Pyroxene and Hydroxyl Signatures in Vesta Newly Calibrated Data from Dawn MissionOPEN ACCESS 

Giuseppe Massa, Andrea Longobardo, Ernesto Palomba, Marianna Angrisani, Chiara Gisellu, Fabrizio Dirri, Maria Cristina De Sanctis, Andrea Raponi, Filippo Giacomo Carrozzo and Mauro Ciarniello

Universe 2023, 9(6), 296


“Thanks to the VIR spectrometer onboard NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, which orbited Vesta in 2011–2012, thousands of hyperspectral images of its surface have been collected. The mission confirmed the HED (Howardite–Eucrite–Diogenite) meteorite composition of Vesta. Moreover, the VIR spectrometer detected the 2.8 µm absorption band, due to the presence of the OH molecule. In this work, we took advantage of the newly calibrated data of the VIR spectrometer by characterizing new spectral features thanks to the improved signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio for these spectra. The main goals of this work are as follows: (1) to characterize Vesta’s surface in the visible range and (2) to confirm, reinforce and characterize the OH distribution on Vesta by studying the 2.8 µm band and looking for OH combination bands around 2.2–2.4 µm. A possible relation between the 1.9 µm absorption band due to the presence of pyroxenes and the one at 0.5 µm was analyzed. Finally, the analysis of hydroxyl absorption bands evidenced an anti-correlation between the abundance of hydroxyl-bearing molecules and the surface reflectance. This confirms that the hydroxyl presence is linked to the dark units on Vesta.”