Escape of Planetary Atmospheres

  • Helmut Lammer
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Astronomy book series (BRIEFSASTRON)


The extreme radiation and plasma environments during the period of the young active Sun/Stars have important implications for the evolution of planetary atmospheres and may be responsible that planets with a low gravity like early Mars most likely could never build up a dense atmosphere during the first few 100 Myr after their origin. On the other hand more massive planets such as super-Earths even in orbits within the habitable zone of their host stars might not lose their initial protoatmospheres completely. These planets could end up as water worlds with CO\(_2\) and hydrogen- or O-rich upper atmospheres. If an atmosphere of a terrestrial planet evolves to an N\(_2\)-dominated atmosphere too early in its lifetime, the atmosphere may escape to space. By comparing the escape related atmospheric evolution between Venus, the Earth, and Mars, one finds that the initial conditions set up by the planetary formation processes and the interaction between the early atmospheres with the young Sun’s or host star’s X-ray and EUV flux as well as the plasma environment (e.g., winds, CMEs, etc.) influence strongly the factors to which a planet may evolve to an Earth-like class I habitat.


Solar Wind Terrestrial Planet Escape Rate Habitable Zone Host Star 
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.


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© The Author(s) 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Space Research InstituteAustrian Academy of SciencesGrazAustria

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