Composition of Surface Materials on the Moons of Mars

Pieters, Carle M.; Murchie, Scott; Thomas, Nicolas; Britt, Daniel (2014). Composition of Surface Materials on the Moons of Mars. Planetary and space science, 102, pp. 144-151. Elsevier 10.1016/j.pss.2014.02.008

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The two small asteroid-like bodies orbiting Mars, Phobos and Deimos, are low albedo and exhibit similar visible to near-infrared spectra. Determining the origin of these moons is closely tied to determining their composition. From available spectroscopic data Phobos exhibits two distinct types of materials across its surface, and data from both Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have provided additional details about the properties of these materials and their spatial relation to one another. Although no prominent diagnostic absorptions have been detected, systematic weak features are seen in some data. An extensive regolith is observed to have developed on both moons with characteristics that may be unique due to their special environment in Mars orbit. Understanding the character and evolution of the regolith of Phobos and Deimos is central to interpreting the moons׳ physical and optical properties. The cumulative data available for compositional analyses across the surface of Phobos and Deimos, however, remain incomplete in scope and character and ambiguous in interpretation. Consequently the composition of the moons of Mars remains uncertain.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Thomas, Nicolas


500 Science > 520 Astronomy








Cléa Serpollier

Date Deposited:

14 Apr 2015 11:14

Last Modified:

08 Oct 2015 09:28

Publisher DOI:





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