Asteroids were likely a major source of volatiles and water to early Earth. Quantifying the hydration of asteroids is necessary to constrain models of the formation and evolution of the Solar System and the origin of Life on Earth. The OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security–Regolith Explorer) mission showed that near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu contains widespread, abundant hydrated phyllosilicates, indicated by a ubiquitous absorption at ~ 2.7 μm. The objective of this work is to quantify the hydration—that is, the hydrogen content—of phyllosilicates on Bennu's surface and investigate how this hydration varies spatially. We analyse spectral parameters (normalized optical path length, NOPL; effective single-scattering albedo, ESPAT; and Gaussian modeling) computed from the hydrated phyllosilicate absorption band of spatially resolved visible–near-infrared spectra acquired by OVIRS (the OSIRIS-REx Visible and InfraRed Spectrometer). We also computed the same spectral parameters using laboratory-measured spectra of meteorites including CMs, CIs, and the ungrouped C2 Tagish Lake. We estimate the mean hydrogen content of water and hydroxyl groups in hydrated phyllosilicates on Bennu's surface to be 0.71 ± 0.16 wt%. This value is consistent with the hydration range of some aqueously altered meteorites (CMs, C2 Tagish Lake), but not the most aqueously altered group (CIs). The sample collection site of the OSIRIS-REx mission has slightly higher hydrogen content than average. Spatial variations in hydrogen content on Bennu's surface are linked to geomorphology, and may have been partially inherited from its parent body.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science