Multifactor characterization of space weathering among siliceous asteroids. I: Grain size effectsOPEN ACCESS 

Eric M. MacLennan, Joshua P. Emery, Lucas M. McClure, Michael P. Lucas, Sean S. Lindsay, Noemi Pinilla-Alonso

MAPS, Version of Record online: 05 March 2024


“Spacecraft missions to asteroids have revealed surfaces that have variations in albedo and spectral properties. Such variations are also detected across the asteroid population with ground-based observations, and are controlled by the physical characteristics of the regolith and by processes such as space weathering. Here, we investigate how space weathering and regolith grain size influence the spectra of ordinary chondrite-like asteroids observed from ground-based spectroscopy. The estimation of diagnostic band parameters from asteroid visible and near-infrared reflectance spectra allow us to estimate the degree of space weathering and their compositions, using results from an accompanying study (MacLennan et al., 2024). We use grain size estimations gleaned from the thermal inertia to show that regolith particle size differences have similar effect as space weathering on asteroid spectra. Finally, we quantify changes in spectral slope and band depth among asteroids using the space weathering index developed by MacLennan et al (2024), and reassess the importance of previously-proposed surface freshening mechanisms.”