Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020
Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020
EPSC Abstracts
Vol. 14, EPSC2020-136, 2020
Europlanet Science Congress 2020
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Hydration variations of Bennu’s surface: comparison of different methods.

Alice Praet1, Antonella Barucci1, Hannah Kaplan2, Frédéric Merlin1, Beth Clark3, Amy Simon4, Victoria Hamilton2, Joshua Emery5,6, Ellen Howell7, Lucy Lim4, Xiao-Duan Zou8, Dennis Reuter4, Salvatore Ferrone3, Prasanna Deshapriya1, Sonia Fornasier1, Pedro Hasselmann1, Giovanni Poggiali9,10, John Brucato9, Driss Takir11, and Dante Lauretta7
Alice Praet et al.
  • 1LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, Université PSL, CNRS, Université de Paris, Sorbonne Université, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon, France (
  • 2Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO, USA
  • 3Department of Physics, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 4NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA
  • 5University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
  • 6Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA
  • 7Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • 8Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • 9INAF–Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, Florence, Italy
  • 10Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
  • 11JETS/ARES, NASA JSC, Houston, TX, USA

OVIRS [1, 2] acquired visible to near-infrared spectra of asteroid Bennu’s surface showing an asymmetric absorption band centered at 2.74 ± 0.01 μm [3], attributed to the presence of hydrated phyllosilicates. This feature is widespread across Bennu’s surface. Such an absorption band has been detected in some carbonaceous chondrite meteorites [4, 5].

In this study, we report the results from two distinct methods to estimate the hydration of Bennu’s surface. We calculated the normalized optical path length (NOPL) as well as the effective single particle absorption thickness (ESPAT) [6, 7, 8] on Bennu’s hydration band and on the selected meteorite spectra. For both methods, we compare meteorite results with their H2O/OHH content, to estimate a H2O/OHH content of Bennu’s average surface. Carbonaceous chondrite meteorite H2O/OHH contents are derived from laboratory studies [9, 10].


Bennu spectra. Analysed spectra were acquired by OVIRS during Equatorial Station 3 (EQ3) of the Detailed Survey mission phase, on May 9, 2019, at 12:30 pm local solar time [11]. The reflectance spectra have been calibrated and photometrically corrected to an incidence angle of 0°, emission angle of 30°, and phase angle of 30°, using a McEwen photometrical model [12].

Meteorite spectra. We used three sets of meteorite absolute reflectance spectra, from [4,5], [8], and [13]. For each set, powdered meteorite sample spectra were measured under vacuum (asteroid-like conditions).

We selected over 40 meteorites for which bulk H values have been independently measured [9, 10]. In the case of Orgueil, Bells, and Tagish Lake, several samples were analysed and several H contents were ultimately derived [9, 14], all of which were used.


Normalized Optical Path Length (NOPL). The NOPL parameter was calculated as described in [6, 7, 8] on each meteorite spectrum, each individual Bennu reflectance spectrum, and the global average spectrum of Bennu. A linear continuum was fitted from 2.67 to 3.3 μm. The wavelength, at which the NOPL parameter is calculated, is the mean band minimum position for the EQ3 data set at 2.73 μm. Methods used to locate the band minimum are described in [3].

Effective Single Particle Absorption Thickness (ESPAT). The ESPAT parameter was calculated following the method of [6, 7, 8]. Absolute reflectance spectra of meteorites and Bennu’s surface were first converted into single-scattering albedo spectra [6, 7, 8]. A linear continuum was then fitted from 2.67 to 3.3 μm and the ESPAT parameter is calculated at 2.73 μm as well. Our analyses do not include the organic absorption bands, present longwards of ~3.3 μm [11, 15]. Thus, we compare NOPL and ESPAT results with the hydrogen content of H2O/OHgroups in hydrated phyllosilicates only, measured for the selected meteorites [9, 10].


Figure 1 shows the NOPL parameter variations across Bennu’s surface using EQ3 spectra.

Figure 1: Map of NOPL values computed at 2.73 μm for each EQ3 spectrum of Bennu.

We find a linear correlation (Figure 2) between the NOPL parameter calculated at 2.73 μm on meteorite spectra and the meteorite H2O/OHH content.

Using this linear correlation, for the NOPL calculated on Bennu’s EQ3 average spectrum, we estimate a H2O/OH H content for Bennu’s average surface of 0.54 ± 0.11 wt.%.


Figure 2: Linear correlation between NOPL calculated at 2.73 μm and H2O/OH H content of the seven selected meteorites (in colored points), and for average Bennu (blue circle).

As with the NOPL parameter, we also find a linear correlation between the ESPAT parameter calculated at 2.73 μm on meteorite spectra and the meteorite H2O/OHH content. We therefore estimate a H2O/OH H content for Bennu’s average surface of 0.49 ± 0.13 wt.%, using Bennu’s EQ3 mean ESPAT value and the latter correlation.


Discussion and Conclusion

The H2O/OH H content for Bennu’s average surface obtained using NOPL parameters is consistent with the range obtained with the ESPAT parameter. Both methods are based on estimating global H content (in H2O/OH groups of hydrated phyllosilicates) by analogy with meteorite data. The values of H2O/OH H content of Bennu’s average surface we obtained are 0.54 ± 0.11 and 0.49 ± 0.13 wt.% using the NOPL parameter and the ESPAT parameter, respectively. From our results (Figure 2), Bennu’s average surface is most similar to heated CMs and Tagish Lake. Both estimated H2O/OH H content ranges of Bennu’s average surface are more consistent with those of CM meteorites (0.46–1.36 wt%), Tagish Lake (0.50–0.69 wt.%), CR meteorites (0.30–1.20 wt.%), and CO meteorites (0.49–0.52 wt.%) [3, 9]. The gaussian modeling of the hydration band will complete those results.



This material is based on work supported by NASA under Contract NNM10AA11C issued through the New Frontiers Program. AP, MAB, FM, SF, PH and JDPD acknowledge funding support by CNES. INAF participation was supported by Italian Space Agency grant agreement n. 2017-37-H.0. We are grateful to the entire OSIRIS-REx Team for making the encounter with Bennu possible.



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How to cite: Praet, A., Barucci, A., Kaplan, H., Merlin, F., Clark, B., Simon, A., Hamilton, V., Emery, J., Howell, E., Lim, L., Zou, X.-D., Reuter, D., Ferrone, S., Deshapriya, P., Fornasier, S., Hasselmann, P., Poggiali, G., Brucato, J., Takir, D., and Lauretta, D.: Hydration variations of Bennu’s surface: comparison of different methods. , Europlanet Science Congress 2020, online, 21 Sep–9 Oct 2020, EPSC2020-136,, 2020.