Mössbauer Spectrometry of Lunar Samples from the Apollo 11 Mission

  • C. L. Herzenberg
  • D. L. Riley
Conference paper


Mössbauer effect spectrometry employing the 14.4-keV resonance in Fe57 has been applied to lunar soil and rock specimens returned from Mare Tranquillitatis by the Apollo 11 expedition. Analyses of the lunar soil spectra (measured using the transmission technique) lead to the conclusion that the soil contains approximately 12 wt. % iron, distributed as follows: 73% in the silicate phases (including iron-bearing glasses, pyroxenes, and olivine), 19% in ilmenite, 5% in metallic iron, and 1% in troilite.

Spectra of lunar rock chips were measured using the scattering technique. The major phases detected in all lunar crystalline rocks were ilmenite and pyroxene, while the microbreccia contained in addition iron-bearing glasses and a greater abundance of metallic iron.

While the general features of the spectra of the various lunar samples examined are similar, significant differences appear, particularly between the soil and the rocks and among the rocks. No ferric iron was detected in any of the lunar samples from Apollo 11.


Metallic Iron Silicate Phase Lunar Soil Total Iron Content Mossbauer Spectrometry 
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Copyright information

© New England Nuclear Corporation 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. L. Herzenberg
    • 1
  • D. L. Riley
    • 1
  1. 1.IIT Research InstituteChicagoUSA

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