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. Our experiments use DT neutron generators, GRNS, and metallic samples, have been done by 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. Here is a taste of the systematic 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: Understanding the nuclear emissions from metal bodies through experiment: Preparation for the Psyche Mission to a metal world (First Author)
- Working Title: Alternative iron and nickel emission lines for determining planetary elemental abundances in high-energy neutron environments (Co-Author)