other scattering parameters that may be useful for the laboratory preparation of sample analogs, interpretation of imaging data, and analysis of the sample that will be returned to Earth. We rely on a semi-numerical statistical model aided by digital terrain model (DTM) shadow ray-tracing to obtain scattering parameters at the smallest surface element allowed by the DTM (facets of ~10 cm). Using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo technique, we solved the inversion problem on all four-band images of the OSIRIS-REx mission’ s top four candidate sample sites, for which high-precision laser altimetry DTMs are available. We reconstructed the a posteriori probability distribution for each parameter and distinguished primary and secondary solutions. Through the photometric image correction, we found that a mixing of low and average roughness slope best describes Bennu’s surface for up to 90∘ phase angle. We detected a low non-zero specular ratio, perhaps indicating exposed sub-centimeter mono-crystalline inclusions on the surface. We report an average roughness RMS slope of 27−5∘+1, a specular ratio of 2.6−0.8+0.1%, an approx. single-scattering albedo of 4.64−0.09+0.08% at 550 nm, and two solutions for the back-scatter asymmetric factor, ξ(1) = − 0.360 ± 0.030 and ξ(2) = − 0.444 ± 0.020, for all four sites altogether.”