Milana Meyer

San Francisco State University

“Application of Magnetic Properties for Evaluation of Lunar Soil Simulants and Space Weathering”

The formation of nanophase iron (npFe) due to space weathering is a key characteristic of lunar soils, leading to darkening of optical reflectance spectra and changes in spectral contrast and near-infrared continuum with increased surface exposure. Recent studies suggest that long energetic pulses are necessary to form agglutinates, which are glass-welded aggregates of soil grains, contrasting with previous methods that produced fine-grained npFe in amorphous glassy rims. To investigate how space weathering impacts the regolith surface, experiments using both short and long pulses to irradiate Lunar Highland Simulant (LHS) were conducted, aiming to characterize magnetic properties and correlate them with optical reflectance spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) measurements to understand the effects of dual-laser weathering (DLW) on LHS.

ABSTRACT

Lunar soils develop nanophase iron (npFe) due to space weathering, which affects their optical properties. We measure surface exposure of soils using the maturity index, based on ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) signal of each soil. Agglutinates represent melted glass with encapsulated iron nanoparticles and are crucial product of space weathering. We are experimenting with short and long laser pulses in order to create high fidelity lunar soil analogues.
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