Mineral chemistry of MUSES-C Regio inferred from analysis of dust particles collected from the first- and second-touchdown sites on asteroid Itokawa



The mineralogy and mineral chemistry of Itokawa dust particles captured during the first and second touchdowns on the MUSES-C Regio were characterized by synchrotron-radiation X-ray diffraction and field-emission electron microprobe analysis. Olivine and low- and high-Ca pyroxene, plagioclase, and merrillite compositions of the first-touchdown particles are similar to those of the second-touchdown particles. The two touchdown sites are separated by approximately 100 meters and therefore the similarity suggests that MUSES-C Regio is covered with dust particles of uniform mineral chemistry of LL chondrites. Quantitative compositional properties of 48 dust particles, including both first- and second-touchdown samples, indicate that dust particles of MUSES-C Regio have experienced prolonged thermal metamorphism, but they are not fully equilibrated in terms of chemical composition. This suggests that MUSES-C particles were heated in a single asteroid at different temperatures. During slow cooling from a peak temperature of approximately 800 °C, chemical compositions of plagioclase and K-feldspar seem to have been modified: Ab and Or contents changed during cooling, but An did not. This compositional modification is reproduced by a numerical simulation that modeled the cooling process of a 50 km sized Itokawa parent asteroid. After cooling, some particles have been heavily impacted and heated, which resulted in heterogeneous distributions of Na and K within plagioclase crystals. Impact-induced chemical modification of plagioclase was verified by a comparison to a shock vein in the Kilabo LL6 ordinary chondrite where Na-K distributions of plagioclase have been disturbed.