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Dix Planetary Science Seminar

Monday, October 15, 2018
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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South Mudd 365
Characterizing the thermal infrared emission properties of asteroid regolith by replicating the airless space environment in the laboratory
Michael Bramble, Planetary Scientist & PhD Candidate, Planetary Geoscience, Brown University,

Laboratory studies have shown that the cold, vacuum environment of airless planetary surfaces drastically alters the thermal infrared spectra of particulate materials when compared to ambient laboratory spectra. This alteration is due in large part to the production of an intense near-surface thermal gradient, and critical work remains to be done analyzing relevant planetary materials in an environment mimicking those from which remote measurements are made. In this presentation, I will introduce our Asteroid and Lunar Environment Chamber (ALEC) and discuss recent work calibrating thermal emission data collected of planetary materials at conditions simulating those by main belt and near-Earth asteroids. To advance our capability to interpret physical and chemical properties of asteroid surfaces, a suite of single mineral phases and mixtures mimicking ordinary chondrite mineralogy was analyzed in this environment. Ongoing work with these samples and other projects will be discussed demonstrating care is required during interpretation of physical and chemical properties from remote thermal infrared measurements of asteroid surfaces.