We report major element ratios determined for the S-class asteroid 433 Eros using remote-sensing x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy with the near-Earth asteroid rendezvous Shoemaker x-ray spectrometer (XRS). Data analysis techniques and systematic errors are described in detail. Data acquired during five solar flares and during two extended "quiet Sun" periods are presented; these results sample a representative portion of the asteroid's surface. Although systematic uncertainties are potentially large, the most internally consistent and plausible interpretation of the data is that Eros has primitive Mg/Si, Al/Si, Ca/Si and Fe/Si ratios, closely similar to H or R chondrites. Global differentiation of the asteroid is ruled out. The S/Si ratio is much lower than that of chondrites, probably reflecting impact-induced volatilization and/or photo- or ion-induced sputtering of sulfur at the surface of the asteroid. An alternative explanation for the low S/Si ratio is that it reflects a limited degree of melting with loss of an FeS-rich partial melt. Size-sorting processes could lead to segregation of Fe-Ni metal from silicates within the regolith of Eros; this could indicate that the Fe/Si ratios determined by the x-ray spectrometer are not representative of the bulk Eros composition.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||23|
|Journal||Meteoritics and Planetary Science|
|State||Published - Dec 1 2001|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Space and Planetary Science