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McCord T.B.,The Bear Fight Institute | Scully J.E.C.,University of California at Los Angeles
Icarus | Year: 2015

Vesta's surface composition has been of special interest since early, disk-integrated telescopic spectral observations indicated that it is basaltic, differentiated and similar to the HED (howardite-eucrite-diogenite) class of meteorites. The Dawn mission, orbiting Vesta, provided a large and varied set of unique observations on the detailed mineralogy, molecular and elemental composition, and their distributions in association with surface features and geology. The set of articles contained in this special issue is the first treatment of the entire surface composition of Vesta using the complete Dawn Vesta data set and the calibrations from the entire campaign. Most articles treat a region of Vesta within the context of the entire body, but there are several articles that treat global or technical topics. As a whole, these articles provide a current and comprehensive view of Vesta's composition using all the relevant data that is available. Vesta's surface composition is consistent with the upper layer being created by igneous processes, while a more mafic lithology generally associated with a mantle is surprisingly limited. There is evidence of contamination by low velocity infall of several types of objects: dark hydrated/hydroxylated material, and probably Fe/Mg silicates differing from Vesta's. Isolated blocks of differing compositions, seen especially in crater walls, could indicate incomplete melting and mixing during the differentiation process, and retention of some evidence of the original building blocks of the accreted Vesta. This lead article introduces and provides the context for the following articles, presents a summary of the various findings, and integrates them into overall conclusions. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. Source


Filacchione G.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | D'Aversa E.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Capaccioni F.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Clark R.N.,PSI Planetary Science Institute | And 12 more authors.
Icarus | Year: 2016

The spectral position of the 3.6 μm continuum peak measured on Cassini-VIMS I/F spectra is used as a marker to infer the temperature of the regolith particles covering the surfaces of Saturn's icy satellites. This feature is characterizing the crystalline water ice spectrum which is the dominant compositional endmember of the satellites' surfaces. Laboratory measurements indicate that the position of the 3.6 μm peak of pure water ice is temperature-dependent, shifting towards shorter wavelengths when the sample is cooled, from about 3.65 μm at T=123 K to about 3.55 μm at T=88 K. A similar method was already applied to VIMS Saturn's rings mosaics to retrieve ring particles temperature (Filacchione, G., Ciarniello, M., Capaccioni, F., et al., 2014. Icarus, 241, 45-65). We report here about the daytime temperature variations observed on the icy satellites as derived from three different VIMS observation types: (a) a sample of 240 disk-integrated I/F observations of Saturn's regular satellites collected by VIMS during years 2004-2011 with solar phase in the 20°-40° range, corresponding to late morning-early afternoon local times. This dataset is suitable to exploit the temperature variations at hemispherical scale, resulting in average temperature T <88 K for Mimas, T 88 K for Enceladus, T <88 K for Tethys, T=98-118 K for Dione, T=108-128 K for Rhea, T=118-128 K for Hyperion, T=128-148 and T > 168 K for Iapetus' trailing and leading hemispheres, respectively. A typical ±5 K uncertainty is associated to the temperature retrieval. On Tethys and Dione, for which observations on both leading and trailing hemispheres are available, in average daytime temperatures higher of about 10 K on the trailing than on the leading hemisphere are inferred. (b) Satellites disk-resolved observations taken at 20-40 km pixel-1 resolution are suitable to map daytime temperature variations across surfaces' features, such as Enceladus' tiger stripes and Tethys' equatorial dark lens. These datasets allow to disentangle solar illumination conditions from temperature distribution when observing surface's features with strong thermal contrast. (c) Daytime average maps covering large regions of the surfaces are used to compare the inferred temperature with geomorphological features (impact craters, chasmatae, equatorial radiation lenses and active areas) and albedo variations. Temperature maps are built by mining the complete VIMS dataset collected in years 2004-2009 (pre-equinox) and in 2009-2012 (post equinox) by selecting pixels with max 150 km pixel-1 resolution. VIMS-derived temperature maps allow to identify thermal anomalies across the equatorial lens of Mimas and Tethys. A temperature T > 115K is measured above Enceladus' Damascus and Alexandria sulci in the south pole region. VIMS has the sensitivity to follow seasonal temperature changes: on Tethys, Dione and Rhea higher temperature are measured above the south hemisphere during pre-equinox and above the north hemisphere during post-equinox epochs. The measured temperature distribution appears correlated with surface albedo features: in fact temperature increases on low albedo units located on Tethys, Dione and Rhea trailing hemispheres. The thermal anomaly region on Rhea's Inktomi crater detected by CIRS (Howett, C. J. A., Spencer, J. R., Hurford, T., et al., 2014. Icarus, 241, 239-247) is confirmed by VIMS: this area appears colder with respect to surrounding terrains when observed at the same local solar time. © 2016 Elsevier Inc. Source


Russell C.T.,University of California at Los Angeles | Raymond C.A.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Jaumann R.,German Aerospace Center | McSween H.Y.,University of Tennessee at Knoxville | And 20 more authors.
Meteoritics and Planetary Science | Year: 2013

The Dawn mission was designed to test our hypothesis about the origin and evolution of the early solar system by visiting the largest differentiated basaltic asteroid, 4 Vesta, believed to be a survivor from the earliest times of rocky body formation. Observations from orbit show that Vesta is the parent body of the Howardite, Eucrite, Diogenite meteorites. Vesta has an iron core and a eucritic-diogenitic crust. Its surface is characterized by abundant impact craters but with no evident volcanic features. It has two ancient impact basins in the southern hemisphere that are associated with circum-planetary troughs. The northern hemisphere is the more heavily cratered and contains the oldest terrains. The surface of Vesta is diverse, with north-south and east-west dichotomies in the eucrite-to-diogenite ratio. Its surface contains both very bright and very dark material, and its color varies strongly from region to region. Both the mineralogical and the elemental compositions agree with that expected for the HED parent body. Significant OH or H may be present in the upper crust and the presence of pits in "fresh" craters is consistent with the devolatilization of the surface after a collision either brought to or tapped a source of water on Vesta. The presence of dark material on the surface of Vesta suggests efficient transport pathways for organic material, and the mixing of the dark material with the more pristine pyroxene explains the varying albedo across the surface. Vesta has proven to be a reliable witness to the formation of the solar system. © The Meteoritical Society, 2013. Source


Hayne P.O.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Hayne P.O.,The Bear Fight Institute | McCord T.B.,The Bear Fight Institute | Sotin C.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Icarus | Year: 2014

Solar occultation measurements by the Cassini Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) reveal the near-infrared transmission of Titan's atmosphere down to an altitude of ~40. km. By combining these observations with VIMS reflectance measurements of Titan's surface and knowledge of haze and gas opacity profiles from the Huygens probe, we constrain a simple model for the transfer of radiation in Titan's atmosphere in order to derive surface reflectance in the methane windows used for compositional analysis. The advantages of this model are twofold: (1) it is accurate enough to yield useful results, yet simple enough to be implemented in just a few lines of code, and (2) the model parameters are directly constrained by the VIMS occultation and on-planet measurements. We focus on the 2.0, 2.7, 2.8 and 5.0. μm windows, where haze opacity is minimized, and diagnostic vibrational bands exist for water ice and other candidate surface species. A particularly important result is the strong atmospheric attenuation at 2.7. μm compared to 2.8. μm, resulting in a reversal of apparent spectral slope in a compositionally diagnostic wavelength range. These results show that Titan's surface reflectance is much "bluer" and more closely matched by water ice than the uncorrected spectra would indicate, although the majority of Titan's surface has a spectrum consistent with mixtures (either intimate or areal) of water ice and haze particles precipitated from the atmosphere. Compositions of geologic units can be accurately modeled as mixtures ranging from predominantly water ice (Sinlap crater ejecta and margins of dark equatorial terrain) to predominantly organic-rich (Tui Regio and Hotei Regio), with particles in the size range ~10-20. μm. In distinguishing between hypothesized formation mechanisms for Tui and Hotei Regio, their organic-rich composition favors a process that concentrates precipitated haze particles, such as playa lake evaporite deposition (Barnes, J.W., Bow, J., Schwartz, J., Brown, R.H., Soderblom, J.M., Hayes, A.G., Vixie, G., Le Mouélic, S., Rodriguez, S., Sotin, C., Jaumann, R., Stephan, K., Soderblom, L.A., Clark, R.N., Buratti, B.J., Baines, K.H., Nicholson, P.D. [2011]. Icarus, 216, 136-140). In other places, kilometer-scale exposures of nearly pure water ice bedrock on Titan's surface indicate relatively locally rapid erosion compared to rates of accumulation of solid hydrocarbons precipitated from the atmosphere. Somewhat surprisingly, Titan's vast equatorial dune fields appear slightly enriched in water ice compared to the surrounding bright regions, but the spectrum of the dune material itself may nonetheless be consistent with a predominantly organic haze-derived composition. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source

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