37th DPS Meeting, 4-9 September 2005
Session 57 Moon, Mercury and Venus
Poster, Thursday, September 8, 2005, 6:00-7:15pm, Music Recital Room

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[57.05] Predictions of Mercurian Elemental Abundances from Lunar Orbital X-Ray Fluorescence Data

F. Vilas (NASA Johnson Space Center)

Analogies have been drawn between mature, anorthositic highlands regions of the Moon, and the surface of Mercury based upon similarities in their spectral reflectance attributes: similar increasing spectral reflectance with increasing wavelength, lack of the 1.0-um mafic silicate feature, similar albedo. The mechanisms for altering the surfaces of both the Moon and Mercury exist (solar wind implantation and micrometeoroid bombardment, respectively), lending credence to the analogy. Spacecraft enroute to Mercury (MESSENGER) or planned (Bepi Colombo) both have x-ray fluorescence instrumentation that will remotely sense elemental composition of Mercury. The Apollos 15 and 16 orbiter spacecraft both carried XRF spectrographs, and were used to sense the Al, Mg, Si components of the lunar regolith across two swathes on the lunar near side, defined by the orbits of the spacecraft. No areas of the mature, anorthositic lunar terrain are contained in these swathes, however, two areas of fresher anorthisitic were covered by the Apollos 15 and 16 observations. Using the XRF values from these lunar areas, predictions about these elemental abundances in the Mercurian terrain will be presented.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #3
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.