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      Formation of the Lunar Dust Ejecta Cloud

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      The Planetary Science Journal
      American Astronomical Society

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          Abstract

          The Lunar Dust Experiment (LDEX) on board the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission orbited the Moon from 2014 September to 2015 April and observed a dynamic, permanently present dust cloud produced by continual meteoroid bombardment. For the latitudes observed by LDEX, the sporadic background contribution to the impacting dust flux is dominated by helion (HE), apex (AP), and antihelion (AH) sources oscillating with lunar phase. Using improved impact ejecta distributions, a three-dimensional model was implemented to estimate the inner and outer ejecta cone angles from LDEX plume measurements. Expanding upon this single-plume model and the derived ejecta cone angles, we implemented a global lunar model fitted to LDEX measurements of the sporadic background to constrain the product of meteoroid impactor fluxes and ejecta mass yield per source. We use the observed asymmetry between sunward and antisunward impactor fluxes to discuss the possible contributions of β-meteoroids, in addition to the HE and AH sporadic meteoroid sources. We find that if β-meteoroids are responsible for the day/night asymmetry, they must have an impact ejecta yield of at least 10 3.

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              Space weathering on airless bodies

              Space weathering refers to alteration that occurs in the space environment with time. Lunar samples, and to some extent meteorites, have provided a benchmark for understanding the processes and products of space weathering. Lunar soils are derived principally from local materials but have accumulated a range of optically active opaque particles (OAOpq) that include nanophase metallic iron on/in rims formed on individual grains (imparting a red slope to visible and near-infrared reflectance) and larger iron particles (which darken across all wavelengths) such as are often found within the interior of recycled grains. Space weathering of other anhydrous silicate bodies, such as Mercury and some asteroids, produce different forms and relative abundance of OAOpq particles depending on the particular environment. If the development of OAOpq particles is minimized (such as at Vesta), contamination by exogenic material and regolith mixing become the dominant space weathering processes. Volatile-rich bodies and those composed of abundant hydrous minerals (dwarf planet Ceres, many dark asteroids, outer solar system satellites) are affected by space weathering processes differently than the silicate bodies of the inner solar system. However, the space weathering products of these bodies are currently poorly understood and the physics and chemistry of space weathering processes in different environments are areas of active research.
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                Author and article information

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                Journal
                The Planetary Science Journal
                Planet. Sci. J.
                American Astronomical Society
                2632-3338
                April 06 2021
                April 01 2021
                April 06 2021
                April 01 2021
                : 2
                : 2
                : 67
                Article
                10.3847/PSJ/abea7c
                05edad65-efae-4448-b467-65e82b276c58
                © 2021

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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