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Keywords:

  • M3;
  • lunar;
  • maturity;
  • space weathering;
  • spectra

[1] High spectral and spatial resolution data from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument on Chandrayaan-1 are used to investigate in detail changes in the optical properties of lunar materials accompanying space weathering. Three spectral parameters were developed and used to quantify spectral effects commonly thought to be associated with increasing optical maturity: an increase in spectral slope (“reddening”), a decrease in albedo (“darkening”), and loss of spectral contrast (decrease in absorption band depth). Small regions of study were defined that sample the ejecta deposits of small fresh craters that contain relatively crystalline (immature) material that grade into local background (mature) soils. Selected craters are small enough that they can be assumed to be of constant composition and thus are useful for evaluating trends in optical maturity. Color composites were also used to identify the most immature material in a region and show that maturity trends can also be identified using regional soil trends. The high resolution M3 data are well suited to quantifying the spectral changes that accompany space weathering and are able to capture subtle spectral variations in maturity trends. However, the spectral changes that occur as a function of maturity were observed to be dependent on local composition. Given the complexity of space weathering processes, this was not unexpected but poses challenges for absolute measures of optical maturity across diverse lunar terrains.