An Improved Instrument for Investigating Planetary Regolith Microstructure

Source: NTRS


The Opposition Effect (OE) is the non-linear increase in the intensity of light scattered from a surface as phase angle approaches 0 deg. It is seen in laboratory experiments and in remote sensing observations of planetary surfaces. Understanding the OE is a requirement for fitting photometric models which produce meaningful results about regolith texture. Previously we have reported measurements from the JPL long arm goniometer and we have shown that this instrument enables us to distinguish between two distinct processes which create the opposition surges, Shadow Hiding (SHOE) and Coherent Backscattering (CBOE). SHOE arises because, as phase angle approaches zero, shadows cast by regolith grains on other grains become invisible to the observer. CBOE results from constructive interference between rays traveling the same path but in opposite directions. Additional information is included in the original extended abstract.

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    ABSTRACT: We have designed and constructed an original facility to characterize the VIS–NIR Bidirectional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) and some complementary bulk physical properties of planetary analog samples containing water ice. The central part of the facility is a highly accurate gonio-radiometer (PHIRE-2) operating in the VIS–NIR spectral range (400–1100nm) installed in a large laboratory freezer. Its development was based on the experience gained on the gonio-radiometer PHIRE-1 (Gunderson et al., 2006). The PHIRE-1 design was modified to permit operations at sub-zero temperatures and to optimize the performance of the instrument. The photometric measurements are complemented by a detailed simultaneous characterization of the physical state and possible temporal evolution of the samples using a combination of macro- and micro-imaging, thermal, electrical and sample mass measurements. The modified design will support the interpretation of current and future remote sensing and in-situ datasets on icy planetary objects with a special emphasis on cometary nuclei, Martian polar regions and Jovian satellites.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2011 · Planetary and Space Science