Phobos MRO/CRISM visible and near-infrared (0.5–2.5 μm) spectral modeling

Maurizio Pajola, Ted Roush, Cristina Dalle Ore, Giuseppe A. Marzo, Emanuele Simioni

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This paper focuses on the spectral modeling of the surface of Phobos in the wavelength range between 0.5 and 2.5 μm. We exploit the Phobos Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter/Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (MRO/CRISM) dataset and extend the study area presented by Fraeman et al. (2012) including spectra from nearly the entire surface observed. Without a priori selection of surface locations we use the unsupervised K-means partitioning algorithm developed by Marzo et al. (2006) to investigate the spectral variability across Phobos surface. The statistical partitioning identifies seven clusters. We investigate the compositional information contained within the average spectra of four clusters using the radiative transfer model of Shkuratov et al. (1999). We use optical constants of Tagish Lake meteorite (TL), from Roush (2003), and pyroxene glass (PM80), from Jaeger et al. (1994) and Dorschner et al. (1995), as previously suggested by Pajola et al. (2013) as inputs for the calculations. The model results show good agreement in slope when compared to the averages of the CRISM spectral clusters. In particular, the best fitting model of the cluster with the steepest spectral slope yields relative abundances that are equal to those of Pajola et al. (2013), i.e. 20% PM80 and 80% TL, but grain sizes that are 12 μm smaller for PM80 and 4 μm smaller for TL (the grain sizes are 11 μm for PM80 and 20 μm for TL in Pajola et al. (2013), respectively). This modest discrepancy may arise from the fact that the areas observed by CRISM and those analyzed in Pajola et al. (2013) are on opposite locations on Phobos and are characterized by different morphological and weathering settings. Instead, as the clusters spectral slopes decrease, the best fits obtained show trends related to both relative abundance and grain size that is not observed for the cluster with the steepest spectral slope. With a decrease in slope there is general increase of relative percentage of PM80 from 12% to 18% and the associated decrease of TL from 88% to 82%. Simultaneously the PM80 grain sizes decrease from 9 to 5 μm and TL grain sizes increase from 13 to 16 μm. The best fitting models show relative abundances and grain sizes that partially overlap. This supports the hypothesis that from a compositional perspective the transition between the highest and lowest slopes on Phobos is subtle, and it is characterized by a smooth change of relative abundances and grain sizes, instead of a distinct dichotomy between the areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63 - 71
Number of pages9
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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