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Using LRO Diviner to Construct Crater Ages and Ejecta Distributions on the Moon

Presentation #119.01 in the session Moon & Earth (Poster + Lightning Talk)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Using LRO Diviner to Construct Crater Ages and Ejecta Distributions on the Moon

Collecting samples from the Moon provides direct information about the ages of the Moon’s surface from radiometric dating techniques. However, some sample ages could be biased by material contributed from individual craters nearby, which is presently unknown. Using H-parameter data [1] from the Diviner Lunar Radiometer Experiment aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter as a proxy for the abundance of rock fragments in regolith around craters, the age of the craters can be derived. From the preliminary dataset for the craters, location, diameters, and ages from the Mazrouei et al. (2019) [2] database, we improve the fit between model crater ages and the time-variation of the H-parameter. With this improved model for the change in H-parameter with age, we gain a better understanding of the timescales of rock breakdown and regolith formation on the lunar surface.

After creating a database of the average H-parameter values for each crater and their corresponding ages, the layering at sample sites given the ejecta thickness and distance of all the craters from the database will be able to be derived. As an extension of this ejecta layering model, mixing and crater rays are considered to compare the predicted stratigraphy to observations and samples collected from Apollo and other missions. From these results collectively, we can determine which individual craters dominate the material at a given site. This investigation will thus reveal the influence individual craters have on samples from lunar sites. Using our approach, it may be possible to map ejecta stratigraphy on a global scale to improve understanding of layering at landing sites for future missions, including those of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.

References

[1] P. O. Hayne, J. L. Bandfield, M. A. Siegler, A. R. Vasavada, R. R. Ghent, J.-P. Williams, B. T. Greenhagen, O. Aharonson, C. M. Elder, P. G. Lucey, and D. A. Paige. Global regolith thermophysical properties of the moon from the diviner lunar radiometer experiment. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 122(12):2371–2400, 2017.

[2] S. Mazrouei, R. R. Ghent, W. F. Bottke, A. H. Parker, and T. M. Gernon. Earth and moon impact flux increased at the end of the paleozoic. Science, 363(6424):253–257, 2019.

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