Incipient space weathering on asteroid 162173 Ryugu recorded by pyrrhotite

Dennis Harries, Toru Matsumoto, Falko Langenhorst, Takaaki Noguchi, Akira Miyake, Yohei Igami, Mitsutaka Haruta, Yusuke Seto, Masaaki Miyahara, Naotaka Tomioka, Hikaru Saito, Satoshi Hata, Aki Takigawa, Yusuke Nakauchi, Shogo Tachibana, Tomoki Nakamura, Megumi Matsumoto, Hope A. Ishii, John P. Bradley, Kenta OhtakiElena Dobrică, Hugues Leroux, Corentin Le Guillou, Damien Jacob, Francisco de la Peña, Sylvain Laforet, Bahae eddine Mouloud, Maya Marinova, Pierre Beck, Van T.H. Phan, Rolando Rebois, Neyda M. Abreu, Jennifer Gray, Thomas Zega, Pierre M. Zanetta, Michelle S. Thompson, Rhonda Stroud, Kate Burgess, Brittany A. Cymes, John C. Bridges, Leon Hicks, Martin R. Lee, Luke Daly, Phil A. Bland, Michael E. Zolensky, David R. Frank, James Martinez, Akira Tsuchiyama, Masahiro Yasutake, Junya Matsuno, Shota Okumura, Itaru Mitsukawa, Kentaro Uesugi, Masayuki Uesugi, Akihisa Takeuchi, Mingqi Sun, Satomi Enju, Tatsuhiro Michikami, Hisayoshi Yurimoto, Ryuji Okazaki, Hikaru Yabuta, Hiroshi Naraoka, Kanako Sakamoto, Toru Yada, Masahiro Nishimura, Aiko Nakato, Akiko Miyazaki, Kasumi Yogata, Masanao Abe, Tatsuaki Okada, Tomohiro Usui, Makoto Yoshikawa, Takanao Saiki, Satoshi Tanaka, Fuyuto Terui, Satoru Nakazawa, Sei ichiro Watanabe, Yuichi Tsuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Regolith samples returned from asteroid 162173 Ryugu by the Hayabusa2 mission provide direct means to study how space weathering operates on the surfaces of hydrous asteroids. The mechanisms of space weathering, its effects on mineral surfaces, and the characteristic time scales on which alteration occurs are central to understanding the spectroscopic properties and the taxonomy of asteroids in the solar system. Here, we investigate the behavior of the iron monosulfides mineral pyrrhotite (Fe1−xS) at the earliest stages of space weathering. Using electron microscopy methods, we identified a partially exposed pyrrhotite crystal that morphologically shows evidence for mass loss due to exposure to solar wind ion irradiation. We find that crystallographic changes to the pyrrhotite can be related to sulfur loss from its space-exposed surface and the diffusive redistribution of resulting excess iron into the interior of the crystal. Diffusion profiles allow us to estimate an order of magnitude of the exposure time of a few thousand years consistent with previous estimates of space exposure. During this interval, the adjacent phyllosilicates did not acquire discernable damage, suggesting that they are less susceptible to alteration by ion irradiation than pyrrhotite.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMeteoritics and Planetary Science
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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