My secondary project work is with Dr. Lindy Elkins-Tanton on characterizing the radiation environment of iron meteorites that may be related to 16-Psyche. This project came about when my sister-in-law gifted me an iron meteorite for Christmas, and I said, “I want to irradiate this.” Our experiments use DT & DD neutron generators, spontaneous fission sources, GRNS, and metallic samples. These experiments were done through continued collaboration with Dr. Burks at LLNL and planetary scientists at JHU APL.
Gamma-ray spectroscopy is a well-known technique used in measuring planetary elemental compositions and provides key information for understanding planet formation and evolution. Metal dominated asteroids, such as (16) Psyche and (216) Kleopatra, are hypothesized to be the remnants of exposed cores of protoplanets; future spacecraft missions to these metal bodies may include neutron and gamma-ray spectrometers (GRNS). In this study, we used neutron generators and spontaneous fission sources to irradiate a variety of iron-nickel meteorites, as well as other materials, based on hypothesized formation histories and inferred rock geochemistries related to Psyche-specific scenarios. Below are some of the preliminary results of our active neutron experimental studies of prompt gamma-rays resulting from inelastic neutron scatter on metal dominated objects and other Psyche-related compositions.
Publications in prep:
- Working Title: Neutron activated emissions of sulfur gamma-rays on metal bodies (First Author, in-prep)
- Working Title: Alternative iron and nickel emission lines for determining planetary elemental abundances in high-energy neutron environments (Co-Author, in-prep)