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Thermal infrared spectroscopy to investigate the composition of mercury – The MERTIS instrument on BepiColombo

Benkhoff, J. and Helbert, J. and MERTIS Team, (2004) Thermal infrared spectroscopy to investigate the composition of mercury – The MERTIS instrument on BepiColombo. Advances in Space Research, 38 (4), pp. 647-658. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2005.10.033 ISSN 0273-1177

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Telescopic measurements have shown that the surface composition of Mercury can be derived only indirectly from VIS-NIR-spectra: the spectral slopes and the absence of any feature in the range from 0.5 to 1 μm indicate feldspar as main component. [Hapke, B., Danielson, G.E., Jr., Klaasen, K., Wilson, L. Photometric observations of Mercury from Mariner 10. J. Geophys. Res. 80, 2431–2443, 1975; Hapke, B. Interpretations of optical observations of Mercury and the moon. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, vol. 15, no. 2–3, pp. 264–274, 1977.] suggested based on the analysis of albedo and color relationships on Mariner 10 images that very low contents of FeO (at about 3-6 wt%) and TiO<sub>2</sub> (less than 1 wt%) could be present in the mercurian regolith. Feldspars are expected to compose the bulk of Mercury’s crust. In the NIR-range, however, pure feldspars have no specific spectral signature. In the Thermal Infrared (TIR), however, feldspars can be detected–and specified–by means of their diagnostic spectral signatures: Christiansen frequency, reststrahlen band, and transparency feature. In addition, pyroxenes and most other minerals can be detected and specified in this spectral range. Thermal infrared spectroscopy operating in the range between 7 and 14 μm will enable valuable mineral identification of feldspars and low-iron species that are expected to be prevailing on Mercury’s surface. Performing TIR measurements may make it possible to identify spectral features associated with the high radar backscattering efficiency of putative minerals and to differentiate between the proposed compositions (water ice, sulfur, and cold silicate glasses) for the high-latitude volatiles, something that cannot be done by ground based observing or near-infrared spectroscopy. In addition, TIR measurements will allow studying areas of geologic importance where composition can give significant new understanding to relative age of tectonic features. The MERTIS instrument, a TIR imaging spectrometer based on our suggestions, onboard of ESA’s BepiColombo mission will fulfil all the requirements needed to improve our knowledge about Mercury’s surface composition.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/21473/
Document Type:Article
Title:Thermal infrared spectroscopy to investigate the composition of mercury – The MERTIS instrument on BepiColombo
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Journal or Publication Title:Advances in Space Research
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1016/j.asr.2005.10.033
Page Range:pp. 647-658
Keywords:MERTIS, Mercury, infrared spectroscopy, BepiColombo, thermal infrared, composition, evolution models
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben BepiColombo (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Physics
Deposited By: Müller, Nils
Deposited On:17 Nov 2006
Last Modified:14 Jan 2010 20:45

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