Lunar Spectral Reflectivity (0.30 to 2.50 Microns) and Implications for Remote Mineralogical Analysis

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Science  28 Aug 1970:
Vol. 169, Issue 3948, pp. 855-858
DOI: 10.1126/science.169.3948.855


The spectral reflectivity (0.30 to 2.50 microns) of several lunar areas was measured with ground-based telescopes. A narrow absorption band centered at 0.95 micron was revealed for the first time. No other absorption bands appear in the spectrum. The reflectivity continues to rise at longer wavelengths throughout the spectral region studied. A comparison of the telescope measurements of an area 15 kilometers in diameter that includes Tranquillity Base with laboratory measurements of Apollo 11 soil samples reveals remarkable agreement, an indication that properties determined for fairly large lunar areas are relevant to local conditions. The spectra are interpretable in terms of surface mineralogy. The absorption band varies in both depth and shape and the overall slope of the curve changes with lunar area, an indication of differences in the composition and opacity of surface material. However, the lack of variety in the band position suggests there are no major differences (say, from mostly pyroxenes to mostly olivines) in the mineralogy at those sites studied.

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