Advertisement

The moon

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 159–167 | Cite as

Molecular gas species in the lunar atmosphere

  • J. H. Hoffman
  • R. R. HodgesJr.
Article

Abstract

There is good evidence for the existence of very small amounts of methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide in the very tenuous lunar atmosphere which consists primarily of the rare gases helium, neon and argon. All of these gases, except40Ar, originate from solar wind particles which impinge on the lunar surface and are imbedded in the surface material. Here they may form molecules before being released into the atmosphere, or may be released directly, as is the case for rare gases. Evidence for the existence of the molecular gas species is based on the pre-dawn enhancement of the mass peaks attributable to these compounds in the data from the Apollo 17 Lunar Mass Spectrometer. Methane is the most abundant molecular gas but its concentration is exceedingly low, 1 × 103 mol cm−3, slightly less than36Ar, whereas the solar wind flux of carbon is approximately 2000 times that of36Ar. Several reasons are advanced for the very low concentration of methane in the lunar atmosphere.

Keywords

Atmosphere Ammonia Methane Dioxide Carbon Dioxide 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bibring, J. P., Burlingame, A. L., Chaumont, J., Langevin, Y., Maurette, M., and Wszolek, P. C.: 1974,Proc. Fifth Lunar Science Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 5,2, 1747–1762.Google Scholar
  2. Cameron, A. G. W.: 1968,Origin and Distribution of the Elements, Pergamon Press, p. 124.Google Scholar
  3. Geiss, J., Buehler, F., Ceruth, H., Eberhardt, P., and Filleux, Ch.: 1972,Apollo 16 Preliminary Science Report, NASA SP-315, 14-1 to 14-10.Google Scholar
  4. Hodges, R. R., Jr. and Johnson, F. S.: 1968,J. Geophys. Res. 73, 7307–7317.Google Scholar
  5. Hodges, R. R., Jr. and Hoffman, J. H.: 1974a,Geophys. Res. Letters 1, 69–71.Google Scholar
  6. Hodges, R. R., Jr. and Hoffman, J. H.: 1974b,Proc. Fifth Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 5,3, 2955–2961.Google Scholar
  7. Hodges, R. R., Jr., Hoffman, J. H., and Johnson, F. S.: 1974,Icarus 21, 415–426.Google Scholar
  8. Hodges, R. R., Jr., Hoffman, J. H., Johnson, F. S., and Evans, D. E.: 1973,Proc. Fourth Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 4,3, 2855–2864.Google Scholar
  9. Hoffman, J. H., Hodges, R. R., Jr., Johnson, F. S., and Evans, D. E.: 1974,Space Research XIV, 607–614.Google Scholar
  10. Hoffman, J. H., Hodges, R. R., Jr., Johnson, F. S., and Evans, D. E.: 1973,Proc. Fourth Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 4,3, 2865–2875.Google Scholar
  11. Moore, C. B., Gibson, E. K., Larimer, J. W., Lewis, C. F., and Nichiporuk, W.: 1970,Proc. Apollo 11 Lunar Sci. Conf., Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, Suppl. 1,2, 1375–1382.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. H. Hoffman
    • 1
  • R. R. HodgesJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Texas at DallasRichardsonUSA

Personalised recommendations