Simulation of low-velocity bombardment of asteroid surfaces: regolith formation and reddening of the spectra
I.T.I.S. G. Galilei, via Ponchielli, Latina 04100, Italy e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Department of Earth Sciences University of Rome La Sapienza, P.le A. Moro 2, 00185 Rome, Italy
3 Physics Department, University of Rome Tre, via della Vasca Navale 84, 00100 Rome, Italy
Accepted: 27 June 2006
Aims.The association of the most abundant population of meteorites, the ordinary chondrites, and the S-type asteroids through the comparison of their reflected spectra in the visible and near infrared spectrum, is still widely debated. Many asteroids show reddened spectra. To date, this reddening has been attributed to the presence of metallic nanoparticles, produced by the vaporization of Fe-bearing silicates or by a shock-induced phase transformation of metallic Fe-Ni alloys. Both the mechanisms are suggested to be related to impacts on asteroid surfaces. We show how sculpting by low-energy impacts can play an important role in the reddening of asteroid surfaces.
Methods.We used quartz micro-spheres impacting on ordinary chondrites to simulate the sculpting of airless bodies due to the low-energy bombardment of micro-meteoroids.
Results.The bombarded surfaces show that metals in ordinary chondrites maintain their dimensions while silicates are comminuted. Moreover, the spectra of the simulated surface are redder than traditional powdered meteorites.
Key words: minor planets, asteroids
© ESO, 2006