UV to far-IR reflectance spectra of carbonaceous chondrites. I. Implications for remote characterization of dark primitive asteroids targeted by sample-return missions

We analyze here a wide sample of carbonaceous chondrites from historic falls (e.g. Allende, Cold Bokkeveld, Kainsaz, Leoville, Murchison, Murray and Orgueil), and from NASA Antarctic collection in order to get clues on the role of aqueous alteration in promoting the reflectance spectra diversity evidenced in the most primitive chondrite groups. We particularly focus in the identification of spectral features and behavior that can be used to remotely identify primitive carbonaceous asteroids. The selected meteorite specimens are a sample large enough to exemplify how laboratory reflectance spectra of rare groups of carbonaceous chondrites exhibit distinctive features that can be used to remotely characterize the spectra of primitive asteroids. Our spectra cover the full electromagnetic spectrum from 0.2 to 25 microns by using two spectrometers. First one is a UV-NIR spectrometer that covers the 0.2 to 2 microns window, while the second one is an Attenuated Total Reflectance IR spectrometer covering the 2 to 25 microns window. In particular, laboratory analyses in the UV-NIR window allow obtaining absolute reflectance by using standardized measurement procedures. We obtained reflectance spectra of specimens belonging to the CI, CM, CV, CR, CO, CK, CH, R, and CB groups of carbonaceous chondrites plus some ungrouped ones, and allows identifying characteristic features and bands for each class, plus getting clues on the influence of parent body aqueous alteration. These laboratory spectra can be compared with the remote spectra of asteroids, but the effects of terrestrial alteration forming (oxy)hydroxides need to be considered.

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Date added: Tue, 8 Oct 13