345-13 Analysis of Lunar Highland Regolith Samples from Apollo 16 Drive Core 64001/2 and Lunar Regolith Simulants – An Expanding Comparative Database

See more from this Division: Topical Sessions
See more from this Session: Living on a Dusty Moon

Thursday, 9 October 2008: 11:00 AM
George R. Brown Convention Center, 310AD

Christian M. Schrader1, Doug Rickman2, Doug Stoeser3, Susan J. Wentworth4, Pieter W.S.K. Botha5, Alan R. Butcher6, Hanna Horsch6, Aukje Benedictus6, Paul Gottlieb6 and David McKay7, (1)BAE Systems-MSFC, Huntsville, AL
(2)Marshall Space Flight Center, Code VP61, NASA, Huntsville, AL
(3)Central Region Mineral Resources Team, USGS, Denver, CO
(4)ERC/ESC Group, JE23, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(5)ARMC, Intellection Corporation, Westminster, CO
(6)Intellection Pty Ltd, Milton, Queensland, Australia
(7)Astromaterials Group, NASA Johnson Space Ctr, Houston, TX
We present modal data from QEMSCAN® beam analysis of Apollo 16 samples from drive core 64001/2. The analyzed lunar samples are thin sections 64002,6019 (5.0-8.0 cm depth) and 64001,6031 (50.0-53.1 cm depth) and sieved grain mounts 64002,262 and 64001,374 from depths corresponding to the thin sections, respectively. We also analyzed lunar highland regolith simulants NU-LHT-1M, -2M, and OB-1, low-Ti mare simulants JSC-1, -1A, -1AF, and FJS-1, and high-Ti mare simulant MLS-1.

The preliminary results comprise the beginning of an internally consistent database of lunar regolith and regolith simulant mineral and glass information. This database, combined with previous and concurrent studies on phase chemistry, bulk chemistry, and with data on particle shape and size distribution, will serve to guide lunar scientists and engineers in choosing simulants for their applications.

These results are modal% by phase rather than by particle type, so they are not directly comparable to most previously published lunar data that report lithic fragments, monomineralic particles, agglutinates, etc. Of the highland simulants, OB-1 has an integrated modal composition closer than NU-LHT-1M to that of the 64001/2 samples. However, this and other studies show that NU-LHT-1M and -2M have minor and trace mineral (e.g., Fe-Ti oxides and phosphates) populations and mineral and glass chemistry closer to these lunar samples.

The finest fractions (0-20 µm) in the sieved lunar samples are enriched in glass relative to the integrated compositions by ~30% for 64002,262 and ~15% for 64001,374. Plagioclase, pyroxene, and olivine are depleted in these finest fractions. This could be important to lunar dust mitigation efforts and astronaut health – none of the analyzed simulants show this trend. Contrary to previously reported modal analyses of monomineralic grains in lunar regolith, these area% modal analyses do not show a systematic increase in plagioclase/pyroxene as size fraction decreases.

See more from this Division: Topical Sessions
See more from this Session: Living on a Dusty Moon