The techniques of Fourier transform spectroscopy combined with large aperture telescopes and advances in detector technology now permit infrared (λ > 1 μ) observations of the surfaces of small solar system objects such as asteroids and satellites. The results demonstrate
that this activity can produce important new compositional information related to the origin and evolution of the solar system. The detection of water ice in Saturn's rings and on some of the satellites of Jupiter and Saturn confirm expectations that ices are important mineralogical components
in the chemistry of the outer solar system. More recent studies of the mineralogical composition of the surfaces of asteroids provide a new observational link to the origin of meteorites and the early thermal history of the solar system. These results have been dependent upon supporting laboratory
studies of the spectral behavior of ices and minerals to define the potential, and limitations, of the method. Since many of the astronomical observations have been exploratory in nature, prospects are good that continued refinement of the techniques will lead to additional insights.
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721
Publication date: September 1, 1977
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The Society publishes the internationally recognized, peer reviewed journal, Applied Spectroscopy, which is available both in print and online. Subscriptions are included with membership or can be purchased by institutional or corporate organizations. Abstracts may be viewed free of charge. Previously published as Bulletin (Society for Applied Spectroscopy)