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1.  Hydrogen and major element concentrations on 433 Eros: Evidence for an L‐ or LL‐chondrite‐like surface composition 
Meteoritics & Planetary Science  2015;50(3):353-367.
A reanalysis of NEAR X‐ray/gamma‐ray spectrometer (XGRS) data provides robust evidence that the elemental composition of the near‐Earth asteroid 433 Eros is consistent with the L and LL ordinary chondrites. These results facilitated the use of the gamma‐ray measurements to produce the first in situ measurement of hydrogen concentrations on an asteroid. The measured value, 1100−700+1600 ppm, is consistent with hydrogen concentrations measured in L and LL chondrite meteorite falls. Gamma‐ray derived abundances of hydrogen and potassium show no evidence for depletion of volatiles relative to ordinary chondrites, suggesting that the sulfur depletion observed in X‐ray data is a surficial effect, consistent with a space‐weathering origin. The newfound agreement between the X‐ray, gamma‐ray, and spectral data suggests that the NEAR landing site, a ponded regolith deposit, has an elemental composition that is indistinguishable from the mean surface. This observation argues against a pond formation process that segregates metals from silicates, and instead suggests that the differences observed in reflectance spectra between the ponds and bulk Eros are due to grain size differences resulting from granular sorting of ponded material.
PMCID: PMC5114864  PMID: 27917034
2.  Intense energetic electron flux enhancements in Mercury's magnetosphere: An integrated view with high‐resolution observations from MESSENGER 
The MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission to Mercury has provided a wealth of new data about energetic particle phenomena. With observations from MESSENGER's Energetic Particle Spectrometer, as well as data arising from energetic electrons recorded by the X‐Ray Spectrometer and Gamma‐Ray and Neutron Spectrometer (GRNS) instruments, recent work greatly extends our record of the acceleration, transport, and loss of energetic electrons at Mercury. The combined data sets include measurements from a few keV up to several hundred keV in electron kinetic energy and have permitted relatively good spatial and temporal resolution for many events. We focus here on the detailed nature of energetic electron bursts measured by the GRNS system, and we place these events in the context of solar wind and magnetospheric forcing at Mercury. Our examination of data at high temporal resolution (10 ms) during the period March 2013 through October 2014 supports strongly the view that energetic electrons are accelerated in the near‐tail region of Mercury's magnetosphere and are subsequently “injected” onto closed magnetic field lines on the planetary nightside. The electrons populate the plasma sheet and drift rapidly eastward toward the dawn and prenoon sectors, at times executing multiple complete drifts around the planet to form “quasi‐trapped” populations.
Key Points
Shows where energetic particles are accelerated at MercuryDemonstrates quasi‐trapping of energetic electronsAnswers decades‐old questions about Mercury substorms
PMCID: PMC5076489  PMID: 27830111
Mercury magnetosphere; particle bursts; substorms; electron acceleration
3.  Geochemistry of the lunar highlands as revealed by measurements of thermal neutrons 
Thermal neutron emissions from the lunar surface provide a direct measure of bulk elemental composition that can be used to constrain the chemical properties of near‐surface (depth <1 m) lunar materials. We present a new calibration of the Lunar Prospector thermal neutron map, providing a direct link between measured count rates and bulk elemental composition. The data are used to examine the chemical and mineralogical composition of the lunar surface, with an emphasis on constraining the plagioclase concentration across the highlands. We observe that the regions of lowest neutron absorption, which correspond to estimated plagioclase concentrations of >85%, are generally associated with large impact basins and are colocated with clusters of nearly pure plagioclase identified with spectral reflectance data.
Key Points
We report the first map of macroscopic neutron absorption for the lunar surfaceElemental composition and variability across the lunar highlands is discussedLarge (>45 km diameter) locations with >85 wt % plagioclase content are identified
PMCID: PMC5076490  PMID: 27830110
Moon; neutrons; lunar highlands; plagioclase
4.  The 4 June 2011 neutron event at Mercury: A defense of the solar origin hypothesis 
We address the claim that an increase in the flux of neutrons detected by the Neutron Spectrometer (NS) on the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft in orbit about Mercury at 15:45 UTC on 4 June 2011 was generated by the impact of energetic ions onto spacecraft. We find this claim to be unwarranted. The claim is grounded on the erroneous assumption that the NS singles count rate is triggered only by energetic ions. Rather, because any mix of energetic ions, electrons, photons, and neutrons can trigger NS singles, these data do not provide a reliable constraint on the presence of energetic ions. The absence of an enhancement in the count rate of 1635‐keV gamma rays, as monitored by the MESSENGER Gamma‐Ray Spectrometer, provides independent evidence that a fluence of energetic protons sufficiently high to generate the neutron enhancement was not present during the neutron event. The interpretation that currently best matches the available data is that the neutron enhancement on 4 June 2011 was the result of solar neutrons.
Key Points
We address claim that neutrons from a 4 June 2011 event at Mercury are nonsolarThe claim is based on an erroneous assumption about instrument singles countsThe best interpretation of the neutron event is that the neutrons have a solar origin
PMCID: PMC4758620  PMID: 26937331
neutron; Sun
5.  Constraints on Vesta's elemental composition: Fast neutron measurements by Dawn's gamma ray and neutron detector 
Meteoritics & Planetary Science  2013;48(11):2271-2288.
Surface composition information from Vesta is reported using fast neutron data collected by the gamma ray and neutron detector on the Dawn spacecraft. After correcting for variations due to hydrogen, fast neutrons show a compositional dynamic range and spatial variability that is consistent with variations in average atomic mass from howardite, eucrite, and diogenite (HED) meteorites. These data provide additional compositional evidence that Vesta is the parent body to HED meteorites. A subset of fast neutron data having lower statistical precision show spatial variations that are consistent with a 400 ppm variability in hydrogen concentrations across Vesta and supports the idea that Vesta's hydrogen is due to long-term delivery of carbonaceous chondrite material.
PMCID: PMC4461122  PMID: 26074718
6.  Performance of Orbital Neutron Instruments for Spatially Resolved Hydrogen Measurements of Airless Planetary Bodies 
Astrobiology  2010;10(2):183-200.
Orbital neutron spectroscopy has become a standard technique for measuring planetary surface compositions from orbit. While this technique has led to important discoveries, such as the deposits of hydrogen at the Moon and Mars, a limitation is its poor spatial resolution. For omni-directional neutron sensors, spatial resolutions are 1–1.5 times the spacecraft's altitude above the planetary surface (or 40–600 km for typical orbital altitudes). Neutron sensors with enhanced spatial resolution have been proposed, and one with a collimated field of view is scheduled to fly on a mission to measure lunar polar hydrogen. No quantitative studies or analyses have been published that evaluate in detail the detection and sensitivity limits of spatially resolved neutron measurements. Here, we describe two complementary techniques for evaluating the hydrogen sensitivity of spatially resolved neutron sensors: an analytic, closed-form expression that has been validated with Lunar Prospector neutron data, and a three-dimensional modeling technique. The analytic technique, called the Spatially resolved Neutron Analytic Sensitivity Approximation (SNASA), provides a straightforward method to evaluate spatially resolved neutron data from existing instruments as well as to plan for future mission scenarios. We conclude that the existing detector—the Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND)—scheduled to launch on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will have hydrogen sensitivities that are over an order of magnitude poorer than previously estimated. We further conclude that a sensor with a geometric factor of ∼ 100 cm2 Sr (compared to the LEND geometric factor of ∼ 10.9 cm2 Sr) could make substantially improved measurements of the lunar polar hydrogen spatial distribution. Key Words: Planetary instrumentation—Planetary science—Moon—Spacecraft experiments—Hydrogen. Astrobiology 10, 183–200.
PMCID: PMC2956572  PMID: 20298147

Results 1-6 (6)