Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020
Europlanet Science Congress 2020
Virtual meeting
21 September – 9 October 2020

Oral presentations and abstracts


The on-going missions to small bodies have provided invaluable observations regarding the properties of primitive small body surfaces in different places of the Solar System, their cratering record, as well as the signatures of other processes (e.g. thermal).

The aim of this session is to open the discussion regarding the impact process on small body surfaces, the role of their physical properties and in particular their surface materials. We welcome contributions regarding:

- Studies on the latest advances in observational (e.g. spectroscopy) and experimental techniques (e.g. production of analogue materials) to characterise small bodies and their surface materials.

- Studies on laboratory impact experiments and theoretical modelling of impacts; planetary space missions which, by imaging small bodies and other planetary surfaces, allow the investigation of the outcome of collisional events (Rosetta, New Horizons, Dawn, Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx); asteroid families that are consequence of the collisional break-up of their parent bodies; collisions among asteroids of different compositions that can lead to surface contamination and material mixing. Observational and experimental studies on other processes that occur on the surfaces of small bodies such as thermal cycling etc.

Convener: Chrysa Avdellidou | Co-conveners: Ron Ballouz, Dayl Martin, Sabina D Raducan

Session assets

Session summary

Chairperson: Chrysa Avdellidou
Asteroid masses obtained with INPOP planetary ephemerides
Agnes Fienga, Chrysa Avdellidou, and Josef Hanus
Luc Lajaunie, Manish N. Sanghani, William D.A. Rickard, José. J. Calvino, Kuljeet K. Marhas, and Martin Bizzarro

Introduction Primitive extraterrestrial materials like carbonaceous chondrite matrices and interplanetary dust particles contain tiny dust grains that were formed in the winds of red giant branch, or asymptotic giant branch stars (AGB) and in the ejecta of novae and supernovae (SNe) explosions before the formation of our solar system. Following their formation, these tiny stardust grains of submicron size traversed through the interstellar medium before being incorporated into the cloud of gas and dust that collapsed and created our solar system. Presolar grains survived the high energy processes that created our solar system and, in their isotopic compositions, preserved the fingerprints that are the nucleosynthetic signatures of the parent stellar sources of the grains.1 Correlating isotopic data of individual presolar silicates with microstructural and chemical analyses obtained by (S)TEM, provides a unique opportunity to provide better insights into physiochemical conditions of grain formation in stellar environments, grain alteration in the interstellar and parent body processes and also helps constraining various astrophysical grain condensation models. In this work, isotopic, structural and chemical analysis of nine presolar silicate grains from the CH3/CBb3 chondrite Isheyevo and CR2 chondrite NWA801 are reported. The grains studied here are found within the lithic clasts in Isheyevo and fine grained chondrule rims in NWA801 that have experienced lower amount of parent body alteration and hence the chemical compositions of presolar grains studied here are minimally altered.

Experimental Presolar oxygen anomalous grain search using oxygen isotope imaging was done in-situ using NanoSIMS50 ion microprobe and five grains from AGB and four grains from SNe, were selected for (S)TEM investigations. The TEM lamellas were prepared using a TESCAN LYRA3 FIB-SEM at Curtin University. Structural and chemical analysis of presolar grains were performed by combining high-resolution scanning TEM imaging, spatially-resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) and spatially-resolved energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) by using a FEI Titan Cubed Themis 60-300 microscope at the University of Cádiz which was operated at 200 kV. EDS quantification was corrected by using a standard reference sample of known composition and density and by taking into account the thickness of the probed area as determined by using low-loss EELS. EELS spectrum images for fine structures (mostly, O-K, Si-L2,3 and Fe-L2,3 edges) analyses were acquired with the monochromator excited allowing an energy resolution of about 0.4 eV. After denoising using principal components analysis and removal of the multiple scattering, we were able to map the heterogeneities related to the Fe oxidation states and to the oxygen local chemical environment. For the chemical mapping of the Fe3+/ ∑Fe ratios, we have used a home-made Python routine based on the determination of the modified white-lines ratio.2 It allowed us to compare the degree of aqueous alteration of the grain with the surrounding rim and matrix grains.

Results TEM and STEM data have revealed a strong heterogeneity and a broad range of structural and chemical compositions of the grains that enabled us to compare the stellar grain condensation environments (e.g. AGB stars and SNe), and suggest widely varying formation conditions for the presolar silicates identified in this study. Only one of the grains originally condensed as an amorphous grain has shown preferential sputtering of Mg, indicating that Mg-rich amorphous grains are not preferentially destroyed. Several grains are found with signatures that represent interstellar, nebular and parent body alteration. An oldhamite-like grain (Figure 1) within a presolar enstatite grain is probably the first observation of an oldhamite grain as a seed grain for the condensation of an enstatite grain in stellar atmospheres. This grain corresponds to a local increase in Mg and a local decrease in Fe with respect to the surrounding matrix. The surface of the grain surface of up to ~40 nm is composed of higher amounts of Ca and S.  Below the surface of the grain and on the left side, diffusion streaks rich in Ca can be observed up to the lower boundary of the grain (on about 250 nm). The diffusion of Ca could be related to thermal processes and/or aqueous alterations undergone by the grain. Figure 2 shows typical EELS chemical maps acquired on the same grain. A very thin Fe-rich rim is also seen around the enstatite grain with a Fe3+/ΣFe ratio of about 0.6-0.7. The presence of several spherical nodules of Fe and Ni sulfide can also be highlighted in the matrix around the grain in the EDS and EELS chemical maps (red arrows in Figures 8 and 9). They have a diameter of about 30-45 nm and are similar to GEMS-like materials. Interestingly, they present a core/shell structure All these results, which will be discussed in detail, point out the importance of coordinated isotopic, microstructural and chemical studies of presolar silicates to investigate the processes that may have played a role in shaping our solar system.


Figure 1. a) STEM-HAADF micrograph of the grain Isheyevo_9. The red dashed lines line highlights the boundary of the grain. b) Superposition of HAADF micrograph and Ca chemical maps derived from EDS analysis. Chemical maps derived from EDS analyses corresponding to c) Fe, d) Ni, e) Mg and f) S elements. The red arrows highlight the presence of GEMS-like materials.


Figure 2. Chemical maps derived from the EELS analysis for the grain Isheyevo_9 and corresponding to a) Fe, b) O, c) the O-K pre-peak, d) F and e) the Fe+3/ΣFe ratio. The black scale bar represents 0.1 µm. The red arrows highlight the presence of GEMS-like materials.


How to cite: Lajaunie, L., Sanghani, M. N., Rickard, W. D. A., Calvino, J. J., Marhas, K. K., and Bizzarro, M.: Combined multi-isotopic and (S)TEM study of pre-solar silicates to probe the solar system’s prenatal history, Europlanet Science Congress 2020, online, 21 Sep–9 Oct 2020, EPSC2020-23,, 2020.

Stefano Rubino, Cateline Lantz, Donia Baklouti, Hugues Leroux, Ferenc Borondics, and Rosario Brunetto

Sample return missions Hayabusa2 (JAXA) and OSIRIS-REx (NASA) found evidence of hydrated silicates on the surface of C and B-type asteroids Ryugu [1] and Bennu [2]. This detection relied on the study of the Near-IR spectra from remote sensing observations of the asteroids' surfaces. Specifically, the  feature is responsible for the OH-stretching mode in hydrated silicates. This feature’s position is related to the composition and structure of minerals [3]. However, atmosphere-less bodies in our Solar System, such as Ryugu and Bennu, are affected by space weathering (SpWe). SpWe might alter the structure and composition of the mineral, thus affecting the IR band profile, depth and position, and complicating the interpretation of remote sensing data [4, 5].

We performed ion bombardment experiments on two serpentines and one saponite, to better understand how SpWe affects the remote sensing of hydrated silicates. These two classes of phyllosilicates are particularly abundant in hydrated carbonaceous chondrites [6], which have been used as standards for the surface materials on primitive asteroids [7, 8]. The ion-bombardment experiments were conducted at room temperature in a vacuum chamber (10-7mbar) on pellets made from our phyllosilicate samples. We used He+ at 40 keV and fluences of 1*1016, 3*1016 and 6*1016 ions/cm2.

We studied the in-situ behaviour of the 2.7 µm band as a function of ion fluence. We found that the evolution of the OH-stretching feature in phyllosilicates depends on the phillosilicate’s nature. For the saponite sample, the feature’s intensity seems to decrease as the band broadens slightly, without changing position. For both serpentine samples, the feature shifts toward longer wavelengths, while peak intensity and width are not strongly affected.

The observed diversity may be explained by the different crystal structure among our two phyllosilicate classes. The observation of a band shift for one of our sample’s classes indicates that space weathering can introduce a bias in the interpretation of NIR remote sensing observations of hydrated minerals. The extent of this shift is detectable by the instruments onboard Hayabusa2 and OSIRIS-REx [11, 12].


[1] Watanabe, S.-I., Tsuda, Y., Yoshikawa, M., et al. 2017, Space Sci Rev, 208, 3; [2] Lauretta, D. S., Balram-Knutson, S. S., Beshore, E., et al. 2017, Space Sci Rev, 212, 925; [3] Besson, G., & Drits, V. A. 1997, Clays Clay Miner, 45, 158; [4] Lantz, C., Brunetto, R., Barucci, M. A., et al. 2017, Icarus, 285, 43; [5] Brunetto, R., Lantz, C., Nakamura, T., et al. 2020, Icarus, 345, 113722; [6] King, A. J., Schofield, P. F., Howard, K. T., & Russell, S. S. 2015, Geochim Cosmochim Acta, 165, 148; [7] Kitazato, K., Milliken, R. E., Iwata, T., et al. 2019, Science, 364, 272; [8] Hamilton, V. E., Simon, A. A., Christensen, P. R., et al. 2019, Nat Astron, 3, 332 ; [9] Mitra, S., Prabhudesai, S. A., Chakrabarty, D., et al. 2013, Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys, 87, 062317 ; [10] Auzende, A.-L. 2003, Evolution des microstructures des serpentinites en contexte convergent: effet du degré de métamorphisme et de la déformation; [11] Iwata, T., Kitazato, K., Abe, M., et al. 2017, Hayabusa2, 317, ; [12] Christensen, P. R., et al. 2019, in 82nd Annual Meeting of The Meteoritical Society, Vol. 2157

How to cite: Rubino, S., Lantz, C., Baklouti, D., Leroux, H., Borondics, F., and Brunetto, R.: NIR remote identification of phyllosilicates and space weathering, Europlanet Science Congress 2020, online, 21 Sep–9 Oct 2020, EPSC2020-126,, 2020.

Tomas Kohout, Evgeniya Petrova, Grigoriy Yakovlev, Victor Grokhovsky, Antti Penttilä, Alessandro Maturilli, Juulia-Gabrielle Moreau, Stepan Berzin, Joonas Wasiljeff, Irina Danielko, Dmitry Zamyatin, Razilia Muftakhetdinova, and Mikko Heikkilä


Shock-induced changes in planetary materials related to impacts or planetary collisions are known to be capable of altering their optical properties. One such example is observed in ordinary chondrite meteorites. The highly shocked silicate-rich ordinary chondrite material is optically darkened and its typical S-complex-like asteroid spectrum is altered toward a darker, featureless spectrum resembling the C/X complex asteroids. Thus, one can hypothesize that a significant portion of the ordinary chondrite material may be hidden within the observed C/X asteroid population.

The exact pressure-temperature conditions of the shock-induced darkening are, however, not well constrained and due to this gap in knowledge, it is not possible to correctly assess the significance of the shock darkening within the asteroid population. In order to address this shortcoming, we experimentally investigate the gradual changes in the chondrite material optical properties together with the associated mineral and textural features as a function of the shock pressure. For this purpose, we use a Chelyabinsk meteorite (LL5 chondrite), which is subjected to a spherical shock experiment. The spherical shock experiment geometry allows for a gradual increase in the shock pressure within a single spherically shaped sample from 15 GPa at its rim toward hundreds of gigapascals in the center.


Four distinct zones were observed with an increasing shock load (Fig. 1). We number the zones in the direction of increasing shock from the outside toward the center as zones I–IV The optical changes in zone I are minimal up to ~50 GPa. In the region of ~50–60 GPa corresponding to zone II, shock darkening occurs due to the troilite melt infusion into silicates. This process abruptly ceases at pressures of ~60 GPa in zone III due to an onset of silicate melting and immiscibility of troilite and silicate melts. Silicate melt coats residual silicate grains and prevents troilite from further penetration into cracks. At pressures higher than ~150 GPa (zone IV), complete recrystallization occurs and is associated with a second-stage shock darkening due to fine troilite-metal eutectic grains.